What is an NSA Annual Conference Like?

“It will change your life.”

“We are a family. It’s like a huge family reunion.”

“You can’t explain it. You’ve got to experience it.”

These statements are common from anyone who has ever attended an NSA Conference. It really is unlike any other conference you will ever attended!

The NSA Annual Conferences attract several hundred people each year. We had less than 100 when we begin 1984 in San Francisco close to 900 in Fort Worth, TX in 2011. The conferences are filled with laughter, friendship, support, information, excitement, encouragement, motivation, new ideas, and new perspectives. We are a family, and we treat each other like family members. Imagine, if you will, being in a place where almost everyone stutters. Nearly everyone understands what you’re going through; we’ve all been where you are, had the same thoughts and fears, and had similar experiences. You can walk up to almost anyone and start a conversation and they will understand immediately what’s going through your mind.

The conference is held in early July of each year, starting on Wednesday and lasting through Saturday night. A typical conference schedule includes:
Monday or Tuesday: Conference veterans and return attendees often arrive a day or two early to get a jump on seeing old friends.
Wednesday: The NSA Summer Board Meeting and special events are often planned.  Workshops officially begin on Wednesday.
Thursday: Workshops continue throughout the day, as well as other special events, tours, and general sessions.
Friday: Workshops continue and special events such as city tours are conducted in the evening.
Saturday: Final workshops, the Closing Ceremonies take place during the day, followed by our Saturday Night Banquet.
Sunday: Most attendees say goodbye for another year and return home.
Sunday evening: The people who stay on often go out to eat and reminisce about everything.

Most official events are scheduled during the day or in the evening, but in truth, this is a 24/7 event. Spontaneous and informal talk sessions spring up continually, and often last far into the night. Sleep is in short supply. People go out to eat, dance, laugh, or explore the town together. Friendships, long lasting and meaningful, begin in minutes, not days or weeks like the norm. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!

For more information on conference specifics, also check out our What to Expect section!