We were all Newbies at one point, and we can all remember the anxiety of attending our first Nationals. Especially if you attend by yourself. I hate missing a Nationals now, but I remember driving into Delavan, WI, knowing only 1 or 2 people, and thinking I will never feel like part of this group. Ha, you can’t get rid of me now! :-)

I was thinking of ways to plan for your first trip, and for ways to jump right in. Several have already mentioned volunteering as a way to get to know people, so that is first on my list:

1. Volunteer at the National. It is a great way to get to know people.
2. Plan on attending the Rookie Orientation. It was created just for Newbies to get to know other Leo people and take some of the mystery out of
all the events.
3. Create your own LeoList Scavenger Hunt. Write down the names of your favorite LeoList posters and find out if they will be attending. If they
are, put them on your list, and make it a point to meet them face-to-face. Think of the number of people you can meet while you are on the hunt.
4. Remember we are all Leo Lovers! You can strike up a conversation with just about anyone at the show, because we all love to talk about our dogs!
5. Want to get involved with an LCA committee, the LHF, or any of the rescue organizations? Find out who will be attending from each of the
organizations, and search them out. Contact information for almost everyone serving on a committee or for one of the charitable organizations
is listed in the LeoLetter.                        Teresa Schlaffer
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Many of us coming have one human & multiple dogs. :)
Another great way to get involved or to help if you are not bringing a dog is to help a human traveling with more than one dog. It is another great way to put names with faces & meet the dogs behind the stories.  Really looking forward to nationals this year!   Tiffanie Guibord
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I agree that volunteering is the best way to get acclimated to the National experience. Of all the volunteer positions available, the best one for a rookie is most definitely registration. You’ll be checking people in and giving them their tote bags and merchandise and, in so doing, you’ll learn the names of all the people who are registering undoubtedly meeting some ‘List friends that you’ve never met face to face. We’re all wearing name tags and the new folks will have a special colored badge identifying them as a first time attendee. We’re doing everything we can to make that somewhat stressful first show be as enjoyable as it possibly can be. I can most definitely tell you there’s no reason to be apprehensive. We’ve all been there at one time or another.             Don James
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Although I previously had a couple of pure bred dogs, I certainly never imagined that I would go out of town for a dog show. My husband and I decided to go to the Estes Park Specialty on a whim and LOVED it! We were immediately taken in by fellow Leo lovers. I can remember a few things that we were doing which were no nos at a dog show. Instead of people being critical of us, they would educate and guide. We were all the Newbie once.
I would definitely recommend volunteering. It doesn’t have to take up much of your time and it’s an easy way to meet people. The Rookie Orientation is great if you don’t want to make the mistakes that I made. 😉 If you don’t get there early enough for that, never fear. People will take you under their wing and you will find yourself with a new set of friends.
Connie Kent
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I too went to my first Nationals solo ( no dogs no humans!) even though I had been on the leolist and an LCA member I sort of “knew” some folks but not really. Never for a moment at the Nationals did I feel left out :) I met face to face so many folks I had chatted with and met lots of new friends ( 2 and 4 legged!). Everyone was so helpful explaining how the judging worked etc it was a lot of fun an very educational too!
YES INDEED volunteer! Jump right in there it is the best seat in the house LOL & it takes many volunteers to make the show run smoothly!                Donna Porter
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I went without Misha and CC to the one in Sacramento, CA in 2010. I almost did not go, but thank goodness I was encouraged to fly out and have fun. It was a blast. I was able to volunteer for lots of activities and I took so many pictures. It is so much easier to take a picture when you don’t have a Leo attached to your arm. I cuddled puppies and behaved like a groupie. It was great. If you can find the time to go and you have never been to a Specialty, I cannot encourage you enough. It is an amazing adventure to be in a hotel with 100+ Leonbergers.         Audrey Davis
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Turns out, it’s all about people and their Leos. What could be better? Anway, I’m sure I am not the only one who can attest that the relationships built at the national can be quite special.  You never know. If you’re not careful you may suddently find yourself with Leo friends all over the country, if not the world.

If you think you might want to come, but your not sure, feel free to contact us and we’ll answer as many questions as we can. Then you can
decide for yourself (But you really should come!).                   Glen Ferguson
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Where have we been?
1986 – Ontario, CA
1987 – Elgin, IL
1988 – Seattle, WA
1989 – Phoenix, AZ
1990 – Baltimore, MD
1991 – Los Angeles, CA
1992 – Elgin, IL
1993 – Albuquerque, NM
1994 – Redmond, WA
1995 – Cleveland, OH
1996 – Gloucester, MA
1997 – Monterey, CA
1998 – Estes Park, CO
1999 – Monticello, NY
2000 -Seaside, OR
2001 – Delevan, WI
2002 – Williamsburg, VA
2003 – Healdsburg, CA
2004 – Cleveland, OH
2005 – Austin TX
2006 – Coeur d’ Alene, ID
2007 – Asheville NC
2008 – Estes Park, CO
2009 – Oconomowoc, WI
2010 – Sacramento, CA
2011 – Warwick, RI
2012 – Oconomowoc, WI
2013 – Vancouver, WA

and where are we going?
2014 – Burlington, VT
2015 – Frankenmuth, MI