OWAC holds two conferences each year - one in the spring and one in the fall - where Regular and Supporting members gather for three days of professional development, business meetings, networking, outdoor recreation and learning about the host region. Conferences are sited in some of California's most exciting destinations for outdoor adventure and typically hosted by local destination marketing organizations.
Regular member registration is just $110, which covers two nights lodging, six meals, a full day of guided outdoor fun and all programs. Supporting Members and spouses and guests of Regular Members pay $160 each.
Spring Conferences, typically larger than fall conferences, are highlighted by OWAC's Annual Awards Banquet, honoring the achievements of our best communicators. Fall Conferences focus more on professional development and material gathering. OWAC's Californian of the Year is also honored at the fall conference.
Conferences begin on Sunday morning with board and general membership meetings, a mini-trade show for Supporting Members and a welcome luncheon. Sunday afternoon is occupied by professional development sessions and a Newsmaker session — a talk by one or more key players in California's outdoors. The Awards Banquet (spring) or Californian of the Year Banquet (fall) is held Sunday night.
On Monday morning, Regular and Supporting Members split up for a wide variety of outdoor activities. The host organization offers attendees their choice of 10 or more mini-familiarization trips aimed at generating material for stories. Options frequently include fishing, shooting, wildlife watching, agri tours, paddling, biking, climbing, horseback riding, off-roading, nature hikes and photo tours.
Monday evening, members reconvene at an outdoor barbecue dinner to meet members of the host community, particularly activity leaders they may not have met earlier in the day. It's a chance for communicators to round out stories with important background information and to collect contact information for follow-ups and return visits.
Tuesday morning's farewell breakfast ends the conference — at least for members not signed up for post-conference familiarization trips. Hosts typically offer attendees a variety of free or discounted one-half to three-day outings before and after conferences.