Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orlando, EAPA, Disney and Kennedy Space Center: A contrast of experiences

I just got back from spending a week in Orlando; quite the contrast in experiences.  First I was there for the EAPA (Employee Assistance Professionals Association) World Conference.  Amazing Conference, in part because they have speakers from around the world and I love the Employee Assistance World.  It rained every day during the conference, probably a good thing because there was no reason to be tempted to hang out by the pool.  For personal health reasons I wasn’t able to attend the last evening experience, to volunteer at the “Give the Children the World” Village.  I’m guessing that would have been life-changing. 

After the conference was over, I polled friends and family and my husband and I decided to go to Epcot Center.  We opted to take the hotel bus, to avoid walking so far before we got in and to save the $17 in parking.  I thought $220 for admission was enough to give Disney before we ever got in.  It was still a very long walk from where the bus let us off and where we had to return to get back on the bus.  At the end of the day, I had a good time and bought some interesting items in the Italian, French, German and Canadian stores.  I was disappointed that many of those stores and a HUGE amount of Disney items were made in China.  I avoided those as much as possible.   We took a couple of boat tours and saw a couple of interesting short films (still don’t know why they make you stand up to watch these, though).

What I did not like:  the decadence: the high price to get in, the lack of anyone inside or outside the gate to greet you, to hand you a brochure, to tell you where everything is.  I felt let down.  Sorta like “we have your money now we don’t really care."  Once further inside there were some very nice and very helpful people, but it is a bit overwhelming when you first enter. 

I did not like the crowds.  I did not like the insanely high price you paid for anything to eat or drink.  I did not like seeing so many children who didn’t seem to be having a good time because they were being dragged around, seemingly beyond their tolerance level, probably because their parents wanted to get their money’s worth before leaving the park.  

I did not like the lack of signage.  I’m sure there were some very cool exhibits that we missed simply because we couldn’t figure out what was there and just decided to move on because we were getting weary of the walking and the crowds.
Next day we decided to go to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  What a difference.  From the people who re-directed us to go to another line, where there wasn’t as long a wait, to the people whom we bought tickets from and gave us maps and explained everything to us, to the lady at the food window who offered that I could buy the child’s meal if I wanted to; everybody was nicer, calmer, proud of what they were doing and where they were. 

The music playing caused me to have a sense of pride and awe.  I loved the I MAX movie about the space station and all the cooperation between countries to get it done.  (Wouldn’t it be nice if we could cooperate like that on everything?)  I loved the fact that it seemed as though I could reach out and touch the controls on the space station when I was watching in 3D. I loved seeing space through the Hubble Telescope's Eyes (another I MAX 3D movie we saw while there).

I love the fact that the visitor’s center is self-sustaining.  It was exciting and refreshing to see the “rocket garden” and see how far we’ve come in the space program.  

We loved getting our picture taken with the ‘astronaut’.  I have no idea who was in that space suit and I really don’t care.  It was a fun and exciting day and it made me wish I had not spent any money at Disney and had spent another day exploring the rest of what there was to offer at the Kennedy Space Visitor's Center.   I think it a shame how many families come to the Orlando area and how few take their children to something so historic and magnificent.  But to steal from Dennis Miller, “That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong.” 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are Credentials Important?

Are credentials not important anymore?  I recently was doing some research for a presentation and came across an article that made some interesting points.  As I have learned to do with articles I find online I probed further to find the background of the person writing the article.  It seems her only credentials were that she had written other articles.  Not to belittle the research that a writer does, but do we no longer care if someone is educated on a particular topic? 

While I have been interested in essential oils and what they will/can do for people; when I started to recommend them professionally and sell them in our retail store, I took some courses and got certified in Aromatherapy.  Just a certificate, but I did the work. 

When I decided I wanted to help people who were having emotional issues related to their handling of money and vice versa, I took some courses and got certified as a Credit Counselor.  That way, I felt more comfortable in combining my mental health/substance abuse counseling with budgeting and looking at what my client’s relationship with money has been. 

Since I have begun working as an Employee Assistance Professional, I have taken webinars, gone to conferences and begun the process of becoming a Certified Employee Assistance Professional.  My mental health/substance abuse licenses would have sufficed, but if this is what I will be doing full-time, I want to be well-armed with knowledge. 

If I write, advise, suggest something from my “hobby” world, i.e. cooking, making jewelry, growing herbs, I make the disclaimer that I do that as a hobby.  Anything else I write about, present about, I make sure I have proper education, knowledge, license, certification to do so.  But that’s just me.  If you want to get your information from someone who sells the product, wrote an article, without doing their homework, that’s up to you.