Over the past several weeks, a number of men and women completed their years of study and have been awarded graduate degrees. They can now refer to themselves as professional counselors or counselor educators. Some of these highly trained individuals will go on to serve clients and students well beyond the middle of this century. To each of these men and women, congratulations. Know how appreciative we are of the contributions you will make.
Some of you reading this column were instrumental in supporting, educating and guiding these recent grads in your roles as counselor educators and supervisors. That means you have “paid it forward,” and your impact on the profession will likely carry on long after you retire. Thanks, both to our recent graduates and to those who brought them to this point.
Each July signals the beginning of ACA’s program year. This means welcoming a whole new cadre of individuals who have chosen to volunteer their time, experience and scholarship in service to the profession. Led by our new ACA president, Catherine B. Roland, our new board and committee members will make significant contributions to many areas of counseling. The staff and I express our appreciation in advance for the work they will undertake during the next 12 months.
I also want to thank all of you — our members — for your patience and understanding as the ACA staff worked to identify a new location for our 2017 Conference & Expo, which originally was planned for Nashville, Tennessee. As many of you know, a new law in Tennessee now allows counselors to deny services to anyone based on the provider’s strongly held beliefs or values. This is a violation of the ACA Code of Ethics. Once the legislation became law in April, the ACA Governing Council made the difficult decision to relocate the ACA Conference & Expo. This is the first time in ACA’s history that this type of action has been taken, and it was done only after a great deal of discussion and thought.
We received numerous responses from cities around the United States that wanted to host our conference. By the time the “request for proposal” period had ended, more than 20 cities had expressed great interest. We are pleased to announce that the 2017 ACA Conference & Expo will be held in San Francisco March 16-19, with Pre-conference Learning Institutes taking place March 15-16.
We expect the 2017 ACA Conference & Expo to be one of the best ever, and we strongly encourage you and your colleagues to join us for our 65th anniversary event. The networking opportunities, the speakers, the content sessions, an improved career center and the chance to come together as a community after such a challenging year are things that you won’t want to miss.
Last but not least, this is one of those times when I absolutely must give a shoutout to the ACA staff. Each day, these fine individuals come to work to provide for the professional needs of our members, potential members and the public. As we begin each new endeavor — and continue to make enhancements to existing products and services — I am in awe of what has been and is being accomplished. I hope you will join me in my support and acknowledgment of these fine individuals. This past year was one of great accomplishment and challenge. The volunteer leadership was instrumental in providing strategic direction, and the staff’s ability to align our work with that direction is something for which I am very appreciative.