I have spent the last two days surrounded by social workers. That isn't as scary as it might sound. I was invited to attend the Leadership Retreat for the National Association of Social Workers Arizona chapter in Phoenix. As a new member of the chapter, they wanted my perspective. As I am not exactly quiet in such settings, I'm not sure they got what they wanted :-)
If you've never attended a state association retreat of some kind, they all have some similarities - at least in my neck of the woods (desert - whatever). They all struggle with the urban/rural representation issue because so much of our state's population is centered in a couple of large population centers. Phoenix pretty much controls things with Tucson a close second. But the majority of the land in Arizona is outside the metropolitan area. The other big issue across the board is member recruitment and retention. Like workplaces, clubs and other formal sorts of organizations, a lot of professional associations are aging out (that means the boomers are getting old).
I don't know that we came up with anything all that new as far as ideas, but it was a great opportunity to talk with other people who share my professional values and interests. I've gotten much braver as I've gotten older about going off to things like this where I don't know a soul, and having a great time. I met some wonderful people and even made a few connections that may be good resources for the new businesses.
On the way back I took some pictures for you of the Arizona desert and the drive along the river my last half hour before home.
This is the view for most of the 3 1/2 hours between Phoenix and Lake Havasu City. There are occasional mountains in the distance to break up the monotony a little, but mostly a lot of big nothing. I like it, but some people find it too vast to feel comfortable.
Once one passes through Parker (about 35 minutes south of us), the drive along the river begins. It can be spectacular, particularly early in the morning or right as the sun is setting. I wasn't willing to wait around on the side of the road for the sun to go down, so you'll have to imagine it.
Right before the bridge where I cross the Bill Williams River. This is one small piece of the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge. The green you see is cattail marsh which is very lush right now and harbors a lot of wildlife. Two years ago a tanker truck crashed on the bridge and set fire to the marsh but it has recovered quite well.
The mountains begin to fade in to the distance as the sun gets lower. This is my last good view of the river until I reach home and the lake (which you can see from much of the town). Not a bad way to end the day.