National Conference Underway in San Francisco

michelle obama at the 2009 national conference on volunteering and serviceI’m writing this from the conference floor at Moscone West conference center in San Francisco, where the first day of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service is just wrapped up. More than 5,000 volunteer managers, nonprofit professionals, business leaders, and activists have poured in.

The big news here this week, of course, was the announcement that today’s keynote for the General Session was to be delivered by The First Lady of the United States. That news, plus the dawn this morning of a spectacular sunny Bay Area day, speeches by Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwartzenegger, a performance by Jon Bon Joni, and other inspiring stuff really dialing up the vibe to a level that is already noticeably greater than in recent years.

This is the most anticipated National Conference on Volunteering and Service in years. The President’s call to service, the Serve America Act, the growing awareness of civic-engagement solutions for the many problems in our commmunities, and the focused involvement and innovation of legions in the nonprofit and business community are gelling into an authentic national service movement.

As this movement grows in coming years, the panels, workshops, and community-building activities at this week’s conference will help guide and inspire its evolution.

Look for some live and live-ish updates throughout the next few days from the VolunteerMatch team both here at the Engaging Volunteers blog and on Twitter, where Victora Pacchiana will be reporting from @VMConnect.