I’ve been thinking about what has my team all abuzz every year leading up to the excitement of going to CalABA. It always seems to bring about a renewed energy and vigor for seeing clients and finishing those last couple reports. The idea of taking a break from our typical week to learn more about our science is invigorating for us clinicians. And the opportunity to see some of the greats in our field share excellent insight and new research, has some of us giddy about soaking up as much as we can. The likes of Dr. Daniels, Dr. Malott, Dr. LeBlanc, and Dr. Dixon create the SHORT list of invited speakers, and it sparks the enthusiasm we all felt in grad school. While we won’t buy backstage passes, or wait in line for three days to get their autographs, these names are definitely some of the rock stars of ABA. The opportunity to see them in person brings a thrill for even the most conservative among us.
But there is more to it than just the fan frenzy. Yes, getting those CEU’s is always important, but you can get easily get one online these days. We go to CalABA because we get something more. Community. It’s that feeling of satisfaction that comes from attending one of the sponsored events and purchasing a glass of wine with your ticket that seem to be worth more than gold. Its the thousands of pieces of luggage being stored in the lobby because we all checked out at the same time on Saturday to save one extra night’s hotel fee. Its not minding that your flight got delayed (again) because it allows you one more drink with friends I haven’t seen since last year.
CONNECTEDNESS! I think that is what we get at CalABA that is truly special. The chance to see colleagues and coworkers that have become friends. The chance to connect with those you haven’t seen in two years because last year you had a baby, or to show those new BCBAs how to scan in and out of each session. The chance to share stories and laughs with those that truly understand what we all go through and how much we care.
Our field can be isolating at times. We spend so much time with our clients that it is possible to go long stretches without seeing coworkers. But something about being at CalABA, just seems to put us all at ease – even when the line at Starbucks is taking forever – and I’m going to be late to Dr. Bailey’s talk – and I might still need 2 Ethics CEU’s… but I really need a double shot right about now. There is something about the safety of being surrounded by people that just get my daily struggles and triumphs, and who understand why I might be over the moon excited because a client initiated play with a sibling without a prompt.
I’m looking forward to being connected to everyone yet again. And while I’m always excited to learn from some of my idols and mentors, I’m equally as excited to hear how your week went. See you there!