April 22, 2020
Springfield College (MA)
Throughout all four years of my undergraduate experience, NACA has made a lasting impact on me personally and professionally. I would encourage anyone, especially students, to get involved with this organization, as it can teach you many skills that are transferrable to any field you might choose.
By getting involved as a sophomore in the NACA® Northeast Regional Conference showcase selection process, I found myself wanting more. There is just something about sitting in a conference room watching multiple YouTube and Vimeo videos that screams, “I love this!” Months later, during the actual conference, I saw all my hard work come together on the big stage. With this newfound passion for event management, I challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and apply for a position on the NACA® Northeast Regional Conference Program Committee. Being selected showed me I was meant to be where I was.
In taking on this challenge, I didn’t fully know what to expect. As a junior, I found myself networking and connecting with over 50 other committee members. I was then enabled to think creatively and challenge the status quo, beginning to build my newfound legacy in the NACA world. From this point on, I built a family and found a place where I felt a part of something, a community that understood the challenges I faced at school. These people have become a huge part of my life and I owe that to my volunteer experiences.
NACA, as a whole, has helped me grow into who I am as a pre-professional and has given me many other opportunities, especially through the NACA® Foundation. Through my hard work and dedication to NACA and student activities, I have been awarded three scholarships (national and regional) that have helped me support my education at Springfield College. Through my connection with the Foundation, I discovered another passion. This past year, I set a NACA® Northeast record as the Student Projects Foundation Fundraising Coordinator. I would like to thank you and give a shout-out to anyone who has donated to the Foundation in any way. It is truly appreciated and is just another way to get involved with and support NACA.
There is something special about attending a NACA live event on both the regional and national levels. At every NACA conference I’ve attended, I’ve ended the week with a fresh mindset, lasting friendships, new ideas, and memories to last a lifetime. Who would want to miss out on being a part of making this happen? This is why I encourage all students, staff and associates to get involved and build your NACA legacy, not just for yourself, but also for other students like me.
Kali Barnhart is a senior at Springfield College (MA) studying recreation management. She plans to continue her education this fall at the University of Buffalo (NY), where she will pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs.