I don’t belong to a lot of organizations. Part of it has to do with my day job. I always wonder how people are able to carve out the time. But I have made a few exceptions to my non- joiner status. One is belonging to APNA (Association of Professional Nannies Agencies). I got back from the APNA Conference in Scottsdale and was thinking about why it really was worth effort to belong to this group and to attend the conference. We in the nanny agency biz may talk to a lot of people every day –but we don’t necessarily get out that much. There is actually a fair amount of isolation in running a nanny service.
Joining APNAand it’s board has made a huge difference in my life because of the people who belong to this organization. Great people from all over the country who do what I do. We are not a huge group. Our getting together provides us with a fabulous opportunity to learn from our peers and to discuss our shared issues. While we are from all different age groups and backgrounds we have the somewhat unique common ground of owning childcare agencies. We also seem to have alot of personal traits in common. We tend to want to please. We want our clients to like us. We are upset if and when they don’t. We all like kids. We care about the quality of people taking care of children. I’d say we are an ethical group. Since we work in an unregulated industry, we have found the need to create and uphold ethical standards for self policing. Finally we all like to laugh alot. Everyone seems to have a good sense of humor. How else would we survive what we do?
It would be good for our clients to know how hard we work to make this industry professional. There are people who do run fly by night operations, and then there are the people who have opted to join APNA. You can’t just pay your dues and belong. There is a process for membership. You have to be willing to have all your paperwork/website scrutinized. No asking inappropriate/illegal questions no matter how much you might want to know the answers. All your contracts and forms are going to be reviewed. You have to conduct yourself ethically and uphold professional standards as set out by the association. When you join this organization, you make a commitment to excellence.
So belonging to APNA has enriched my life, gotten me away from desk for a few days, and has provided me with wonderful resources to help me in my professional life. Personally, I now have some terrific friends whom I would have never met. I get to hang out with them once or twice a year–usually in nice places– and I get to learn from them all year long.