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IACCA: Yesterday and Today (History)

"In the 1950's a number of the larger church and YMCA sponsored conference center administrators felt a need for the opportunity to share the unique aspects of operating their facilities and formed a loosely organized group named the "Fellowship of Conference Center Administrators and Camp Managers."

They elected a Chair and a Secretary-Treasurer, and conducted an annual fall conference at a host member site that determined the program topics and meeting structure. Each year the next host site administrator was elected to chair the group.

Membership was by invitation only and usually restricted to the executive director or an appointee and the group was limited to not more than 40 centers.

The purpose was to enjoy a meaningful fellowship, share experiences and ideas, encourage and help each other, and learn of new and better operational methods, equipment, supplies, programs, financing plans, and personnel policies.

In the early 70's with a new generation of center directors and a rapidly changing society and regulatory environment, many felt there was a need for a more formal and professional organization. A dialog began in 1970 at the Green Lake Conference, a task group was appointed and discussions continued over the next five years resulting in a historic action at the Geneva Point Center Conference in 1974. A storm on Lake Winnipesaukee canceled a cruise and the group sat around a bright birch log fire in the lodge and pursued the concept of an International Association of Conference Center Administrators.

The result was the formal appointment of a Task Committee with Frank "Scotty" Washburn, YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, as Chair. Committee members were R.D. Trotter, South Dakota United Methodist Camps; Dr. Charles Wallace and James Long of California's United Camps Conferences and Retreats; Sheila J. Beam of Sienna College in New York; Ed Guerrard of Grotonwood in Massachusetts; William Riley of Rock Springs 4-H Center in Kansas; Dwight Ellis of Lakeside in Ohio; and Donald Barnes of Cedar Glen in Ontario, Canada.

The Task Committee proposed the formal organization of IACCA that was approved by the membership at their winter meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1976. This action included a revised statement of purpose and opened the membership to individuals with no restriction on the size of the organization."

Afterward: Present Day IACCA

The International Association of Conference Center Administrators celebrated its 25th Anniversary at its annual fall conference at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch, Winter Park, Colorado, October 23-30, 2001. Original members Otis Moore, and Dr. Charles Wallace gave keynote addresses to a captive audience that has grown in diversity and vitality demonstrating a renewal of 21st century conference center administrators and entrepreneurs to the industry. Attendance at the annual fall conference has grown from the forty attendees in the beginning to over one hundred today. Membership in the organization has increased to over two hundred and fifty members internationally.

Today’s IACCA is for the Conference Center Professional and proudly waves its motto "Helping Conference Center Professionals do a better job." Just as today’s nonprofit conference center professional has had to become adept at flexibility, growth and diversity in his or her position, so have the opportunities available to IACCA members.

Today’s IACCA has grown to five sections across the United States of America offering the same learning, sharing, and fellowship that the International conference boasts, only on a local and more centralized level. The annual IACCA Fall Conference is a more concentrated venue for learning, sharing, and fellowship. Today IACCA is recognized as the organization where entrepreneurs of the nonprofit conferencing industry can receive certification as a Conference Center Professional through Key Content Workshops held each spring and each fall. Scholarships are available to those who wish to pursue certification, and/or attendance at IACCA's International Conference or Seminars.

For more information on how to join IACCA log on to IACCA's national / international web site today and see why IACCA can give you the spirit once again to say "I love what I do!"       http://www.iacca.org/ or email IACCA's International office info@iacca.org

Someone once said, "To become quality, one must associate themselves with quality." This is it!


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