29 Things To Do In Chigago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service

Feb 29, 2012

In honor of Leap Year, today we are highlighting 29 things to do while you are in Chicago for the 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, June 18-20.

  1. Create new ideas for service with old friends, colleagues and new contacts who believe in the power of people to create change.
  2. Explore Chicago’s lush Millennium Park, home to the famous Cloud Gate or “Bean” sculpture and the Crown Fountain that spouts water from its digital faces.
  3. Hear about first lady Barbara Bush’s personal commitment to service and how she is encouraging multi-generational service leaders and social commitments.
  4. Deep dish pizza – need I say more?
  5. Tour the exhibit hall and meet 80 vendors from nonprofit, government, corporate and merchandising sectors as they demonstrate the impact and results of their programs and services.
  6. Roar with the lions at one of the nation’s last free zoos. Offering an unforgettable wildlife experience amid a stunning skyline, the Lincoln Park Zoo is open to the public for free every day of the year.
  7. Join our first-ever Solution Centers for a casual conversation with experts in various issue areas. Experts include: the Corporation for National and Community Service, Team Rubicon and University of Phoenix.
  8. Meet one of the 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector, California Association of Nonprofits’ Executive Director Jan Masaoka.
  9. Check out one of the workshops offered in the Youth Leadership track to see what the kids (and those who work with them) are doing these days.
  10. Tour McCormick Place West (your Conference convention center) to see one of the largest collections of public artwork in Illinois. The breath-taking displays feature paintings, sculptures murals and more.
  11. Tweet with hashtag #NCVS and let people know what you’ve experienced.
  12. Walk down the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue with world-class shopping, dining and architecture. Bring your walking shoes and your wallet!
  13. Party at the Welcome to Chicago Celebration featuring mini-service events, sponsor booths, activities, regional bands and famous Chicago cuisine.
  14. Check out the News Desk outside the exhibit hall on the third floor of the convention center for the daily newsletter, the latest Conference hot topics, media interviews and more.
  15. Hear from former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey about how a lifetime of service – both military and community – influenced his viewpoints on leadership, vision, organizational culture and leading transformational change.
  16. Ford the Chicago River by boat tour and explore the city’s architectural wonders on the only river in the world that flows backwards. The reversal of the Chicago River was a massive public works effort that saved the Chicago region from waterborne diseases in the early 1900s.
  17. Volunteer at the Conference. It’s what we do!
  18. Visit the tallest building in North America – the Willis Tower – and step out onto the Ledge, a suspended glass box at Skydeck Chicago that is more than 1,000 feet in the sky.
  19. Participate in the Sunday Supper, an opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds to come together to share a meal, discuss the challenges our nation faces and take action.
  20. Meet up with Lil Sis, have dinner, convince her to move home. Wait … This isn’t my personal to-do list.
  21. Share your Turning Point story to inspire others to find their passion.
  22. Check out a Civic Fellows session, intimate dialogues with sector leaders like Susan Ellis, Michael Carter, Isabel Wilkerson.
  23. Experience our nation’s leader singing “Sweet Home Chicago” or check out the local music scene whether your genre is jazz, blues or eclectic festivals.
  24. Hone your professional speaking skills to make better pitches to funders, improve your presentations and feel more comfortable in the limelight. Be sure to check out session 2299, Professional Speaking Training with Bill Hoogterp.
  25. Watch the fireworks, visit the beer garden and ride the ferris wheel (not necessarily in that order) at the Navy Pier.
  26. Meet the wonderful staff from the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau on the first floor of the convention center. They have everything you need to plan meals, outings, transportation and anything else you can’t even think of to make this your best trip to Chicago ever.
  27. Join a conversation about innovative thinking, entrepreneurship and leading change with Brad Keywell, Lightbank and Groupon co-founder.
  28. Upload your Conference photos to NCVS on Flickr.
  29. Relax, have fun, meet some new people and go home re-energized for your community!