The 2011 NYRA Annual Meeting, held July 29th through 31st, on the campus of University of Maryland – College Park was co-hosted by the UMD Chapter of SSDP and sponsored by the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Foundation. With nearly 70 people in attendance, this year’s conference was twice as big as 2010. Not only did we double the attendance, we doubled the schedule. Packing in a Friday night petitioning event against the proposed Montgomery County curfew, a night of bowling on Saturday, and notable speakers such as Steve Culbertson, CEO of Youth Service America, Mary Beth Tinker, the plaintiff in the famous Tinker v. Des Moines free speech case and Dr. Robert Epstein our keynote speaker and author of Teen 2.0. The schedule was packed with debates, discussions, speakers, workshops, panels, and videos covering all aspects of the youth rights movement, from traditional subjects like the voting age and drinking age, to the question of whether Rebecca Black was good for youth rights.
Attendees came from as far away as Hawaii, Florida and New Mexico. A large contingent of staff and members of the United Teen Equality Center in took a van down from Lowell, Massachusetts. In addition to the 70 people in attendance, many more watched the conference live online. Videos of the annual meeting are still available online, so if you missed anything be sure to watch here.
The conference was not only informative and inspiring, it was a heck of a lot of fun. Saturday night at AMF Lanes in College Park, MD was one highlight of the weekend. UTEC’s own Geoff Foster, newly elected NYRA board member Eric Goldstein and NYRA Executive Director Alex Koroknay-Palicz took home the top three scores of the night.
Thanks to the expert work of local photographer Chester Lam, this year’s annual meeting also has the best looking pictures we’ve ever had at an annual meeting. Check out the full photo gallery here.
Finally, the 2011 NYRA Board Election concluded on Saturday night and we are proud to announce the 2011-2012 NYRA Board of Directors! This year’s winning candidates include: Jeffrey Nadel, Kathleen O’Neal, Katrina Moncure, Chris Hardy, Eric Goldstein, Keith Mandell, Samantha Godwin, Usiel Phoenix and Nigel Jones. Three bylaw proposals were put before the membership and two of them passed. A change was made in how elections are announced and paid staff are no longer permitted to run for the board of directors. The membership voted down a bylaw that would have created two-year terms for board members instead of the current one-year term.
Food, snacks and coffee were generously provided by the College Park locations of Noodles & Company, Bagel Place of College Park and Starbucks. Staffing the exhibition hall were the Reason Foundation, the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the United States Youth Chamber of Commerce and The Hitting Stops Here! We thank all of them for helping make this year’s annual meeting such a success. And of course, all the amazing people who came! Thank you! See you in 2012!!