Monthly Archives: January 2015

California, Here We Come!

la quinta 2

Registration for the ┬áNational Watermelon Convention – aka NWA 2015 – is in progress and the initial deadlines are fast approaching. (January 25th is the special convention rate deadline for La Quinta and on February 1st the registration rates increase!) If you are like me, until your registration is complete, your travel arrangements in place, and your calendar cleared, it’s difficult to get excited about the actual event.

It is my intention, therefore, to help you get excited about NWA 2015 and encourage you to make all the arrangements necessary as soon as possible, so that you will be able to eagerly anticipate the pleasures that await you.

This will be my first Watermelon Convention. From the first interview I had in the national office until now, I am continually reminded that the annual convention is like nothing I’ve previously experienced. I have to admit that as I’ve written the emails that come to you each week promoting the convention, I too have been swept away with the excitement.

Not only is the location of the event glorious at this time of year – when most of the country is freezing and dealing with stressful weather conditions – but it’s also awe-inspiringly beautiful. The Santa Rosa Mountain range is visible from every prospect of the La Quinta Resort & Spa. Vast blue skies during the day and the deeper star-studded moonlit skies at night are quite common there. The gloomy overcast days in Florida have stirred a longing in me for those fresh and clear southern California vistas.

I am also looking forward to staying at the La Quinta Resort. It is so much more than a hotel. The individual red-tiled casitas and the flower-lined pathways give the grounds of the resort a lovely village feel. Comfortable heated swimming pools are scattered throughout and make sun-bathing a more private affair. The Spa itself is a luxurious addition and provides more refreshing and restful ways to be pampered. Sounds very inviting!

I have been to conventions in the past, but as I look over the agenda and prepare for the special events, I am beginning to understand how unique the National Watermelon Convention is in comparison.┬áDancing, casino games, Queen competitions, auctions, banquets, sight-seeing, and excursions to the desert, mountain top, golf course, and polo grounds, are not the usual activities of conventions that I’ve attended.

I see now that the membership of the NWA is more like a family working together for the benefit of all, rather than a group of members with a common business goal with no other concern for one another. I have heard Bob Morrissey say that the NWA conventions are a special time of fellowship, camaraderie, and networking. The seminar presenters and keynote speaker are not the focus of the convention, but rather another way in which the Association desires to prepare the watermelon industry for longevity and success. I have been reading Sarah Sladek’s book, Knowing Y, about engaging the next generation now – it seems to me that the NWA has always been aware of the value of the next generation. I am eager to hear what she has to say once she encounters the NWA.

I have been working on membership lists and invitations and emails for the last couple of months and your names are becoming familiar to me. I am thrilled and eager to finally meet the family! I feel a little like I did when I was going to meet my prospective in-laws for the first time.

Looking forward to my first National Watermelon Convention, and to meeting all of you!

Nicole Schrader

Communications for the NWA