THE APTA CONFERENCE IS IN TEXAS
This I had to make a choice between taking my horse to Regional's in Fort Worth or going to the APTA Conference in San Antonio. As it turns out I couldn't do either one. I couldn't afford it. No one should be surprised that showing horses is expensive. What might be surprising is that going to the APTA Conference would have cost more.
I thought I would be able to go. San Antonio is only a 3 hour drive for me. Even with the rising cost of gas it's cheaper than flying. Then I started adding up costs. First there was the price of attending the conference (early bird). Second was the cost of lodging and food. Pre-conference courses were extra. Even if I'd driven up the morning of the 11th, brought food with me and did nothing extracurricular I could not afford it. I admit that's pretty Spartan and probably not realistic.
The whole exercise raises two questions. Would it have been worth going anyway? How are other able to afford the cost? I would have benefited from attending. The actual Conference has a lot to offer. There would be some networking opportunities. I would have access to the displays and vendors. I just wouldn't be able to do the "fun" stuff. Realistically I would be doing nothing outside of the conference. This isn't St. Louis. There are no conveniently located White Castles around. Food and entertainment add up.
I also wonder how others are able to afford this. I don't think too many facilities are helping with the cost. The majority of attendees will have had to fly. This might result in the added expense of a rental car. The APTA encourages us to attend. Yet, I don't see much effort on their part to make the cost affordable. Early Bird discounts help. Using different locations throughout the US helps to a point. I wonder if attendance this year will be lower than previously. I wonder what the attendance was in Nashville compared to previously. Certainly if attendance goes on a continued downward trend the APTA will investigate. As a good friend says, this doesn't make any sense. Why push attendance at something priced out of reach for many members?
I don't have an answer. I do have a suggestion. The APTA should video the various presentations and lectures, burn them onto CDs and sell the CDs. I would pay for CDs of the geriatric portion of the conference. There are other lectures I would pay to hear as well, particularly those in education and administration. By including information on the presenters individuals could apply to states for CEUs. Maybe they already do this and I've missed the CDs.
This time I get to be jealous of those who've managed to go. Someday I'll go. Maybe I'll be lucky and a conference will be scheduled in Houston. I shouldn't complain I have plenty on my plate between, work, school and the horses. But as a therapist I want to go and spend time with others in my profession. I want to support my profession as well as learn the latest and greatest. As they say at the end of baseball season, maybe next year.