Dear Mid States Friends & Family,
Since we shared the news in December regarding the cancellation of the Mid States and the Executive Seminar for 2020 due to the venue abruptly closing, our team took this setback as an opportunity to continue to evaluate and plan for our organization’s future.
As a nonprofit dedicated to providing development opportunities for camp professionals, we are continually monitoring industry trends and seeking new models to meet our members’ growing needs. We pride ourselves on listening to our members at all times, whether through program evaluations or one-on-one engagement in person at events or through our many online channels. We recognize our industry is an ever-changing landscape and the challenges of keeping current and timely, which is why last spring we formed a taskforce of board members and senior leadership to assess needs and plan strategically on behalf of our organization.
With this combined input, for the future organizational health of the American Camp Association, Illinois, we are stepping back from our role in planning the annual conference moving forward. Know we did not come to this decision lightly. Our primary responsibility is and always has been to our members, and funds that were allocated to the conference will continue to focus on the professional development of the nearly 400 individuals and member camps who compose our organization as well as others outside ACA Illinois who wish to participate. We are working with ACA National to explore models of collaboration to continue to deliver high quality professional development. As this dialogue continues, we will keep you updated and informed.
Currently, we at ACA Illinois offer more than 80 separate events, courses, trainings and networking opportunities. Over the last two years, we have piloted new models for professional development through our Women in Camp Summit and Brandwein Seminar for Dynamic Camp Leadership. We hope to offer even more retreat-style courses, virtual and shorter part- to full-day events. Additionally, we plan to deepen relationships with legislators and state and local government, allowing our field to be at the forefront of Illinois legislation impacting camps. And, we’ll be more available to members to assist them in navigating Accreditation, improving their camps, advancing their careers and serving as a true partner in their success.
It has been a tremendous honor for our team of four, along with dozens of volunteers, to contribute to the success of the conference for nearly the past decade. Together we have helped host 100 speakers annually, 75+ onsite volunteers, countless exhibitors and sponsors, and more than 20,000 attendees over the course of the conference's 27 year history.
Once again, thank you, our cherished community, for your continued support. I am grateful to you all and our partnership in enriching lives and changing the world.
Colette M. Marquardt
American Camp Association, Illinois
Please read an important update from Colette, our Executive Director about the status of our new hotel search and the 2020 conference.
Dear Mid States Friends & Family,
I regret to share that due to Pheasant Run closing and space not being available in the area for our size and budget, we will be canceling Mid States and the Executive Seminar for 2020.
This decision was not made lightly and came after several weeks of multiple folks working to find alternative solutions. Unfortunately, due to the timing of the notice of Pheasant Run closing in relation to our event dates - we simply could not find a space that met our needs.
While we aren’t able to host Mid States this year, we are already working on planning Mid States 2021 and look forward to sharing updates with you in late spring.
But wait! We have new programming for you and invite you to join us! Once we came to the decision that Mid States 2020 and the Executive Seminar weren’t viable this year, we set on a path to lay the groundwork for alternative programming options. Click here to see our full calendar and read below to discover what we are offering this spring!
I am very excited to share that, while it will be in a smaller space, we will still welcome Lee Cockerell, Amy Gallo, Sunni Brown, and Brad Montague this spring in our new “Fasterclass Series” located in Chicago. Register early because space is extremely limited.
If you have already registered for Mid States or the Executive Seminar, you will receive a phone call from our staff after the New Year to discuss the process for refunds and/or changing your registration to one of our new events.
Lastly, I want to extend deep appreciation for all the hard work that went into planning Mid States and Executive Seminar 2020. The foundation for planning these events was laid well over a year ago and with each passing month, countless volunteers and staff worked to bring this program to reality. Our fearless leader and conference chair, Gordie Kaplan, along with the Conference Leadership team including: Gwyneth Emigh, Jackie Folak, Sam Thompson, Shauna Guglielmo, Michael Brandwein, Weston Outlaw, Shena Willbrandt - have already put in many hours of thinking and planning. So many others have stepped up over the last few months and were ready to run with planning programs after the New Year. And our staff… Kim, Allie, and Stacy have poured hours of discussions and planning every detail to get us to this point - without them, I’d still be sitting in my office with a large flip chart, a lot of post it notes, and a dream. All these people make the camp world better and I am so grateful to work with them.
I also want to thank you, our cherished community. Thank you for the outpouring support over these last several weeks as we navigated this “problem.” While the outcome is not what I had hoped, I am confident that together we can still learn together, grow together, and change the world together.
Colette M. Marquardt
American Camp Association, Illinois
Ask your supervisor and colleagues about what you do well!
Who else would know what you are most skilled at better than your supervisor and coworkers? These folks are going to be able to point out what you do well and what they look to you as the expert on. Some solid prompting questions can help you collect concrete topic ideas for your proposal. Examples include:
Ask yourself: what brings you joy?
The most effective and favorite speakers we have often are presenting on topics that they have deep passion and joy for. Presenting at conferences should be challenging and fun for you, the speaker. Pick topics that interest you. You’ll shine more and the audience will appreciate your presentation if it’s something you find interesting to share. (This means if your boss tells you that you are very good at budgets but you find zero joy or have zero interest in the subject matter - find another topic.)
