Viva Las Vegas - Viva ANC

SNA State Awards Kick It Old School With Big Hair, Bell Bottoms and Some Serious Flair

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What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this...we just have to share. Every year, SNA state presidents work tirelessly to further the mission of the Association.  In the spirit of Las Vegas, we decided to kick things up a notch and bring in a few fan favorites to help honor these incredible individuals.

Who better to do that than Sonny and Cher circa 1970!  Decked out in sequins and shag, the dynamic duo took the stage with a fantastic rendition of "I've Got You Babe" and presented the Thelma Flanagan Gold Achievement Award, the Louise Sublette Award of Excellence and the Heart of the Program Award to honorees from over 40 states.  Talk about making an entrance! Honorees hit the catwalk in style rubbing elbows with "The King" himself - Mr. Elvis Presley. Where else but Vegas can you share the spotlight with not one, not two, but three pop icons!? 

If you missed the action this morning, don't fret. Rumor has it that Elvis is in the building for the remainder of the day.  Look for a white bejeweled jumpsuit and matching cape/cumberbund combo. Also be sure to congratulate your colleagues and thank them for their hard work and unwavering dedication to the cause. 


ANC 2009 is Here! Preconferences Start Today

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ANC 2009 is here!  Registration is now open, with members and exhibitors starting to arrive.  The exhibit floor is currently being set up and will feature the latest in healthy school lunch innovations.  Set to open on Tuesday, the exhibit floor is the largest of it's kind in the school nutrition industry.

Today, many SNA members are participating in preconference sessions. During the preconference sessions, school nutrition professionals are furthering their knowledge in a variety of areas, including financial management and food allergies.  State chapter leaders participating in Chapter Leadership Day are gaining new ideas and learning about the many tools SNA offers. During the Future Leaders Program, rising stars are receiving hands on training as they become up and coming leaders in the school nutrition movement. 

Keep checking the Viva Las Vegas - Viva ANC blog for updates throughout the week!

Three Days and Counting Until ANC 2009…Are You Ready?

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With only three days until the official start of ANC 2009, I’m just checking in to make sure you’re all set to make your way to Las Vegas. In fact, I’ve already arrived in this grand city of lights and sights, and although the weather here is hot, hot, hot, I’m positive this year’s conference is only going to ignite new friendships, spectacular solutions, professional growth and good times for all. We’re on track for a terrific event this year, with strong attendance numbers expected and more than 320 exhibitors set to showcase their innovative products and services. I can't wait to see you all here!

In order to cash in big on your ANC experience, here’s a checklist to help you hit the ground running when you arrive in Vegas:

  • If you haven’t yet registered, it’s not too late! To register onsite, head to the Registration area of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, located in Bayside Foyer. Already registered? This is also the place to go to pick up your badge and official ANC Program Guide.
  • Need handouts for specific education sessions you plan to attend? You can access them online by clicking here. These handouts also will be available online after ANC, therefore I encourage you to pack light and print the ones you need when you return home. Printing stations will not be available during ANC.
  • Plan to attend as many sessions and events as possible! Click on the following to learn more about the education sessions, General Session speakers and events.
  • Plan your Exhibit Hall strategy in advance! To decide what companies you want to see, check the listing in the ANC Program Guide when you arrive.
  • Check out all there is to do and see in Las Vegas by clicking here. Planning a dinner on the town? Don't forget to get restaurant reservations in advance!
  • And last, but certainly not least, be sure to join me for the closing concert on Thursday evening, July 2nd! With rock-and-roll legend Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons taking the stage, you’re sure to see me letting loose on the dance floor…and I hope to see you getting your grove on, too!

Viva Las Vegas, Viva ANC!
Katie Wilson
SNA President

ANC Meet and Greet Book Signing

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On Monday, June 29th and Tuesday, June 30th, there will be a book signing immediately following the General Session. Don't miss your chance to meet renowned speakers and authors Robin Crow and Jeannette Walls, who will sign their latest books:

Monday, June 29: Jump and the Net Will Appear by Robin Crow
At forty, musician Robin Crow had a broken spirit, an empty bank account, and a family to support. Jump and the Net Will Appear is the story of how Robin turned his life around.

