Richard Yep, ACA Executive Director

Two things to share with you this month. The first is that your ACA staff is in the final phase of planning as we prepare to host somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 professional counselors, counselor educators and graduate students who will gather for the annual ACA Conference & Expo next month.

This year’s conference will provide more than 400 continuing education sessions and inform attendees about the latest in research. It will offer plentiful networking opportunities with colleagues from around the world and bring to light new products and resources from more than 100 booths in the expo hall. It will provide access to the highly regarded ACA Career Center and feature two very compelling keynote speakers in Morgan Spurlock and Cloé Madanes.

Without question, this is one of the events of the year for the counseling profession. Regardless of whether you plan on attending this event, however, it should not be seen as the pinnacle, the zenith, the capstone or the “last really big audacious conference of the year.”

No, the ACA 2014 Conference & Expo is not meant to be an end point. Rather, it is a place on your continuum of professional development as a counselor, counselor educator or graduate student. At the 2014 conference, we will be releasing some groundbreaking information relative to the newly revised ACA Code of Ethics, a risk management report for counselors in practice and results from our first-ever counselor salary study.

My hope, of course, is that many ACA members and those who identify as professional counselors and counselor educators will find a way to join us for the ACA 2014 Conference in Honolulu. The added bonus of holding the event in one of the world’s most beautiful places is the chance for you to simply “chill out” and reenergize for the important work ahead.

But if you cannot join us, please know that ACA is still committed to providing you with many professional development opportunities and services throughout the year. With our newly improved website and resources that will be released throughout the year, we really are trying to be your professional partner wherever and whenever you need us.

If you think attending the ACA 2014 Conference & Expo is a possibility, you will find a very comprehensive description of the event on our website. Visit us at counseling.org/conference for the latest information.


And now, a personal reflection. I grew up in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay area. Beginning in the 1960s, I trudged out to Candlestick Park with my dad to watch our beloved San Francisco Giants. (Some say that Willie Mays would have surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record had he not had to play in that windy stadium. I would add the word cold to windy.) When the San Francisco 49ers abandoned Kezar Stadium, they also headed to Candlestick, which meant I had even more reason to go to that concrete monstrosity. In time, I even took my own son to Candlestick.

Well, the Giants finally found a way to build a state-of-the art baseball stadium in what is now a thriving part of San Francisco. Next season, the 49ers will head down to Santa Clara, where they will move into their new home. However, as I sat at what was to be the last regular season professional football game at Candlestick Park at the end of December, I felt a wave of nostalgia come over me. I began to think that the cold temperatures, the biting wind and the austere facility weren’t so bad. My sense is that these thoughts were driven more by memories of what had been and what I had shared, first as a son and then as a father, than by reality.

From a practical point of view, the new baseball and football stadiums really do (or will) enhance most aspects of the “fan experience.” Just as in the work you do with clients and students, I guess this is about working through the transitions and challenges that life places before us. And let’s face it — I will still have the memories of Candlestick Park without having to suffer the wind and the cold.


As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and thoughts. Feel free to contact me at 800.347.6647 ext. 231 or via email at ryep@counseling.org. You can also follow me on Twitter: