How many of us are so glad to see 2020 come to a close and hoping that we can “start fresh” with a new year? I know that I am one of those people. Last year was one of surprise, concern, worry, anger, sadness and sacrifice. It was just so hard to figure out what would happen next. My sense is that many of you, as well as your clients and students, faced these same emotions. Although I do consider myself an optimist, I think that 2021 could be a year of uncertainty as a result of what happened in 2020.
For instance, despite the fact that vaccines for COVID-19 should be available for millions of people in these first few months of 2021, ACA made the decision to hold its annual conference this spring in a “virtual space.” You can learn more about the more than 400 education sessions and special presentations at counseling.org/conference. All sessions will be available at various times during April and May, and they can also be seen “on demand.” That means that in addition to enjoying a deep discount on registration rates compared with the traditional ACA conference, those who register will have the opportunity to earn a significantly higher number of continuing education credits for sessions that can be watched from April 5 through May 31.
We hope that the discounted rate and the ability to be at so many more sessions will receive a positive review, but given that this is our first-ever event of this type, we also have to acknowledge a certain degree of uncertainty regarding whether people will be willing to attend a virtual event and whether expectations will be met.
With the upcoming changes at the national level of public policymaking, ACA’s very robust legislative agenda could be very well received by elected officials in 2021. However, given everything that Congress and the new presidential administration will need to deal with — based on what happened in 2020 — it is uncertain whether we will be successful in earning passage of our very important legislative agenda. Although I know that we need as many ACA members as possible to join in on our public policy objectives, I also realize how incredibly busy all of you are, both professionally and personally.
Now let me share what I am certain of regarding this new year. I am certain that professional counselors will continue to rise to unexpected levels when it comes to advocating for, supporting and helping their clients and students. It is who you are, it is what you do, and it is something that gives me great hope. Professional counselors do incredibly important work.
Frankly, when heading into uncertain times, I can’t think of a better group of people to be with than professional counselors. In return, ACA members and nonmembers alike should know that they can count on ACA for products, services, resources, advocacy and recognition of the counseling profession.
Let’s be hopeful for 2021. Let’s be joyful that we are entering a new year. And let’s make sure that communities, the media and public policymakers truly understand what a key role professional counselors can play in the lives of those seeking help.
The happiest of new years to all of you from the staff at ACA.