As promised, here is a petite recap of the coaching conference my organization put on this week.
The actual conference was on Thursday and Friday, but we had a late registration on Wednesday night and we had a lot of last minute items to prepare for the delegates, so after loading up our van on Wednesday morning, my coworkers Lexy, Mary and I made the trip down to Brock University to get the show on the road.
Before we left, I snagged a fruit salad with yogurt and dry oatmeal from the Druxy’s in my building to fuel me through our road trip.
This was my first time trying a fruit salad from Druxy’s, but it will definitely not be my last! This was a perfectly yummy snack and I am so impressed that Druxy’s has this on their menu.
Once we arrived at Brock, we headed to the residence where we met up with the rest of our committee members (who are volunteer teacher-coaches) and took over a dorm lounge to put together all the delegates’ binders and the folders for the tradeshow vendors.
We ordered pizza from a local pizza place for lunch, and ohmygiddyGod it was awesome. The crust was thin and crispy, and the pizza wasn’t greasy or absolutely smothered in cheese. We were all big fans. I snagged a few veggie slices (um, few meaning six) to get me through the afternoon organizing fest.
Once we finished getting ourselves all organized and ready for the conference, we quickly checked into our residence dorm before heading out for our committee dinner.
This was my dorm room for a few days…
Pretty extravagant, right? Is this making anyone miss university?! We spent so little time in our rooms though, we didn’t need anything fancy. That was probably the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept in, but I was so exhausted when I finally made it to bed both nights that I slept like a baby immediately.
For dinner, we chose a local Italian place, and it was exactly what I was in the mood for.
To start, our server brought us over a basket of bread to share, and obviously we went to town.
We also ordered two appetizer platters for everyone to share.
Everything on the one closest to me was amazing. There were three different kinds of dips, and an assortment of warm tortillas to dip with. Also some roasted garlic in the middle, which was definitely a highlight. I was so full before I even received my meal, but somehow I found room!
For my entree I ordered the penne pollo, and I had planned on only having a few bites and then saving the rest for later, but once it arrived in front of me, I couldn’t stop myself and ended up cleaning my plate! It was delicious.
It also came with a side salad, which I was thankful for because I wanted to squeeze in some greens.
We were all stuffed after this dinner, but it was amazing.
We then headed back to the university for our late night conference registration, and had fun chatting with the delegates as they were checking in.
Thursday was by far the busiest day of the conference. We had delegate registration starting at 7:30, so we all met in the campus athletic centre at 7am to make sure we were all organized when the attendees started rolling in. We may have done a bit of goofing off as well…you never know…
We didn’t have a formal breakfast on Thursday because we weren’t sure who would need to eat, so Mary and I went on a committee breakfast run to Tim Hortons. We needed to eat! I decided to try out Tim Hortons oatmeal.
I chose the fruit topped oatmeal, and it was alright. It did have a slight papery taste, but once I mixed the fruit in it wasn’t so bad. And it was filling and (hopefully) nutritious, so, I’ll take it. I also had a coffee, I had a long day ahead!
Our coaching symposium is attended by about 125 high school teacher-coaches from across Ontario, and what makes the conference so awesome in my mind is that we have active sessions as well as classroom sessions. In the active sessions, the coaches can participate in new games and drills that they can then take back to their classrooms. There were a lot of sport-specific sessions like rugby, badminton, track, soccer, gaelic football, ultimate, tchoukball and golf, and then there were ones that focused more on fitness tools that you could bring into your own gym to get your students interested in fitness!
I was honestly not the biggest fan of gym in high school, but if my school had activities like these going on I probably would have been all over it. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun!
Since I am my organization’s official paparazzi, one of my jobs at the conference was to run around to all the active sessions and take pictures for our website, magazine, Facebook page, etc., so I first hit up the opening general session which everyone was in.
It focused on team building games, and it looked super fun!
The coaches all seemed to be enjoying themselves, and watching from the sidelines made me really want to take part.
It is seriously so motivating to hang out with a bunch of athletic coaches. It was at this conference last year that I really started to question my own active health. Being around fit people all day made me want to be fit! It’s inspiring!
After the morning sessions, it was time for lunch. I inhaled my food (slice of pizza and a salad) very quickly, as I was teaching my own classroom session on how to use social media for your team directly after lunch, and I was nervous!
My session was not as fun as the active sessions, obviously, but once I got on my computer and started demonstrating to everyone that Facebook and Twitter are not as scary as people make them out to be, and you can actually use them as a valuable tool for your team, my nervousness settled and I think everyone enjoyed it.
My session was a bit over an hour, and then it was time to prepare for my evening tradeshow! I booked it to the cafeteria where the tradeshow was going to be held, and roped Mary into helping me set everything up and welcoming vendors, who were all athletic based companies and fellow Provincial Sport Organizations, about 22 vendors in total.
This was my fourth year of conducting the tradeshow, and I think it was the best yet. The vendors and the delegates all seemed to enjoy themselves, and everything ran smoothly.
The tradeshow runs for a few hours and includes dinner. I was super busy during so I ate really fast and did not snap a photo of my meal. I actually can’t even remember what I ate, which is unusual for me… I do remember having a slice of some really yummy cheesecake for dessert though ;).
We ask every vendor to donate two prizes, so for about half an hour at the end of the tradeshow we draw for those and announce them. This is always a highlight for me, because I like amuse our delegates with my announcing :D. (for example, last year at our Women’s Sport School one of the prizes was a foam roller, but I actually did not know what it was so I announced it as “Rob’s giant noodle,” which obviously got a huge reaction…)
Once the tradeshow is over, the lights dim and it is time to get social!
Look how cute and pregnant my office bestie Lexy is! Awww…
The social is always my favourite part. I am kind of a social butterfly and love meeting new people, so I love chatting it up with all the delegates. The social is always a lot of fun. Usually we have a DJ, but the last time we did this during our coaching symposium, no one danced! (they do at our women’s sports school, which runs in alternate years, because the women looooove dancing and getting social, but the the boys are not down). This year we decided to skip the DJ and just use my playlist for tunes. It was a lot of fun. That is the only picture I am posting though, ’cause the rest may be inappropes ;).
The social went into the a.m. before we finally closed the place down. Good times, good times.
Friday was basically the same as Thursday, only slightly shorter, so I won’t get into it all again… but some more of this went down…
And ParaSport Ontario hosted a session, so this happened…
And some more dolly fun…
Such a fun conference! I was so ready for the couch when I finally arrived home last night, and I am excited that all the planning is over (it’s a lot of work) so I can concentrate on new projects, but I loved every minute of our conference and spending time with the committee and the delegates. The sports and the active sessions gave me a renewed workout motivation and I was so excited to get out and run this morning!
I don’t know how else to end this recap, so I will leave you with a picture of a shirt that was referencing cross country running that Mary and I thought was funny…
Enjoy your Saturday!