President's Corner

Winter 2018

Greetings from the President

With Winter Comes New Beginnings

I hope that everyone had wonderful holidays, time with family and friends, and some time to rest. I visited my family in New Hampshire over Thanksgiving but was glad to get back to the warmer weather here in Texas!

The season of winter represents endings, new beginnings, renewal, and hope. Beginnings may come in the form of a New Year's resolution, but as many of these quickly end, I encourage you to set small, achievable goals for yourself at any time of the year. I renewed my commitment to begin exercising again late last year. I fell off the exercise wagon after foot surgery a year ago, and it has been extremely diffcult to get back into the habit. The thought of going back to the gym and taking classes was of no interest to me. I had to start at the beginning. Thinking too big was keeping me from starting at all. So I began with walking, and set small goals to build up my time and pace. I got my bike tuned up and started riding. I will try other activities as well, perhaps yoga, or maybe go back to the gym. My long term goal is to remain vital into my golden years, which is more likely with a lifetime of good habits, but it is NEVER too late to start. NOW is a good time for new beginnings, new habits and new or revised goals.

This is my 20th year in child nutrition. When I went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian years ago, one of the classes had guest speakers from a school nutrition program. After hearing some of their chaotic stories (some of which were likely for entertainment value) I crossed that career option off my list. After working in a hospital for a brief time, however, one of my professors gave me a lead on a job in a school district that would use many of my skills, and the rest is history. I can't think of a profession that I would rather be in!

I want to remind you again how important our mission is. Hungry children are NOT ready to learn. By providing nutritious and appealing meals, and a warm, friendly smile, EACH ONE OF YOU is helping our students prepare for their futures, and some of them will no doubt become our future leaders.

This year we have started developing a Future Leaders Academy. This will begin in June 2018 at the Annual Conference and end with graduation in June 2019. The curriculum will include classes at board meetings that provide leadership skills training, participation on a committee, and exposure to board meetings. We hope that graduates will be interested in serving in TASN leadership positions in the future.

There are a number of upcoming events that we encourage you to participate in. On February 13 we are having a local Legislative Action Day (LAD) where board members will visit with our state representatives. We ask that you participate by calling your legislators on that same day. By now you should have seen e-blasts providing our position paper and some talking points. It is quick and easy to pick up the phone, and VERY important to create relationships with those that make decisions that impact us.

TASN will be attending SNA's Legislative Action Conference held in Washington D.C., March 4–6. This is an opportunity to be a part of the political process at the federal level that sometimes produces regulations we may not agree with, or that result in more work to administer our programs. We hope you will come and advocate with us for child nutrition programs.

Shelly Copeland and her planning committee are working on the details to prepare for the TASN Annual Conference, which will be held June 17–20 in San Antonio. There will be information packed sessions, networking, and, of course, fun. Each year a ceremony recognizes those that receive scholarships or awards. If one of your goals is to further your education and career, check out the TASN website (under the education drop-down menu) for information on how to apply for scholarships, or how to nominate others to be recognized with TASN and SNA awards. I will look for you on stage at the Annual Conference!

I wish you all happiness and success in setting and progressing toward your goals and dreams in this New Year. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and I hope to see many of you at upcoming events!

Laura Mason
Pasadena ISD
2017–2018 TASN President