by Nick Pavel
(Editor’s Note: Nick Pavel is an ACB member from Sioux Falls, S.D.)
This year I had the opportunity to attend my very first national ACB convention in Minneapolis, Minn. My first thought when I walked in to the hotel lobby was, “What did I get myself into?” To me, the hotel lobby was big, bigger than what I was used to. I remember thinking to myself, “How do you get to the specific rooms for the sessions?” But I remembered that everyone was going through the same thing, and everything would work out. I was able to overcome that obstacle with no problem.
While I was at the convention, I learned some new things about ACB which I did not know before going in. For example, I had no idea that there was an issue going on with getting tactile money available until the opening session. I heard some really good speakers, and I also found out about what companies such as Microsoft are planning for the future.
I attended a couple different sessions during the week as well. One session was titled Skills for Work That Work. I thought it was a really good session, with some helpful information on what employers are looking for in an interview, and how to improve your skills to get a job. One really practical piece of advice that I got in that session was to get out and volunteer. Since I’m still job hunting, any information that would improve my skills and help me impress employers was a really big help. I also went to a session called Men, Put Your Best Look Forward. They talked about what to wear to job interviews, and some information on dressing in general so everything matches. One of the highlights of the session was learning how to tie a tie. Everyone there had a chance to learn this, with a little help and advice on how to do it properly. It is not easy to do.
I went on a couple of tours as well. One was to a candy factory, where all the chocolate is homemade. I got some to bring home. It was really interesting to find out how it was made.
My favorite tour was to the cathedral in St. Paul. While learning about the history at the cathedral, there was a pipe organ demonstration, which was amazing! While walking around and looking at everything, I got the opportunity to play the pipe organ for a few minutes. After playing it, I was on cloud nine. I have been playing the organ for my church at home since high school, and recently started playing the organ at church in Sioux Falls. To have the opportunity to play the pipe organ at the cathedral was a thrill, and was by far the highlight of the week for me.
Thanks to SDAB for the monetary stipend. My first national ACB convention has been a great experience. I learned a lot, met lots of people from all over the country, and got to do things I wouldn’t get to do on a regular basis. Now that I have attended a national convention, I know what to expect when I attend another in the future. I truly hope to attend another ACB convention down the road. All in all, I’m glad I made this trip.