From Thursday November 19, 2009 - Saturday November 21, 2009, I attended the 2009 New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AHPERD) Annual Conference at the Turning Stone Resort and Convention Center in Verona, NY. This was my first time attending an AHPERD conference other than the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference. I wasn't quite sure what it would be like but I had a decent idea of what to expect. After leaving Cortland and hitting the road, we arrived and Turning Stone ready for the conference...
Upon arriving at the event center, we parked the car and walked to the registration table. From there, we received our conference materials and were off to explore what there was being offered. We first stopped at the SUNY Cortland booth to say hello to our fellow Physical Education majors and see what other booths were available. We noticed that there was a game with the booths that if you got a stamp from most of them you were eligible to win a prize. So we got all the stamps but needless to say, we didn't win! From here, we were ready to explore the different presentations.
There was a vast amount of variety in the presentations available. Our first stop was 'Enjoyable and Innovative Fitness Routines for All Students' presented by a crew of one instructor and several students from SUNY Brockport. They presented several activities that incorporated fitness activities into the games. Many of them were fun to participate in while others were a bit too complicated. It was fun to spark up a rivalry between us and the Brockport students about whose school is better. This was in good spirits and carried on throughout the conference. Following this session, we attended 'THRILLER... Dance with a Modern Inter City Twist' in the exotic Lava Room. This was a fun session as it was interactive and allowed a lot of participation. Andrew Steinberg, the presenter, was very lively and loved what he was doing. Although he made a few mistakes throughout, it was still a worthwhile presentation. Our last session for the afternoon was 'Professional Growth: What's Your Game Plan?' presented by SUNY Cortland Professor Jeff Walkuski. This was a very interesting lecture as Dr. Walkuski made us aware of the fact that we should have a game plan for our future and set goals to achieve. It was very inspirational and interesting. Following the presentation, an administrator from a school district was in attendance and praised Dr. Walkuski for his information and presentation and told us what to expect when we looked for a job. After all the presentations, it was time to relax and take it easy. We wandered through the casino and socialized with many others. With all the excitement from today, we hoped the next day would be just as good.
On Friday morning, we decided to attend the first general session of the day. This presentation entitled, 'Essential Keys to Wellness: Recreating Life's Vitality' was presented by keynote speaker Brian Luke Seaward. This was truly an inspirational keynote. Mr. Seaward spoke of personal stories and how it related to living life the way you want and how wellness will keep life fresh and interesting. One of the most interesting phrases was "to know and not to do, is not to know." If you do not apply what you know and thus do not use it, then there is no use in having that knowledge and it is truly being wasted. He then spoke of a woman from China and the life she lived. He quoted her as saying, "Humans are like tea bags, you do not know their strength until they are put in hot water." This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard. For if you do not test yourself or fight in difficult situations, you do not know your own strength. This was truly a great seminar and I am glad to have attended. Following this presentation, we went off to attend SUNY Cortland Professor JoEllen Bailey's presentation, 'Affective Assessment: Why and How.' However, unfortunately she was sick and could not attend the conference. We hope that she will present this at the college!We instead went to the 'Future Professionals Section Business Meeting and Luncheon' to see fellow SUNY Cortland student Ryan Ingalls officially be swore in as President of the club. This was a great sight to see and I also won a whistle! We then moved down to 'Great Games and Activities for Elementary Physical Education Classes' presented by the 2009 Elementary Teacher of the Year Laura Petersen-Shaw. This was a great presentation where we played various activities and learned them from a great instructor. All of the games were very elementary approriate and it was fun to act like a little kid while doing so. Cortland students were the only ones participating and it showed the dedication we all had. The final presentation of the day I attended was 'Wii Sports and Fit for Adapted Physical Education' presented by Michelle Sicurella. This was quite interesting as she showed ways to adapt the Wii for adapted students. These methods were very effective and very fun and everyone had a great time. Later that evening, we attended the Jay B. Nash Awards Dinner. This was a great experience as many teachers were recognized for their outstanding performance as well as fellow students for their achievements. The food was great and so was the atmosphere! After this, it was time yet again to relax and take it easy. We once again wandered the casino and attended the social for all conference attendees. This was another great day and we were ready for tomorrow.
Saturday morning was the last day of the conference. And this was going to be a special day for me as I was a presenter in the 'Spice Up Your Warm-Up!' presentation. The idea for the workshop is to introduce new warm up ideas for physical education classes that are more creative and more fun than just doing traditional laps. I presented alongside fellow SUNY Cortland Physical Education majors Brandon Herwick, James Thompson, Steven Jacob Colwell, Kate Bartholomew, and Dustin Pritzert. My presentation was the same as it was at the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference. After PED 288: Rhythms and Dance, I learned to appreicate dance in physical education so much I became a teacher's assistant for the class and felt it would be appropriate to use dance in my warm up. The first part of my warm up include the locomotor skills of gallop, hop, jump, and run around each side of a square to the song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. Following this brief introduction, I opened the signs I made to reveal different tasks such as leap frog, wheelbarrow run, piggy back run, and slidding around the square to "Celebrate" by Kool & the Gang. This was the last component of that warm up and I moved to my next one. It was a circle dance to "Shout!" by the Temptations. We would run and jump to music and strut like cool cats when appropriate! It turned out to be a huge hit and everyone had a great time! Following our presentation, the conference was over and it was time to head back to Cortland. After an exciting weekend, I was ready to go back home.
The 2009 New York State AHPERD Conference was my first time attending a professional conference. And I have to say, it was an unbelievable experience. There was so much to learn and so little time to do it in. I found myself scrambling between workshops and having to decide which ones to go to when I wanted to attend all of them! It is amazing to see how many people from all over the state come to this conference. I happened to run into my former high school health teacher at one point in the weekend. I initially didn't recognize her until it was too late but luckily I got called back up and got to chat for a bit. There are so many people to meet and they all love to strike up a conversation if you have the time. You realize how passionate these people truly are about what they do and the desire they have to better themselves and help others by attending these conferences.
Having been able to present at this conference was an unreal experience. Halfway through my warm-up, I thought to myself, "wow, I'm really presenting at the state conference... this is awesome." It continued to confirm my decision in becoming a physical educator and has made me hungry for more. I have now presented at the SUNY Cortland Mini-Conference and the NYS AHPERD Conference. I will present at these again next year but I now want to go further and hpefully present at the EDA Conference and perhaps the national conference. These events truly help your professional growth but more importantly help you answer why you're doing this in the first place.