Monday, September 13, 2010

SYTA: A time to share best practices!

2010 was a great season! However, like all responsible organizations, we must never rest on our success, but continually seek new and innovative ways to improve our safety practices.

One of the ways we accomplish that objective is to participate in industry conferences designed to share ideas and concepts with other educational travel providers.

 Last week I was able to attend the Student Youth Travel Association’s (SYTA) Annual Conference in Sacramento California. The SYTA Conference is considered the premier event for the student and youth travel industry. The event provides educational growth and information sharing to help student travel companies improve product and services, and improve student travel safety at large.

Beyond just attending, I was honored this year, being elected by the active members to serve a two year term on the Board of Directors for the SYTA Association. I am eager to use our practices and learnings from People to People Ambassador Programs across the entire student travel industry to keep all students safer for years to come. That is pretty darn exciting to me!

[Updated: Here's a photo of me giving my speech at the conference. Photo credit: John C. O'Malley]

It was great to participate and be among such great company. The conference started off with a welcome brunch that was sponsored (again) by the wonderful people at Disney Theatrical. This year they brought along a very special guest to speak with us about accomplishing the impossible: Mary Lou Retton. Mary Lou did a wonderful job of sharing the challenges a young girl from Fairmount, West Virginia, faced during her pursuit of winning an Olympic Gold medal, which she did during the Summer Game in Los Angeles in 1984.

[Mary Lou Retton promotional photo]

The balance of the conference was filled with many speakers covering updates on industry safety insurance, including Dr. Ron Fortune, CEO of By participating in this conference, we are able to learn and share best industry practices and also help shape future policies and regulations that will impact the educational travel industry.

I look forward to serving the SYTA well and continuing to learn from some of the best companies in the student travel industry.

Mike Bowers
Senior Director of Health and Safety

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