SO WHAT'S WRYMC?
WRYMC is the Western Regional Younger Member Council and is a two day conference for younger members all across, you guessed it, the western region. This conference started as a business meeting in which delegates from each YMF chapter came together to discuss different resolutions that they wanted to bring to the attention of ASCE's Board of Directors. The event grew and now encompasses numerous networking events and workshops, leadership development opportunities, and technical tours. Though it reads like a standard conference, I assure you, WRYMC is anything but your typical professional event.
OK, I'M INTERESTED...
I'm glad you are! WRYMC is jam packed with activities; younger members are kept so busy with events and agenda items running from an early breakfast (~7AM) to late at night (~10PM or later). With the variety of programming, there's always something for someone. Even after attending three of these conferences, I've always walked away with a new appreciation for ASCE and felt re-energized to serve this community.
SO WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS?
I highly encourage you to ask any of the several people who have attended in the past because we're probably all bound to give you different answers. But since I voluntold myself to write this article, I guess you're hearing my favorites.
Though the conference takes place from Friday to Saturday, the hosting YMF plans pre-conference and post-conference socials taking place on Thursday and Sunday respectively. Both the pre-conference and post-conference tours are a great way to explore the host city, especially if you're a first time visitor. The pre-conference tour is especially valuable because it gives you extra time to meet new friends and start networking early. At this year's WRYMC, there were two choices for the pre-conference tour: the Lanikai Pillbox Hike with some beach time at Lanikai Beach or a day at the Lo'i (Hawaiiwan taro) farm. I attended the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and it was a gorgeous day to be outside.
That evening, a few of us from the San Diego Chapter (and a new friend from the Las Vegas Chapter!) got dinner together before making our way to the Networking Social. The evening before the conference had three events going on: the Outreach Training Event, a Lu'au, and the Networking Social. Most of our chapter opted for the networking social and again, got a chance to make connections before the first workshop even began.
I absolutely love this photo because everyone here is from a different chapter and we all met at an ASCE conference. I look forward to seeing these people every year!
The first official day of the conference is filled with workshops from morning to afternoon. The workshops we had were:
These aren't your average workshops! Each workshop is extremely engaging, and you're constantly interacting with the people sitting right next to you. Pro-tip: sit next to people you don't know every opportunity you can! This is super intimidating the first time, but trust me when I say every person at WRYMC is friendly. Every person is a leader of their respective YMF and attends WRYMC with the intention of meeting new people and making new friends. Because of this, it's really easy to make a new connection. Also - trade business cards. Though Facebook and Instagram have made it easy to stay connected with people, I've found that having the actual business card helps me remember what industry my new connections are in -- and it helps with finding everyone's LinkedIn later!
At night on the first day, we had our section dinner. The San Diego Section Professionals, Younger Members, and Students got together at a local restaurant to get to know each other in a more casual setting.
After Section Dinner, the Younger Members headed over to the Bar Crawl. Every year, the hosting chapter plans a bar crawl for 100+ participants. After a long day of workshops, people are definitely open to the idea of having a good time!
The definition of professionalism: being able to wake up for the 7:30am breakfast after being at the bar crawl. By this definition, you'll realize that all your peers are true professionals. Day two of workshops consists of the following:
The banquet wraps up the official days of the conference. The banquet includes awards given to individuals and chapters as well as a lot of food, drinks, and dancing. It's a fantastic way to end the conference and to really hang out with your new connections one last time for this year!
On the Sunday after the banquet, there's a post conference activity. This year, it was a hike. It's my first time attending the post-conference activity and I was pleasantly surprised to have met a lot of people I didn't get to hang out with during the conference. Just goes to show how many attendees there really are!
IS IT ALWAYS IN HAWAII?
The location changes every year and younger members get to vote on the new location at the business meeting. With that said, I've found that the location could be anywhere; it's the people that really make the conference what it is. After multiple conferences, I still walk away with amazing memories. Next year, the conference will be in the Bay Area. With its close proximity, it's the perfect time to start planning to attend. Our YMF group can help you get there too! We offer stipends to those who would like to attend (if you're interested, please ask for more details).
Our San Diego chapter plans to help members feel more knowledgeable about opportunities like WRYMC and to encourage more of our members to attend these rewarding events. What can we do to achieve this? Let us know your suggestions!
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