Tuesday, June 30: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This powerful memoir has been on The New York Times best-seller list for over two years, and details Walls’ life growing up in extreme poverty and describes the unimaginable obstacles she faced.

ANC attendees will be able to purchase copies of these books following General Session. So get in line and be sure to have your pen handy!


Tweet Up at ANC

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Join us for a social media gathering at ANC Vegas on Tuesday, June 30th at the Learning Lab in the Silent Auction: Mandalay Bay Foyer – Level 2 from 4:45 to 5:15.

Getting Ready for Take Off

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Are you ready for ANC Las Vegas? Of course you are! But before you can enjoy this one-of-a-kind educational event, many of you will have to take to the friendly skies. From arriving early, to checking in and making your way through security checkpoints, airline travel can be a headache these days….but it doesn't have to be! Proper planning can make your trip a lot easier. To travel smart and travel safe, log on to  and learn tips from the experts at the Transportation Security Administration.

Are you a well-seasoned traveler? Share your travel tips with your peers in the comments section!

You Can Bet on Membership Section Meetings!

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This is Peggy Eller blogging to you once again about all the exciting happenings in Vegas. Did you know that there is a meeting at ANC just for you!? The Membership Section Meetings are designed with the needs of your particular professional level in mind and include important updates about current and upcoming SNA initiatives and other key issues. These meetings are perhaps one of your best opportunities to connect with like-minded colleagues from districts around the country, with whom you can discuss shared challenges and exchange best-practice solutions. As you can see, there is something for everybody!

  • College Section Meeting, Tuesday, June 30, 4:30-6:30 pm
    This can't miss opportunity will take you to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where you will tour the state-of-the art facilities.
  • School Nutrition Manager/Employee Section Meeting, Thursday, July 2, 8:15-9:45 am
    Recognized speaker Jeff Joiner will help you discover what you can do to WOW your customers. Jeff has a wealth of experience in customer-service training in school nutrition operations, as well as other segments of the foodservice industry.
  • District Directors/Supervisors Section Meeting, Thursday, July 2, 8:15-9:45 am
    Learn from a panel of school nutrition directors who have found creative and effective solutions to maintaining a healthy bottom line. This session will be moderated by Julie Boettger, an expert in school nutrition financial management.
  • Major City Directors/Supervisors Section Meeting, Thursday, July 2, 8:15-9:45 am
    Learn how to “Survive & Thrive” in this bumpy economy by applying key information from SNA's Supply Chain Toolkit. Leo Lesh, SNS, will be providing current data from Denver and moderator Jean Ronnei will be on hand to lead a fast-paced discussion.
  • State Agencies Section Meeting, Thursday, July 2, 8:30-10:30 am
    Participants in this session will hear the latest information on commodities, research and regulations straight from officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One of my favorite parts of these meetings is the opportunity to connect with old friends….and maybe gain some new ones! What's your favorite part of these meetings? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Peggy Eller
ANC Steering Committee Chair

Child Nutrition Showcase – The Place for Great Ideas

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One of the best things about attending ANC is the number of ideas you come away with. If you’re looking to get new ideas for your program, then the Child Nutrition Showcase is for you! This ANC event features posters submitted by SNA members on best practices and emerging research. The Showcase, located outside of the Exhibit Hall, is filled with inspiring ideas and valuable information.

Here are just a few of the topics that this year’s Child Nutrition Showcase posters feature:

  • School Breakfast
  • Equipment Purchasing
  • Cycle Menus
  • High School Participation & Satisfaction 
  • Healthy Eating
  • Human Resources
  • Emergency Response
  • Allergies and Special Diets

The posters will be displayed for two days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, giving you plenty of time to check all of them out. Plus, the poster authors will be on hand Tuesday, June 30, 12:00-2:00 pm, to talk one-on-one and answer your questions. Additionally, some of these posters will be highlighted in the education session “What's the Latest: Emerging Research in School Nutrition” taking place on Wednesday, July 1st at 9:45 am.

