“E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many One” was the motto of the 2017 Keep America Beautiful Conference held in Washington D.C., January 24-26, 2017. Amy Hughes, Project Coordinator for Keep Loup Basin Beautiful (KLBB), was selected to attend the conference for the KAB Affiliate. The motto for the 2017 conference was resonated over and over throughout the three day conference through speakers and activities being focused around the work that all affiliates of Keep America Beautiful do to reach their common goals to end littering, improve recycling and beautify America’s communities.
The speakers at the conference were excellent providing attendees with lots of interactive information that could be taken back to their local areas and implemented. The conference began with a session on Conversational Intelligence that carried over and throughout the conference. The opening session provided attendees with an introduction as to why it is important to have an emotional connection with what they are doing and being able to have constructive conversations with those in our communities to reach and create common goals. In sessions throughout the conference, many affiliates presented on different programs that they have implemented to improve and beautify their communities. These sessions and dialog with others led to many other affiliates brainstorming their own possible programs.
Attendees also learned about what actions they need to take and how to go about getting people in their own communities to join in common goals to end littering, improve recycling, and beautifying communities. The KAB National Youth Advisory Council was in attendance at the conference and their attendance brought a breath of fresh air and lots of ideas on how to connect with youth in the affiliate areas. The youth spoke on how important it is to meet them in their social networking area and how important personal interactions are.
One session involved completing a Build & Grow Activity, sponsored by Lowe’s. A sample “garbage pizzas” was created that would be sent to schools along with supplies so they could then create their own.
The last day of the conference attendees attended “Steel This!” a session designed for affiliates to get an in-depth, one-on-one opportunity to listen, view, ask questions, and “steel” ideas from six different affiliate presenters. The plenary keynote speaker presented how important volunteers are and how important they are to the success of your affiliate. The speaker also used interactive activities to show attendees how to increase the number of volunteers in your affiliate and how to improve your own morale on those days when you feel overwhelmed.
Attendees at the conference ranged from the Bahamas, Hawaii, Texas, Washington, Maine, Florida, etc. In all there were over 400 people in attendance. The state of Nebraska was well represented at the 2017 National Conference with sixteen in attendance with many receiving awards at the National Awards Dinner. The 2018 KAB Conference location is up for a vote but Hughes is looking forward to attending again no matter the location. Hughes learned a lot and is looking forward to implementing that knowledge with her team members and the communities that KLBB encompasses.
Keep Loup Basin Beautiful (KLBB) is grant-funded through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and Keep America Beautiful; and is a project of the Loup Basin RC&D Council that promotes litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, and beautification. KLBB serves thirteen counties in central and north-central Nebraska. For more information about KLBB’s education programs, email KLBB at [email protected], visit www.keeploupbasinbeautiful.org, or like them on Facebook. Contact the Loup Basin RC&D office (308)-346-3393 or stop by the office at the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway Interpretive Center, 330 South Highway 11 Burwell, Nebraska.