APA members turned out in higher-than-expected numbers for APA's 2004 Annual Convention in Honolulu. In fact, more than 12,700 registrants attended this year's convention--numbers more typical for a mainland convention and 3,000 more than the association expected.
"I was most pleased with the very large numbers of first-time attendees and the large numbers of families that were there," says Michael Haley, PhD, chair of APA's Board of Convention Affairs. In fact, Honolulu was just the sixth convention since 1970 with over 3,000 registered family members. A number of factors made the Honolulu meeting so well-attended, says Haley. For example, the convention was scheduled in late July instead of its usual August slot--meaning it was less likely to interfere with back-to-school preparations.
"We hadn't been to Hawaii for a long time," added Haley, "and it allowed for many people to make it a family vacation--to bring their families to enjoy the islands and mix psychology and the rest of our lives."
Moreover, the convention center's casual atmosphere made for a relaxed exchange of ideas in sessions, Haley says: "I saw more interaction and discussion occurring in sessions this year than ever before."
While tropical breezes, blue waters and an open-air convention center made the decision to hold the meeting in Hawaii seem like a no-brainer, APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, noted during the opening session that the location choice wasn't an easy one. Planners were unsure whether the usual number of members would make the long trip over the Pacific. He in particular noted that former APA President Pat DeLeon, PhD, and former Board of Convention Affairs Chair W. Rodney Hammond, PhD, were key supporters of bringing APA to Hawaii for the first time since 1972.
At the same session, Hawaii Psychological Association President June J.W. Ching, PhD, urged attendees not to let another 32 years go by before another Honolulu convention: "Let APA know by telling them 'Hana hou, Hawaii's the best!' Let's do it again!"
--D. SMITH BAILEY