As we close out our yearlong celebration of ACA’s 60th anniversary, I want to share some meaningful moments that took place along the way. I was fortunate to meet up with Robert Shaffer, ACA’s very first president. Well into his 90s, Bob was easily able to recall the years that led up to ACA’s founding, who played roles in the association’s creation and what challenges he faced as our president in 1952-1953.
Then there was a decision by Brooke Collison (ACA president in 1987-1988) to return to the classroom, but this time as a visiting professor in Kenya. He and his lovely wife Joan chose to reach out and share their knowledge, compassion and caring with students and communities halfway around the world. Brooke has been blogging for ACA about his experience at my.counseling.org.
Interacting with these two individuals reminds us that life not only goes on after you serve as ACA president but that it looks significantly better as well! You should know that many of ACA’s past presidents have gone on to serve the profession with distinction and their communities with great compassion. ACA is better because of our 60 past presidents.
One milestone of note during this anniversary year is that our membership increased each and every month. We now stand at more than 52,000 members and continue progressing toward our all-time high membership total (around 58,000 individuals back in 1991). I thank all of you for our growth.
During this 60th anniversary year, we also grew to eight professional counselors on staff. These fellow ACA members have made the commitment to work full time on behalf of the profession, and I am so pleased that they did. I believe their service in the areas of professional development, career consultation, research and public policy advocacy enhances what we do for members.
Although I don’t know what we will look like in another 60 years, I can tell you that 2013 will feature institutional growth, enhanced advocacy and services that are the result of your input. One example is that next month, we will launch a significantly improved ACA website. Our goal is to deliver the content you want in an easy-to-use and responsive format. Let me know what you think.
Have you registered for the ACA 2013 Conference & Expo in Cincinnati from March 20-24? The Super Saver discount deadline is Dec. 15! This event includes more than 400 education sessions and will again feature our pre-conference learning institutes (which require separate registration) and more than 100 exhibit booths. Our keynote speakers will be actress and advocate Ashley Judd and counselor luminaries Allen Ivey and Mary Bradford Ivey. This is one professional conference you absolutely want to attend.
As the year ends, I call your attention to those in need. At the professional level, I encourage you to consider a year-end donation to the ACA Foundation. Chaired this year by Courtland Lee, the ACA Foundation has been instrumental in assisting graduate students, providing help to “our own” in the form of the Counselors Care Fund and supporting ACA through the years. I know the ACA Foundation would appreciate your consideration, so please visit acafoundation.org and give generously.
I also want to express my thanks for the 60 years of work that ACA members have done for their clients and students. You and those who came before you are what make this profession so special. The entire ACA staff wishes a 2013 full of peace, hope and prosperity for you and for those whom you serve.