July 17 -20, 2014,were the dates for the NISOA Annual Convention at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, Co. During the convention NISOA celebrated its 50th anniversary. Everyone that registered or was a guest received a 50th anniversary ring or necklace. Among the guests were 10 Past Presidents, 13 Raymond E. Bernabei Honor Award recipients, and 15 Hall of Fame members. In addition to the convention, NISOA also held a National Referee Training Academy
The convention kicked off on Thursday morning with the Larry Starner Memorial Golf Tournament. 27 golfers played at the Inverness course under perfect weather. A special thanks to Joe Miller, CT. who coordinated the fund raising for the tournament and had approximately 20 hole sponsors. Later in the afternoon, the NISOA Officers and Regional Representatives met separately to discuss issues and items of interest. They then met together for the annual Executive Board meeting. President Todd Abraham led the board through the various information and action items and set the stage for the next 50 years.
Thursday evening was very special to say the least. A reception was held to recognize the special guests including the hall of fame members, past presidents and honor award recipients. Bill Fortin, CT. spoke about his years of service as camp director and the many memories he had from camp. Mike Allen, OR told of his service on the Executive Board , including being the longest secretary in history. Hal Chappel, PA. had everyone laughing as he shared stories of the “old days” and the exploits of the early leaders. Several very special guests were introduced and recognized. The first was C. Frank Jewell, Jr. who represented Frank Jewell and his family. Frank thanked everyone for allowing him to participate and talked about his Dad and current health condition. Rodi Rocconi and Lori Pursell, daughters of Dr. Ray Bernabei were next to speak and talked about their Dad and Mom’s and their passion for NISOA and their love of family. They were most appreciative to be remembered and be a part of the celebration. Debbie Albors and Sue Augello. Mario Donnangelo’s daughters also spoke of their love for their Dad and his commitment to NISOA. They announced the establishment of a camp scholarship fund in honor of Mario by presenting a donation to the Foundation Fund.
The culmination of the evening was the presentation of a DVD that portrayed a pictorial history of NISOA. Dr. Ray had gathered several thousand pictures in hopes of having a book published. The pictures were sorted and approximately 700 were placed in various categories. Thanks to John Kipp, OH. for creating a power point presentation of the pictures set to music. Everyone in attendance received a copy and subsequent to the convention a copy was sent to all chapter contacts.
On Friday, several interesting and informative clinics were held including a session on the coach’s perspective by Rob Kehoe, National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This included an outstanding question and answer session from the coaches point of view. The Colorado chapter under the leadership of Glen Babcock and a lot of hard work by Kira Chaffee and her convention team sponsored a trip to a Colorado Rockies game for everyone. Charter busses arrived at the hotel and transported all who wanted to attend to the game. This was a great time of fellowship and fun for all.
On Saturday, as previously mentioned, a National Referee Academy was held for those interested in becoming National Referees, those recertifying, National Assessors and anyone else interested in learning how to be a better official. Late in the afternoon, the Annual General Membership meeting was held and several important actions were passed. Saturday evening was the time to recognize our own at the Annual Awards Banquet. Rachel Woo, MA. and Dr. Joe Manjone, AL. were inducted into the NISOA Hall of Fame. Several other awards were presented and will be summarized in the next edition of the NISOA Newsletter.
During the entire convention, the Auxiliary was very active. On Thursday, Mary Van de Vaarst and Debbie Wescott conducted registration for the Auxiliary members. As part of registration, the participants were able to view a power point presentation on the seven year history of the Auxiliary. On Friday, the Auxiliary members and guests traveled to the Botanical Gardens in Denver. On Saturday, the Auxiliary began their day with the annual photograph and then boarded a bus for a private tour of Denver.
A special thank you goes out to George Wescott, NJ. and Tim Debysingh, TX. for serving as convention chair and assistant. In addition, Mark Butler, NY. assisted with registration and hospitality. Thanks to Brian Cohen, IA who videotaped the clinics so they can be streamed on the web site and took photos throughout the convention. The entire Colorado Chapter worked diligently on every detail to make sure the 50th celebration was a tremendous success.
Make plans now to attend the 2014 Annual Convention in Buffalo, NY.