Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Preparing for #ASCA14: Paying & Getting Organized

#ASCA14 is just around the corner. Actually, my plane takes off for Florida on Thursday this week!

For the last 9 years or so I have been getting the ASCA conference brochures in the mail. I always talk about going, but never actually had the guts to just do it! Now that I have met so many passionate school counselors on Twitter & found out that they actually have been attending the conferences, I decided it was the right thing to do for my own professional growth.

My journey to saving/raising enough money & getting organized to bring all of the great ideas back so I can use them right away has been quite a process so I thought I would share my journey to maybe help others.

This post is two-fold (simply because I am not sure I can get two posts up before I leave). 

1st I will address paying for #ASCA14 for those who are still working to raise money for this year or even next year. 

Then I will share how I plan to organize my notes from each session so they are easily accessible later  for all of us! Finally, I'll share a little about why I am excited about this year's conference.

How much does #ASCA14 Cost?

The price of an ASCA conference can be overwhelming, especially if it has been a couple of years since you've received a pay raise at work like me.

Here's a cost breakdown for #ASCA14

  • Registration (no extra sessions): $349
  • Flight & Ground Transportation: $369.99
  • Hotel ($199/night for 3 nights): $597.00
  • Meals (per deim): $195.00
Total Approximate Cost: $1,510.99

My Approximate Cost: $2,027.99

My estimated cost is a little bit higher since I will be attending the Leadership Development Institute & Delegate Assembly prior to the conference and a pre-conference session. I also chose to fly to Florida from a smaller local airport which requires me to stay in Florida Wednesday night since they don't have flights everyday. Flying from the smaller airport will allow me to avoid driving further to the airport, avoid paying $100+ for parking & avoid crowds (I'm not big on super crowded places with strangers). I'd rather spend that money on one extra night to review what I have learned & breathe.

 Raising Funds! The fun Part!

1. Submit a conference leave request at work with all of the expenditures & see if you can get full or partial funding. I was not successful in this endeavor & actually told not to bother even asking to go. Seriously, that happened. 

2. Contact your ROE to see if there are any grants or local funding to help support you.

3. Apply for professional scholarships like The Counseling Geek scholarship.

4. Contact your state association to see if their is any funding available, especially if you serve as a Board member.

5. Get creative. Clean out your closets & have a huge garage sale. Price items to sell, but not so low you can't take in some serious cash. You can also utilize social media like Facebook to advertise specific items to sell locally.

6. Get even more creative. Clean out your jewelry box. Gold that you never wear is worth serious money!

7. Reach out to friends & family to let them know that you're raising money for a good cause. There are still a lot of people out there that like to "pay it forward" so to say.

8. Dip into that tax return money you've been saving up-this is a good reason to spend it! Invest in you when no one else will!

9. Contact your bank for a small loan. The interest is probably cheaper than your credit card company & they will appreciate your business.

10. Go grocery shopping! Really. Download a grocery money saving app like Ibotta and earn money back on things you already plan to buy!

11. Use your credit card & pay it off as quickly as possible-at least by #ASCA15!

By doing most of these things (excluding #9), I was able to pay for my #ASCA Registration, plane ticket, and ground transportation; and I raised over $1,077.00 in the last 2 weeks just by completing #5, #6, #7, and #10 to offset the cost of my hotel stay, the only major conference expense I have left.

I am confident now that I will not be breaking the bank to attend #ASCA14, which will really make it easier to have more fun!

Raising money to attend was not easy, and I got a lot of rejection along the way, but I am happy that I remained committed to my own personal growth/professional development.

Getting Organized for #ASCA14

Now that I've established that I can actually afford to go, here is a quick look at how I plan to organize all of my notes throughout the sessions.

1. Let their be GoogleDocs! I will organize my notes from each session in a GoogleDoc (in my personal account, not my school account) so they will be easier to share later. I can even Tweet a link to my GoogleDoc so others who can't be there can benefit from the sessions!

2. Each evening/morning I will review my notes & link them to my LiveBinder (which is organized according to my schedule for the conference).

3. The 3-Ring Binder. I am also taking a 3-ring binder with me complete with all of the session print outs that ASCA has posted in the conference app. I can scan my notes later to include them in my GoogleDocs  folder & my LiveBinder.

That's it! I am new at this so I am going in with an open mind & this plan of attack. If you are planning to attend #ASCA14 and you haven't read The Counseling Geek's blogpost about making the most of the conference that should be your next stop.

Then, later tonight, join SCOPE for a School Counseling on Air event to get tips from a panel of ASCA Conference veterans. More details here.

Can you think of additional ways to pay for an ASCA conference or do you have tips to share about keeping notes organized while attending a multi-day conference? Please share them in the comments section below.

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