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Annual Conference 2012
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In Orlando, Our Host City, You Can Count on Sun and Fun

By Karen Langer, LMHC, Chair
Conference Planning Committee, and 
AMHCA President–Elect, 2011–2012

By now you have started to receive information about the exciting group of speakers lined up for AMHCA’s 2012 Annual Conference and preconference sessions, July 19–21, in Orlando. We were thrilled to be inundated with a record number of program submissions and are now in the process of finalizing the one-, two-, and three-hour presentations. Thank you to the team of reviewers who carefully evaluated the proposals to build an outstanding conference program. 

Conference Planners Are Putting a Special Emphasis on Networking

Networking and renewal are a big part of the draw to AMHCA’s national conference. We renew old friendships, make new ones, and network with those we might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet. In addition to the outstanding programs during the conference, look for the Networking Lounge, which we piloted last year with great success. 

This year attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet the Professional Development Committee to discuss the new professional standards or ask questions and discuss other relevant issues,
  • Meet your AMHCA board, 
  • Meet Jim Finley, AMHCA’s director of public policy, and discuss legislative issues with him such as TRICARE, Medicare reimbursement, and VA hiring; and
  • Attend sessions set aside for those who might be interested in advocacy or leader development.

The conference will also include several special sessions:

  • Graduate students this year will find a session dedicated to their needs, where they can connect with those already in the field and get some mentoring.
  • Those excited or intimidated by the growth of social media will want to attend the session discussing the use of social media.
  • First-time AMHCA Annual Conference attendees will find a session tailored specifically to them.
  • A session on the Mental Health Interest Network will answer questions about that important group.

Since networking is an important part of AMHCA’s Annual Conference, this year’s attendees will enjoy additional open networking time. Another way to network or connect with old friends is through our conference bulletin board, which, like last year, will be set up next to the registration desk for attendees’ use. Do you want to organize a group from your state to go to lunch or dinner? Find people who have similar interests or work with a particular population you are interested in? Use the conference bulletin board to connect to others and facilitate your needs! 

And please participate in our Graduate Student Auction. Peruse the items, place a bid, and help the Graduate Student Committee. 

Explore Orlando!

Attending a national conference also provides the opportunity to explore new parts of the country. Orlando and the surrounding area offer a wide range of activities for everyone. Why not come a few days early or stay a few extra days? The long summer evenings will also give attendees plenty of opportunities to explore Orlando after conference sessions end each day.

The famed theme parks are a great reason to bring the family—and to have a good time visiting them, children are not required! 
Check out some of these fun theme parks and attractions:

For those interested in venturing away from the amusement parks and exploring the area a little more, the Orlando area has something for everyone including theater, parks, gardens, spas, golf, tennis, and a wide variety of museums. Looking for something unique? Watch the “March of the Peabody Ducks” at the Peabody Orlando Hotel—11 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day.  Take a tour of Lakeridge Winery & Vineyard, just north of Orlando, or the Orlando Brewing Company near downtown Orlando. This is one of the few organic breweries in the United States.

If you are willing to venture less than an hour out of Orlando, your recreation and outdoor options increase … consider heading over to Daytona Beach or the Kennedy Space Center.

See you in Orlando—come for the conference and stay for the adventure!