Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Travelogue 1

My good friend, Tim Fuller, often writes up reports on his journeys far and wide and labels them "travelogues" so I thought I'd adopt that term for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday morning, five of my admissions staff members and I flew to Boston for the annual NACCAP conference, being held at Gordon College. Before going further, let me give a shout-out to Delta Airlines . . . the first compliment I've had for an airline since leaving the Northwest . . . Delta provided a very nice flying experience! We started with a regional jet out of Fort Wayne--a typical puddle jumper--but our second flight was on Delta itself. The plane was full but in good shape, unlike some of the planes I've flown recently with United, American and Northwest, and was designed with a wide center aisle and adequate legroom. Most amazingly, they not only provided snacks, they even let you choose from three different options: peanuts (two bags!), cheese-n-crackers, or cookies. Ah, the good old days. Oh, and the flights were on time, too. And our baggage arrived with us.

Three of our group arrived around noon into Boston and did some sightseeing while the rest of us were en route, then met us at the airport. From there, four of us jumped on a shuttle to Peabody and on to Gordon College while Roy Danielian, our new Programs Manager and men's soccer coach, and I drove to Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy to have dinner with two of our TUFW alumni. I've known about ENC for about 18 years but had never seen the place. Anyway, we had a wonderful time with our alums, Jon and Corinne Yeh, eating at a little hole-in-the-wall fish place by the water and then we hopped back in our Thrifty Rental minivan to drive the hour to Wenham ourselves.

Unfortunately, we must have missed an exit along the way and we ended up further north and we wanted to be. I thought I caught the mistake just in time and so using our little Thrifty Rental map of the Boston area, we decided to try to take back roads down to Wenham, home to Gordon College. It looked pretty straightforward. Okay . . . an hour later, we had seen Salem, Beverly (twice), Hamilton (twice), Wenham (twice) and even though we knew we had to be within spitting distance of the campus, we simply could not find Gordon. And, yes, we even asked directions. Repeatedly. Good grief! We were within ten minutes of the campus and no one had heard of the place! This school has been here for like 150 years, too! At one point, we saw a pizza place and I thought about ordering a pizza to be delivered to Gordon just so we could follow the delivery guy to campus.

Anyway, we finally made it, having missed most of the opening worship service. NACCAP is always a highlight of my year as some of my good friends are people I see only there and perhaps occasionally at other meetings. It was great to see folks again, but (as always is true) sad to find a few absent because of other obligations and a few no longer in the profession.

The conference has been very good, probably the best content-wise in all my years. The staff and I are getting a lot out of the workshops. I'm rooming with Roy (yeah, right, he never snores) and things are comfortable, other than the thin mattresses, flat pillows and stiff sheets. This photo is the view of the chapel as we walk down the hill from our dorm . . .Monday evening was the annual NACCAP Games. They tried something new this year: A scavenger hunt. There were eight to a team, much fewer than most years, which was kind of nice as we got to know people a bit more. Our eight included two from Columbia International in South Carolina, two from Azusa Pacific in California, two from Malone in Ohio and Amanda and me from TUFW.

The scavenger hunt was okay, though it lacked much "challenge" and so it basically turned into a footrace. We quickly devised a plan, though. Kevin on our team was a runner, having just finished the 5K fun run, so we gave him a cell phone and sent him on ahead to find each clue and we followed at a distance. When he found it, he would call us and we'd meet him along the way to the next clue . . .

As you can see, the rest of us took a more leisurely approach . . .

We ended up finishing out of the money, probably in fifth place, though we never found out for sure. Afterwards, the team fed me to the wolves . . .
Actually, that's a kind-of-creepy plastic/rubber wolf they put on the quad to keep critters away. I guess wolves are a real problem in this area. I'm not sure but I suspect that about 40% of the conference attendees made a point of taking a picture of this odd scarecrow (the wolf, not me).

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