Time to Celebrate!
As I reflect on the upcoming year as the SNA of Massachusetts 2016-17 President, I’m thrilled to have the honor to oversee our 65th Anniversary year! Some people know me as “Mrs. Fun”: I love to laugh, have fun and live the “YOLO” (you only live once) lifestyle, so you can expect me to bring those qualities to my year as your president! Our Annual Fall Conference theme is “Positively Professional”, and promises to be one of the best conferences, ever, with really great sessions that will help us all brush up on professionalism and practical skills, in a positive light. In addition, we have a night of fun planned for our Awards dinner, in the beautiful venue of Union Station. Plan to stay for dinner, our first ever karaoke contest and dancing! It will be a night to remember with your friends and colleagues!
I have always been a passionate advocate for school nutrition folks. Let’s face it, over the years, we’ve gotten a bad rap. Kid’s TV shows and the media too often portray “lunch ladies” in a negative light. This bothers me, because I know it is not true! It is because of this that I have made it my mission to tell the positive stories about the outstanding and dedicated school nutrition employees whom I’ve come to know, whenever I can. I ask that you do the same by tooting your horn in your school communities!
We can all do our part to change that stereotype. A great first step is to be a member of SNA, and recruit others to do the same. Belonging to a professional organization is an allowable cost to nutrition programs, is so affordable, and the benefits are enormous. I can’t imagine not having SNA to help me do my job! If you are a director, at the very least, sign up all your managers. If you are a manager, encourage your director to sign up all your kitchen staff!
The next step is to work towards your Certificate in School Nutrition or becoming credentialed as a School Nutrition Specialist. The SNA of Massachusetts Board of Directors has some excellent plans in place this year to recognize individuals who have achieved these designations! We will be notifying superintendents of your commitment to your profession, as well as distributing “Certificate in School Nutrition” pins. We will also be recognizing these individuals at conferences and chapter meetings, to inspire others to work towards these goals! We’re rooting for you and tooting your horn!
Having your certificate or SNS credential also makes you eligible for SNA Awards for Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Director of the Year. We are a state of BIG winners and leaders in the country, frequently winning the Northeast Regional Awards in all of these categories in the past few years. So remarkable! Let’s keep that momentum going: be sure to nominate an outstanding individual that you know by March 1st!
Last, but not least, is to become a volunteer for the SNA of Massachusetts. Did you know that there are studies that prove that volunteering leads to better physical and mental health? Volunteering gives individuals a sense of purpose, provides support from the relationships that you build with other volunteers and can eliminate that feeling of isolation, due to the “community” feeling that you experience. We’ll gladly take anyone’s help, in any capacity: we have micro, one-time tasks, all the way up to becoming a board member. The choice is yours! Please seriously consider volunteering for SNA; it is so rewarding, and you won’t regret it!
In closing, I challenge you to find anyone who loves SNA as much as I do! I attribute so much of my personal and professional growth to being a member and volunteer. Many years ago, I was that quiet, new food service director, sitting in the back of the conference hall, admiring the smart, professional and inspirational directors that were presenting. At that time, never, in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined that I would be that person up front, leading the group. Unequivocally, my years of involvement with SNA has made this a reality. I take the responsibility as your president very seriously, and feel truly humbled to serve and represent our members this year. Now, let’s celebrate our 65 years of success and have some fun!