By Capt. Matt Lucht, 184th IW Chief of Public Affairs
With the banging of a gavel, Maj. Jason Inskeep, president of the National Guard Association of Kansas, officially opened the 2017 Joint Conference. This year’s conference was hosted April 29 and 30 by the 184th Intelligence Wing with the theme of building partnerships for our future.
“It is truly a joint conference to allow all of these associations [National Guard Association of Kansas, Enlisted Association of National Guard of Kansas and Kansas National Guard Family Programs] to put on a quality event for its members, who are all members of the Guard, and families,” said Inskeep. “It is a time to come together and network with peers, get some professional development and participate in social activities.”
Planning a large scale joint conference doesn’t happen overnight, but Capt. Keith Marshall, chairman of the 2017 Joint Conference committee, started organizing months in advance with the help of approximately 70 members meeting at least monthly. Each host unit tries to make the conference experience better than the previous year. New this year was the President’s Cup.
“We wanted to bring in some fun and competition into it and build some esprit de corps,” said Marshall. “In the military, we are all competitive, so this year we introduced the President’s Cup. So all throughout the weekend, people who attended or participated in events score points for their units. At the banquet, we award the top overall unit for the conference.”
Even though the conference business sessions were focused around military subjects, organizers also wanted to include families. Spouses and children were welcomed to participate in several activities such as a 5K fun run, zoo visit, spouse spa day and the awards banquet.
“I don’t think that we can be successful in our military career without our families,” said Col. David Weishaar, 184th Intelligence Wing commander. “The partnership starts at home and if you don’t have a great partnership there, in my mind, you won’t be successful.”
As the gavel struck to close the 2017 Joint Conference, Weishaar acknowledged the amount of work it took to host the event, but was happy to see all the participants come and enjoy their time in Wichita.
“I feel very fortunate to be the wing commander and this conference is a tremendous amount of work,” said Weishaar. “People spend a lot of personal time putting this together and there is no way that I can thank them enough for what they have done. I think they will make us, the 184th, and the city of Wichita look great.”