Leading up to attending my first AFCA convention this year, I had no idea what to expect, other than I was super excited to be able to finally attend! While I had known about the wives portion of convention (AFCWA) for about five years, I was never able to go for multiple reasons...until this year!
One reason I haven’t gone was because of not being able to get away from work. But if I’m being completely honest, another reason was because my husband didn’t want me hanging around him the whole time, since the whole point of convention for him is to reconnect with old friends, make new ones through networking, and learn more about how to become a better coach. Hanging out with his wife didn’t really fit into that list of things that he considered the important parts of convention (even though he swears he loves hanging out with me ;)
Which I totally get! But I knew that I wouldn’t just be bored waiting around for him the whole time (ahem, I don’t do that at home, do I?), and I had just as many people that I wanted to connect with from social media and this blog that I knew I would have plenty to do!
I have another blog coming up that will be an argument for coaches bringing their wives to convention, so be on the lookout for that!
Since I knew I had many questions going into my first convention, I thought i would write up a blog for others, so they could be better informed going into their first convention!
What to expect:
There are two different types of wives at convention.The first group tends to keep to themselves, and may not participate in the activities offered by AFCWA. Their convention will revolve mostly around their husbands and the other wives they have met during their years in the coaching life. This way of doing convention would be very relaxing and fulfilling in getting to reconnect with their husbands and the relationships they have built from previous schools.
The second group tends to get super involved in everything convention has to offer, including the different sessions offered by AFCWA and FCA. With this being my first convention, I wanted to jump in fully to experience everything that AFCWA had to offer, so honestly, I didn’t see my husband much at all during convention! This group of wives is eager to meet new coach wives and make new connections. There are multiple sessions that AFCWA offers to help connect wives, help them feel like they are not alone, and encourage them in different ways to be an even better coach’s wife!
Whether you choose to be the first kind of wife who focuses on your
husband and your existing relationships, or the second kind of wife who
dives in to making new relationships, you are bound to have a wonderful
time with your husband and friends in a great city!
If you choose to participate in AFCWA, there are fees associated with becoming a member and attending convention. You can visit this websiteto see what all is included in that. Registering early ensures you have a lower rate, and also secures you a t-shirt! You can participate in as much or as little as you want. In regards to registering, I chose to sign up to be a member for the year, attend convention, attend the couples ice cream social, and attend the luncheon (which has an additional cost).
Also, if you are a business owner, you can sign up to be a sponsor and get to have a table that displays your products or services. There were coach-wife owned clothing businesses present, candle shops, authors with their books, a travel agent, and several booths featuring products from different multi-level marketing companies.
What to wear:
Sometimes I can get really concerned with what to wear because I don’t want to be either over-dressed or under-dressed. Maybe you are like me in that aspect, so here is a list of suggestions on what to wear for each day!
On Sunday, everyone was dressed pretty casually. It was team logo day, so many people (wives included) were representing their teams. Jeans and t-shirts are fine for this day (leggings too), or you could just wear whatever makes you feel cute! Since it was my first convention, I didn’t really know what to expect, so I just went with an outfit that helped me feel cute!
On Monday it is business casual day for AFCWA events because of the luncheon. Sometimes business casual can have a lot of interpretations, so again, I didn’t really know what to expect. There were people ranging from wearing dresses & heels to black jeans & a cute shirt. You could really dress however you wanted within that range, and you definitely wouldn’t look out of place at all!
On Tuesday we had to head back home, but in the pictures from that day wives who participated in the outings were wearing jeans, a cute top, and boots.
Sunday: My husband told me that the line for AFCA convention is always super long, so I was expecting the same for AFCWA, but honestly, there was no one else in line in front of me and it only took about one minute to get registered! Sunday was day one, and I started the weekend out by attending the New Members Welcome, and then the Divisional Breakout.
The Divisional Breakout was one of my favorite parts! They divided wives up by division, so high school, NAIA, Division II, FCS, and FBS. It was really cool to meet and connect with wives from my own division, because there are certain things that no one else can really understand unless they are in your division.
After those sessions, there was a break in the schedule until after dinner, which would be a great time to connect with other coach wives or grab dinner with your coach and his friends! On Sunday night there is a couples ice cream social, which I have heard from other wives that that is a really good place to make connections! I have heard from multiple wives that their husbands have gotten interviews and jobs from the connections made at that ice cream social! After the ice cream social is an FCA session (which I thought was really good).
Monday: Monday is a full day of convention, from sessions in the morning, to a National Championship tailgate at night. There were multiple sessions for coach wives, including panels of coach wives, panels of coach’s kids, financial planning advice, and sessions about balancing your life in this coaching life! Monday also offered a luncheon (which does have an extra cost), with a speaker and a fashion show. Many wives that don’t attend other AFCWA sessions do attend the luncheon, so if you’re wanting an opportunity to dip your toes in to see what it’s like, the luncheon is a good opportunity for that!
On Monday afternoon there is also an AFCWA business meeting, and some free time until the tailgate for the National Championship. You can also (at any time) go watch the big speakers that AFCA brings in for the coaches. I did this on Monday afternoon on a whim, and it was actually one of my favorite parts of convention! I got to listen to Coach Blake Anderson from Arkansas State and Matt Rhule from the Carolina Panthers.
Tuesday: they had an optional outing to a mansion in town. But again, we had to leave on Tuesday so I did not participate in the festivities after Monday. This outing was also an additional cost.
(next time I'm going to throw this dress in the dryer to help with the wrinkles lol)
Overall, I LOVED my experience at my first Convention! I loved all the opportunities AFCWA offered, and I'm glad I took advantage of them. There was one morning where I intended to go to sessions, but instead I grabbed coffee with one of my friends from social media- which was super special! I think that is also what AFCWA is for. It was AMAZING to get to meet some of my friends in person from social media, in addition to meeting new friends that understand the coaching lifestyle that we live. And no, I was not bored and trying to hang out with my husband the whole time like he thought I would (insert eye roll). Although I did hear from many wives that convention is their opportunity to get away with their husband and reconnect without their kids.
Overall, it was really great and I want to try to go back to every convention that I'm able to! If you've never been and are curious about going to your first convention, I hope this post gives you a good idea of what to expect! If you have other questions that I didn't address, please ask them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my ability!
More blogs to-come about my convention experience, including an argument for husbands why husbands should bring their wives to convention with them!