Meeting at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando from March 3-6, 2013, the JCCs of North America Professional Conference will welcome 450 JCC professionals from 102 Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. and Canada, along with two attendees from Venezuela, to the largest gathering of men and women who work at JCCs in years. “We are thrilled to have such a big turnout,” said Joy Brand, director of the conference. “It is proof of the importance that JCC leaders place on having a highly trained and motivated staff.”
During the four-day conference, attendees will take part in their choice of 14 job tracks and will be able to pick from 44 choose-your-own seminars and workshops. Of the 90 speaker/trainers, 40 come from outside the JCC field, including well-known names such as Hayden Shaw, senior consultant at Franklin Covey, and Deborah Grayson Riegel, president of Elevated Training. Learning opportunities include trends in social media, pool safety, creating a welcoming environment, managing volunteers, engaging donors, and many other aspects of JCC work. “We know from our Benchmarking data that JCC staff value professional development highly,” Brand said, “and it is critical that we provide opportunities for growth if we want to retain high-quality professionals.”
Allan Finkelstein, president and CEO of JCC Association, will deliver one of the keynote addresses focusing on the impact on JCC programming of the JCC Vision and Statement of Principles for the 21st Century, He will be joined by Michael Bitton, the mayor of Yerucham, Israel, who will speak about his community’s relationship with the Michael-Ann Russell JCC in North Miami Beach, Florida, an exceptional example of Jewish peoplehood.
Attendees will crowd into J’s Stake House, a buffet presentation of all the programs and services JCC Association offers its affiliated JCCs. For the 243 first-time attendees–more than fifty percent of the total–the array may come as a surprise. They will also learn about the different JCC programs that won Zahav Awards, the top awards at the JCCs of North America Biennial Convention, which recognize visionary JCC initiatives with maximum impact or potential for change.
Many different vendors and sponsors will be at the conference as well, presenting their products and services and offering JCCs great opportunities. There are companies from health and fitness, business and operations, mobile and technology, as well as programmatic planning. “We are happy to welcome our vendors and sponsors,” said Kelly Rainey, corporate sponsorships and marketing manager, “and we encourage everyone attending the conference to browse through the exhibit hall and see everything they have to offer, including their raffle prizes.”