Nashville, Tennessee, is home to country music, hot chicken, Johnny Cash, and the upcoming 2019 ACA National Conference, "Empowering Communities." I am pleased to invite you to join hundreds of other camp professionals as we learn and are inspired through the variety of keynotes, excellent workshops, professional gatherings, and casual hallway discussions. We will take home fresh ideas and a renewed focus that will help lead all of our camp programs.

The National Conference is a dynamic opportunity for all camp professionals to discover the next great camp program, engaging new “toys” for your campers, and important outcomes that you will want to incorporate into your camp purpose. The conference also provides a great opportunity to strengthen the ACA community. The collective efforts of ACA and its members empower our profession and provide a national voice that shares the vital importance of the camp experience for all young people.

The world is changing, as are the needs of campers, their families, and the camp community. We constantly face new challenges as well as opportunities nationwide and globally. The conference is designed to tackle new and ongoing issues that are important to those ACA serves. Over 150 sessions will focus on youth development, business operations, emerging issues, year-round camps, and the Research Forum with over 30 researchers sharing the results of their projects. In addition, the popular Camp Includes Me track will focus on inclusion, fusion, and cross-cultural agility.

It is important to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the ACA National Conference team; they always provide an outstanding program. Preparing for the conference is a yearlong process with a combined effort of staff and volunteers.Their dedication to excellence creates the dynamic conference that always has such a positive and lasting influence on the attendees. I am grateful for all of their efforts and want to thank them for all they do for the American Camp Association.

I know the conference is an annual highlight for many of you. I personally look forward to attending the keynote talks, learning from the individual workshops, shopping at the exhibit hall, and especially visiting with many of you in the hallways. No doubt, I will depart the conference inspired and motivated to use what I’ve learned.