Will you be recording this event? - we get this question a lot. I wanted to take a few moments to share our intentional decision to not record our events. We spent time exploring various platforms and options and ultimately determined the best path for us was not recording and here's why:
Our programs have always been application-based and interactive - therefore they tend to not be traditional webinars that record well.
ACA Illinois has a long history of application-based learning. Our speakers and events are chosen because of their intention to create dialogue, breakout conversations, hands on learning, Q&As, and other methods for adult education. We rarely host a traditional webinar where the speaker talks, everyone listens, and maybe there is a chat going on. Those webinars have value and we believe other organizations have done a wonderful job with that model. However, our evaluations over our many years have again and again favored interaction between the speaker, the learner, and their fellow attendees over lecture-based learning. This style of education doesn’t record well.
We want our learners to feel open to being vulnerable to ask hard questions, share concerns, challenge others, and try hard things.
Running camp is hard work and it got much harder this past March. Session topics and programs have been designed for our learners to tackle their most difficult challenges. We want to ensure our participants can be open and free to share what they are experiencing, questioning, challenged by, and feeling without concern that it's being recorded by ACA Illinois for further distribution.
Often we have to get uncomfortable in order to truly find solutions that are inclusive and productive to our community. We want to ensure our events are a safe place for folks to get uncomfortable and ask questions they may not be willing to ask while being recorded.
We don’t expect everyone to be able to attend all our events.
When we host an in-person event, we know not everyone will attend - and that is ok. We carry this lack of expectation over to our online model as well. I know it's hard to choose what to attend and what not to attend - that was a problem pre-pandemic and will continue after. There are so many options.
I repeat - you do not need to attend every professional development opportunity. We had many options available to camp pros around the nation before the pandemic and now that they are mostly all online - you have more options than ever before. It can also be overwhelming. You have more work and stress than ever before - so pick the ones that will help do your very best work (and hopefully fill your cup) - and leave the rest.
We encourage you to continue to carve out space for professional development.
When you attend an in-person event, you schedule it, travel to it, and are actively engaged in the learning process. When you are in-person, you make the space in your day to be actively present in the moment for the learning and exchange of ideas that are about to occur. It’s critical that we continue to make this space, even if it means doing it online.
Put it on Your Calendar: It's become a common phrase I hear “Oh, I’ll have that webinar on in the background while I continue working.” I challenge you to schedule your professional development the same way you did in-person. Put it on your calendar. Protect that time. Decline other meetings or work. Turn your “Out of the Office” settings on. If you are like me and most of the other camp pros I know - we can have the best intention to watch that webinar later but then something comes up, and something else comes up - adding more and more to your task list… avoid the trap by choosing what is most important to attend and make that happen.
So to recap:
We don’t record our events. Therefore make space on your calendar for what's important and leave the rest. Close those 1,346 tabs you have open [just a guess, not speaking from personal experience here ;) ] on your desktop and silence your phone. Be present. Ask hard questions.
And join us - we can’t wait to see in the Zoom Room! (And back in-person next year!)
Colette Marquardt is the Executive Director of the American Camp Association, Illinois.
Recapping the Famous Michael Brandwein Event: