I spent last weekend in Phoenix, Arizona with 814 other women of Kappa Alpha Theta at our bi-annual Grand Convention. We spent three jam-packed days immersed in all things Theta. Along with six other women from Beta Kappa as well as our two chapter co-advisors, I traveled from the muggy Midwest to 100+ degree "dry" heat.
After a long morning of travel, we spent a few quick hours by the pool on Thursday afternoon and then made our way to the conference center to shop around at the Theta Marketplace and meet some members of Theta's Grand Council. We were fortunate enough to meet a 91-year-old volunteer from the Phoenix Alumnae Chapter who was initiated at Beta Kappa at Drake nearly 75 years ago. It was almost overwhelming to know that she once lived in the very same house I live in today and she once attended classes on the same campus I walk around each day during the school year.
Friday and Saturday marked the only two official days of Grand Convention and they were full of business meetings, educational breakout sessions, and many speakers including Brooke Johnson, former President of the Food Network and member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Each evening we attended a formal dinner accompanied by some type of program. On Friday night we celebrated the achievements of the numerous collegiate chapters and many alumnae chapters and groups. The women of Beta Kappa were awarded two prestigious awards during the night: Excellence in Service and Philanthropy and a Golden Kite Award. Beta Kappa's commitment to service and philanthropy is displayed by our dedication to supporting CASA each fall with a late-night pancake dinner fundraiser and smaller awareness events throughout the year. A small handful of collegiate members have gone above and beyond and become trained CASA volunteers and have become certifies advocates for local abused and neglected kids. The Golden Kite Award was awarded to only 15 of the 147 collegiate chapters across the nation. Every single member of Beta Kappa puts in a lot of energy and effort to making our chapter the best it can be, as well as one of the top chapters of the entire fraternity.
On Saturday night we ended the convention weekend with a formal banquet and dinner. Each member is seated with other women of the chapter of which she was initiated. So, the Beta Kappa table seated current and alumnae members who were initiated at the Drake chapter. This was my favorite night of the weekend because I sat surrounded by women who once lived in the same house as I do now, walked the same way to class, and also indulged in Snookie's ice cream which is just a short walk from the Theta house and a frequent weekend destination for Beta Kappa women. It was truly like sitting down to dinner with family. Even though they were complete strangers and at different stages of life than me, it was amazing to witness the bonds of Theta and the legacy of Beta Kappa.
If I had to choose one take-away from my time at Grand Convention, it would be that I've now witnessed first-hand that no matter where I am in life, where I live, or how old I am, I will always have Theta's support and unending love.