2008-09 Annual State Conference

Conference Highlights

July 20-22, 2009 found over 300 adventure-seeking individuals embarking on a three-day safari into the exciting world of school nutrition at the 52nd SNA-WI Annual State Conference held at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells. More than 25 signed up for a one-day safari and 61 travelers experienced “Conference” for the very first time.

Pre-safari excursions included House of Delegates on Sunday evening and tours of the Kalahari kitchen and Baraboo SYSCO, along with several pre-conference sessions, on Monday morning.

Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS started our safari adventure with her “Hats Off to You” keynote message using her extensive hat collection to describe how school nutrition jobs have evolved as someone only “in the kitchens” could truly identify with. Thanks, Katie, for reminding us, in a light-hearted way, the many important hats we all wear to provide nutritious meals to students helping them to be ready to learn and ultimately succeed in school.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday found safari adventurists choosing from over 30 different breakout sessions to attend. The breakout sessions were grouped by seven Safari Tracks: School Nutrition, Communication/Marketing, Personal Wellness, Roundtable Discussions, SNA-WI Business, District Director/Supervisor, and Healthy Edge. With over 100 participants attending each session, it appears the most popular breakout sessions this year were “Positive Attitudes at Work” led by safari guide Julie Shelton, SNS and “Work Simplification for Line Staff” led by safari guide Katie Wilson, PhD, SNS. Special thanks to all SNA-WI members who presented breakout sessions and/or volunteered as moderators, badge watchers, registration helpers, etc. Who you are and what you do really does make a difference to SNA-WI.

A new and exciting adventure at Conference this year was voting on-site for SNA-WI 2009-2010 Executive Board candidates. Each candidate was introduced during the opening session and able to tell the audience why she should be elected. Over 225 SNA-WI members cast their vote – an increase of over 35% from last year. The newly elected candidates were installed with SNA-WI President Ruth Ann Kiley, the remaining members of the Executive Board, and the Chapter Presidents on Wednesday morning.

The Vendor party on Tuesday night featured an auction of 43 baskets donated by chapters, industry partners, and individual members. We raised $2,620 with half going to the Sauk County Food Pantry and half going to SNA-WI to be used to support future benefits for members. The top basket was the Milwaukee Brewer basket donated by Baraboo SYSCO that sold for $260. Thank you to everyone who contributed, purchased baskets, and/or attended the vendor party. Special thanks to ConAgra for again sponsoring the Vendor party.

The Industry Show was moved to Wednesday following the Installation Ceremony and Products on Parade. Sixty-one companies filled the Industry Show floor, turned the Kalahari ballroom into a wild and exciting visit to Africa and showcased a great variety of new food items, equipment, and other products specific to school foodservice. Thanks to all new and returning Industry members for making the Industry Show a success. Special thanks to the SNA-WI Industry Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors. Kudos to:

Kellogg’s, selected as Best in Show by SNA-WI members Gail Schmidt, Thorp School District and Pam Schute, Westby School District – winners of the two 2010 Conference Drawings donated by our Industry partners.

During the Industry Show, conference participants were able to have a chair massage or take a “sit-down” break to listen to three demonstrations offered on the Industry floor. Thanks to Jessica Boggs of Big Sky Massage, Ken Grall, Director of Training, Edge Fitness – In the Kalahari, Debbie Bierman of WI Pork Association and Chef Carl Welke for their time and expertise in presenting the demonstrations.

The School Nutrition Safari concluded with the premier of the “School Nutrition Challenge,” SNA-WI’s own version of the popular “Iron Chef” competition. Thanks to Chef Carl Welke for coming up with this idea, for orchestrating the taping and especially for stepping in to narrate the video at the closing session when we ran into some technical difficulty. Chef Carl and Chef Paul Short of MATC Culinary Arts Department battled it out, each creating two lunch entrees and one breakfast entrée using USDA commodity items – the “secret” ingredients. Students from McFarland High School judged each entrée and gave their honest opinions. The recipes are being enlarged and standardized and will be available to chapters this Fall along with a copy of the video minus the technical difficulty.

Wearing her tie-dyed shirt and peace necklace, Immediate Past President, Sue Uselding invited the audience to join her June 20-23, 2010 in La Crosse for the 53rd SNA-WI Annual State Conference. Flashing back to the 1970’s, her retro theme is bound to create one “groovy” conference so mark your calendars now to attend. We know someone who will be there – congratulations to Judy Schlieske from the Milton School District for winning the 2010 Conference Drawing donated by SNA-WI.

An extra special thank you to the 2008-09 Steering Committee whose hard work and dedication made the 52nd SNA-WI Annual State Conference a huge success:

Local Arrangements Chair:
Mary Loveless, RD, CD, SNS

Susan Peterman, RD, CD
Julie Cox

Vendor Party Co-chairs:
Jerrilynn Donley
Francha Dallman

School Nutrition Challenge:
Carl Welke

Industry Show Co-chairs:
Ruth Ann Kiley
Cheryl Peil

Education Committee Chair:
Vicky Arndt

Member Services Chair:
Rose Ann Boushele, SNS, CDM

Dairy Council Representative:
Jane Losee

SNA-WI President:
Sue Uselding

Chapter Pres. Representative:
Gina Kulka

Hopefully all who attended the SNS-School Nutrition Safari had a great time, learned something new to take back to school in the Fall, connected with old friends, and met new friends. Thanks to everyone for making the SNS-School Nutrition Safari so memorable. See you in La Crosse next June!