One of the most valuable benefits of attending ANC is the opportunity to network with fellow school nutrition professionals and the Child Nutrition Showcase is the perfect spot to mingle. Do you have a personal ANC networking success story? Share it in the comments section!

Culinary Demonstrations at ANC

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new menu and recipe ideas. Well, then you won’t want to miss the Culinary Demonstrations offered during the ANC Exhibit Hall hours. Here professional chefs will show you “hands-on” skills that you can implement in your school, including how to garnish and present foods to make them more attractive to students. These demos also will feature many new products and healthy ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.

This year, there will be six demonstrations offered during the conference. They are: 

  • “Rice: Economical, Versatile and Whole Grain!” by MARS Foodservices
  • “Stretch Your Budget: A Whole Grain Complement to Your Commodities” by General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice
  • “Using Peanut Butter to Enhance Healthy Options” by National Peanut Board
  • “What’s on the Menu for a Healthy Breakfast?” by American Egg Board
  • “Whole Grain Appeal” by ConAgra Mills
  • “Yum! Make It Easy, Tasty and Kid Friendly” by Precision Foods

Each demo will last about 45 minutes, so there’s still plenty of time to go to all the exhibits. I’m looking forward to sampling the prepared items to determine if my students will really like these new recipes. I hope to pick up some new ideas for my breakfast menus using eggs and whole grains. The demos featuring peanut butter and rice bowls should be good, too! I know my students love peanut butter and they also really enjoyed Yumi Rice Bowl during National School Lunch Week a few years ago.

So whether you take in one or all of the Culinary Demonstrations, you’re sure to come away a WINNER with some great new ideas! Got any winning culinary techniques or tips of your own? Share them with your peers in the comments section!

Peggy Eller
ANC Steering Committee Chair

Shop the Emporium at ANC

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SNA Emporium T-ShirtStop by the Emporium in the SNA Marketplace and discover the latest school nutrition merchandise. This is your opportunity to stock up ANC 2009 keepsakes, NSLW and NSBW materials and much, much more.

Don’t forget to check out our ANC Vegas specials including the newly released School Nutrition Operations Report: The State of School Nutrition 2009, and the “ABCs of Child Nutrition” t-shirt.

What Happens In Vegas

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 ANC 2009 certainly is the place to come for professional development. But with such a fantastic city at your fingertips, you’re also encouraged to take advantage of your free time, or spend an extra day or two, and explore a destination filled with bright lights, spectacular sights and late nights. Here's just a quick rundown of some of the highlights of this “Entertainment Capital of the World”:

  • Only in Vegas can you walk from Venice to Paris and from New York to ancient Egypt in a matter of minutes! No matter where you turn, you will find something extraordinary to see or do. You can marvel at art masterpieces or dancing fountains, ride a roller coaster or watch a volcano erupt, take a romantic gondola ride or journey to the top of the “Eiffel Tower.”
  • Slots? Poker? Roulette? Blackjack? No matter your game of choice, you certainly will find it in Las Vegas. There also are a tremendous variety of shows that can be enjoyed when visiting Las Vegas, including Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, Jersey Boys, Disney's The Lion King and many, many more.
  • For a break from the Strip, take a day trip to Hoover Dam, where you will be impressed with the power of the mighty Colorado River. Just about every hotel in town has a concierge/tour desk offering a number of sightseeing opportunities in and around Las Vegas, so be sure to check with yours upon arrival.
  • Las Vegas also deals a winning combination of indulgences. A-list chefs have made Vegas a culinary hotspot, with spectacular restaurants that take dining to new heights. Las Vegas also is a shopping mecca! You’ll find the most popular and exclusive names in retail at shopping malls located throughout the Strip. And after a long day of shopping, be sure to seek relaxation and rejuvenation with a world-class spa experience.

Been to Las Vegas before? What would you recommend seeing? Or if you’re visiting for the first time, what are you looking forward to most? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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