Are you registered for SYMC? You want to pack well for SYMC and be prepared for the best! These are not all tech tips but you will find some good tech tips burred in here. These tips come from years of conference going and some specific to my time at SYMC. I hope these will be super useful!
TIP #1 Know what tracks and workshops you want to attend (at least know what is available). Knowing ahead of time will make your life easier. Check out the scheduling tool SYMC has provided conference.youthministry.com/schedule. If you prefer to schedule directly from your smartphone click here http://symc2013.sched.org/mobile. Check out the details on the scheduling resource here conference.youthministry.com/schedule.
TIP #2 Everyone is invited but if this is your first SYMC I highly recommend you make time for “How To Get The Most Out Of SYMC.” This community gathering will happen about 4 times Friday afternoon (March 1). Here you will find great information and a Q&A for newbies! This could be your best first step…the only better first step would be to locate the restrooms!
TIP #3 Bring a bag/backpack. You will be carrying your Bible, Participant Journal, Pen, Hotel Key, iPod, Headphones, Cell Phone, Water Bottle, Laptop, Moleskine, Deodorant, Backup Hotel Key, Gum, Chapstick, USB Thumb Drive, (remember when we actually carried a Digital Camera too?)…and on top of all that you will need to leave room for all the stuff you pick up in different areas on the conference hall, workshops, and bookstore while you are at SYMC.
TIP #4 Bring business cards and address stickers. This is a little nerdy and lazy but I do not like filling out my address 100 time over the weekend…I have seen people stick a sticker on those forms…complete with Name, Address, Phone, and Email. The business cards are for networking…you may want to bring something to hold other peoples cards so you don’t lose them (or take a picture of it with your cell phone app that turns business cards into a contact and throw the card out).
TIP #5 Connect with other youth workers! Don’t spend all your time with people you brought, get in a Connect Group, find the National Network of Youth Ministries and ask them to help you meet other youth workers in your area, ask people in your workshops to lunch and kick around what you have been learning…if they say they can’t because they are on a budget offer to buy (buying friends at a conference is ok, plus you are probably going to charge it to a church expense account anyway).
TIP #5.5 Connect with the speakers. There were be so many of the sharpest minds in youth ministry at SYMC. Connect!
TIP #6 Need some love…Soul Care, enough said!
TIP #7 Don’t forget the tag your tweets with #SYMC. Run a search for #SYMC on twitter to see and be a part of all the buzz!
TIP #8 See someone taking note like crazy? Ask if they are a blogger and if they are posting their notes online!
TIP #9 Bring a spray bottle and squirt the guy who has to answer every question the track speaker asks, just kidding….but seriously, bring a spray bottle.
TIP #10 When you get home write a short letter to your ministry point person on your leadership team telling them how amazing your time in Indy was, sharing a few nuggets of what you learned, and thanking them for making it possible (time away, money, etc…this effort can go a long way with leadership). If you paid for SYMC yourself write that letter to your spouse, if you are single take yourself out for ice cream and review your notes, if you are lactose intolerant consider taking one of those Lactaid pills or just pray about the risk.
I know there are way more than 10 tips and I am sure that you have some that are even better than these…So please share your best conference tips in the comments below! Hope to see you are SYMC 2013!!!!!