by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

Now’s the time to be making arrangements to attend the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association convention in San Antonio, Nov. 15-18.

JEA mentors, you can play a major role in making a trip to the convention possible for your mentees and their students.

1) Make your mentees aware of the convention and what a great learning experience JEA/NSPA conventions are for students and advisers. Speakers, workshops, competitions in dozens of categories, breakfast with the pros, trips to area media, etc.

2) Help your mentee develop a plan for preparing for the convention. Sometimes new advisers, who are so busy already, let the opportunity pass by because they can’t take on anything else. But with your help with planning, your mentee might decide to go for it. Talk with your mentee about how to make hotel and travel arrangements, how to handle the school paperwork, and how to work with students and parents on raising funds for the trip.

The convention registration booklet can be downloaded from the convention information website.

3) Help your mentee prepare to “sell” the school administration on the convention trip. School budgets are limited. Some school field trips are more fun than function. So help your mentee rehearse talking about the learning opportunities involved.

4) You want your mentee to have a positive convention experience, so help your mentee know what’s realistic for a first convention. Some advisers go solo to the first convention to scout out the experience and then take students the next time. Sometimes only the adviser and one or two students will be able to attend. Maybe for the first convention, the students attend sessions but don’t compete in Write-offs.

Even though the convention is two and half months away, now’s the time to be making plans in order to secure early-bird convention registration rates (Oct. 24 deadline), get rooms in the convention hotels (Oct. 13 deadline), and make transportation plans.

The convention program isn’t posted yet but the convention registration booklet is. The booklet provides an overview of special speakers and sessions and includes forms for registering for the convention, booking a hotel room, and signing up for the many different contests.

Go to the convention information website, then click on About. From that drop down menu, click on Registration Booklet PDF.

Those of us who have attended a JEA/NSPA convention know what a wonderful learning opportunity it is for students and advisers. This can be the highlight of the school year. Students and advisers can network with others involved in scholastic journalism from around the country. Colleges are recruiting in the exhibit hall.

So, help your adviser make plans for the San Antonio convention — or another upcoming JEA/NSPA convention.