What do you wish you would have known more about?
Our attendees love to hear from speakers who developed their craft through trial and error. What task or skill did you have to work hard to achieve your goals? What did you learn along the way - both positive and negative? What do you wish you had known prior to going into a project or task? Often our best presentations come from a place of exploration, innovation, and problem-solving.
Just start writing!
If you want to present, just take the first step! Then, each step will come after another and before you know it- you'll have a proposal! Here are some suggestions of things to consider when submitting a proposal for Mid States:
Still want to present at Mid States but need more help? Give us a call at 312-343-1070 x3 or x1 or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where did the Day Camp Conference go?: FAQs from September 2019
We have been hard at work rolling out exciting news regarding our spring conference events. As we continue to share more (and yes, there will be more news coming soon!) we wanted to share with you some answers to many inquiring questions from our excited community!
Q: Are you still doing the Day Camp Conference?
A: Last year we took a demographic survey of our attendees and learned some very energizing news. One of the highlights from that data collection was that close to 60% of the attendees are from and work with day camps. In previous years this number was much lower, but over the last ten years, we’ve worked hard to bring day camp-relevant content to our program. Because so many of our conference attendees work at or own day camps now, we examined whether a separate event was still relevant when the Mid States Camp Conference was offering many day camp sessions. Each year we find more Day Camp Conference attendees leaving the Day Camp Conference to attend sessions and events with Mid States. Our goal is to help our camp community operate great camps that change the world, so we continually reevaluate our program based on the data. This year, we will merge even more day camp content into the Mid States Camp Conference, while creating space and resources to tackle hot topics needs in the Executive Seminar (which will relate to all types of camps and organizations, day and overnight!)
So the answer is no, but it's also yes. It’s no, we are not offering the Day Camp Conference as a stand-alone event this year. However, the answer is also yes because our Mid States Camp Conference will be offering many sessions, speakers, and events geared towards our day camp professionals.
Q: Will you have more day camp focused sessions in Mid States since you aren’t hosting the Day Camp Conference?
A: Yes! Each year we increase our day camp content. We are seeking education session speakers who can bring knowledge, innovations, ideas, and solutions for our day camp professionals. Learn more about submitting a session proposal at acail.org/callforspeakers.
Q: Is space really limited at the Executive Seminar?
A: Yes, space is limited because the seating inside is limited. Due to the other events and programs happening at Pheasant Run and with Mid States, we won't be able to move the Executive Seminar to a different space if we exceed our capacity. This is why we encourage anyone interested in the Executive Seminar to register early. We anticipate this event to sell out early based on the feedback & registration trends we’ve already seen.
Q: Is the Executive Seminar part of Mid States?
A: We view and are planning the Executive Seminar to operate and run alongside the Mid States Camp Conference, however it is a separate event. While a few speakers may overlap, the content provided by the speakers will differ greatly between the two events. There will also be a line up of speakers only available at Mid States and some speakers only available at the Executive Seminar. We encourage our community members to review the speakers, program, and schedules to determine which is best for them. For most of our attendees, we feel that the combo options of a Mid States and Executive Seminar registration will offer the most well rounded professional development opportunities for today’s director, executive, and aspiring professional. Call us at the office if you have more questions or would like to talk through which event is best for your needs.
Q: I want to be involved!
A: We know that isn’t exactly a question, but it's a common statement we hear. We are currently seeking committee members to help us plan our socials, career development events, increase our community-building initiatives, and work with our speakers to help them prepare. If you are interested, you can learn more at acail.org/volunteer.
Q: Is this keynote line up for real?
A: Yes, it's very real. We are just as excited as our community to welcome content experts from Disney, the Harvard Business Review, YouTube, and more to Mid States and the Executive Seminar! Learn more today at acail.org/midstates and acail.org/executiveseminar.
We interviewed Michael about the 2019 Brandwein Super Seminar for Dynamic Camp Leadership
What will participants learn at this Seminar?
People who have been in my sessions know that I am a “skills guy.” I don’t like sitting in things where people tell us what we should do but don’t explain HOW to do it. That drives me crazy. So this Seminar is a How to Do It experience. No theory. No collections of the “usual stuff” that people already know. Instead, we emphasize new and exciting techniques that participants won’t get anywhere else. This is all about learning, practicing, and taking home specific things we can use to do the following (and even more…):
How is this different than a session you present at a conference?
I enjoy speaking to large groups at Conferences, but I really love a small group Seminar experience because it has so many wonderful, extra benefits. When we have a small Seminar group of about 20 motivated learners:
What’s it like to be at the Seminar?
We have fun, we play, we learn by doing, we practice specific techniques and skills in supportive partner and group experiences, we get to ask any questions that will help us apply all of this to our own program, and get an instant group of camp professional friends and colleagues who we can continue to use as resources. I believe a camp Seminar experience should be a model of what we want to achieve when training staff. So these are my “rules” when designing a Seminar: