Despite being virtually born to Utah’s ski slopes, I love the dry summer heat of southern Utah, and as fall approaches with crisp morning air and lengthening afternoon shadows I start to get a bit of weather-related separation anxiety. That is, until I realize that the Best Friends National Conference is just around the corner.
The conference is hands-down my favorite event of the year, and looking forward to it makes the inevitable demise of long summer days and warm evenings much more bearable.
The conference has gone from strength to strength in delivering practical, experience-based know-how and information about building no-kill communities to individuals, nonprofits and municipal agencies. Presentations range from the 101 level to advanced, across eight tracks ranging in subject from fundraising to animal behavior, and from building a volunteer force to building no-kill community coalitions.
Attendees routinely describe their experience as “life changing,” not simply because of the quality and depth of information offered, but also because of the opportunity to spend three and a half days with like-minded animal lovers from across the country and across all spectrums of society. The Best Friends National Conference is a life lift for anyone involved in rescue and animal welfare. In fact, some no-kill leaders who attended their first Best Friends conference when they were just getting started — such as Rick DuCharme of First Coast No More Homeless Pets and Rebecca Guinn of Lifeline Animal Project — have returned a few years later as presenters with a new approach to old problems.
This year, the conference includes a half-day pre-conference session specifically for agency leaders and city officials involved with municipal animal control contracts and code enforcement, titled “The Front Lines: Implementing No-Kill Policy in Animal Control Agencies.” Some of the most progressive, lifesaving work around the country is being done by or in partnership with local animal control.
The conference is taking place in Las Vegas and while there will be time to take in a show or fancy restaurant, the conference itself will have plenty of socializing and mix-and-mingle occasions. Yappy Hour runs from 4 pm to 8 pm on Friday and a special 80s-themed 30th anniversary party celebrating the founding of Best Friends in 1984 will rock the place from 6 pm to 9 pm on Saturday. Will Vegas be able to handle all those animal people letting their hair down?
The Best Friends National Conference is truly a worthwhile event, and we are pleased and proud to be able to welcome you to the 2014 gathering in Las Vegas, October 23-26. I hope you will join us and I look forward to seeing you there. After all, it’s the excitement and energy of so many of us with same purpose gathered in the same place that tops gears me up for the year ahead.
Together, we can Save Them All.
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Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Best Friends Animal Society