will you be recording this event?
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.
When ACA Illinois was challenged to rethink our professional development outside of an in person experience many ideas came to mind. We set our sights on providing great content to support camp pros as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis, but we also wanted to provide some professional development to help our community grow regardless of pandemic status.
We collaborated with Michael Brandwein this spring with 2 different skill building trainings. The first was The Brandwein Step-by-Step System for Planning & Presenting Your Best Staff Training Ever,. The second was Brandwein’s Super Staff SuperVision: The Top Techniques to Lead and Coach Camp Staff to Professional Performance. Michael’s Super Staff SuperVision has been a very popular part of the Mid States Camp Conference Skills Lab for several years, so when we took to the drawing board regarding professional development we knew that Super Staff SuperVision was a must.
Michael spent two action packed afternoons teaching management skills to 80+ new managers all from the safety of their homes. Michael shared with attendees his 6 Paths, which are the six essential things Leadership Team members must do every day when “walking around,” and how to get them done brilliantly. He helped attendees identify the exact behaviors the best staff use, and then talked through ways to motivate and coach staff to do them in a responsible and professional way. He shared techniques on handling tough staff behavior with calmness and confidence. We are excited to grow better managers so that camps can serve more campers, have better retention, and increase program creativity to stand out from the rest.
Here is some feedback from attendees:
“It was evident that I was not only learning from a fellow leader in the camp community, but an expert on working with a team, goal driven mentality.”
“This program made me think deeply about my interactions with campers, and how I can intentionally uplift their experience. It was super helpful and I learned a lot.”
“This event opened my eyes and made me think more deeply as to why I work where I work, and gave me more tools to continue to grow in position.”
We are always grateful for our partnership with Michael Brandwein and the terrific training he provides our membership and camp community. Continue to check our eblast, ACA IlliNOISE, and our website, acail.org/calendar, for more training and professional development.
We can't wait to have you #joinus next time!
Membership & Program Services Director
American Camp Association, Illinois
We have been energized by the engagement around our most active and important membership support program, our daily Drop-Ins. Each day for about an hour, we spend time with our membership unpacking all things surrounding the Coronavirus and its impact on our community. Recently, I asked Cheryle Yallen to Zoom with me and share a little about her experience with the Drop-Ins. Cheryle is the Executive Director of One in a Hundred and has been an ACA Illinois member since 2012.
Membership & Program Services Director
American Camp Association, Illinois
An Interview with Cheryle Yallen, ACA Illinois' Most Frequent Drop-In Participant!
Kim Steiner: What drew you to the drop-ins?
Cheryle Yallen: The nerves, stress, and desperate need for information and needed support.
Kim: Which drop-ins did you engage with?
Cheryle: I had four a week! I was very active from the very beginning in the executive director drop in and was really involved in another one on Thursday mornings as well. I started with those two and the moment you opened up the day camp and the special needs, I joined those. Then when we started to make the serious decision to go virtual, I joined that one as well. I basically was on 4 a week.
Kim: Were the drop-ins a beneficial resource for you? Why?
Cheryle: Absolutely, without question. Even though it was time consuming, it was what I needed. I had all the confidence in the world that you guys had the most up to date information, so it also saved me time googling and searching for information. It was also beneficial to connect with other camp people, and although other attendees were from overnight camps or park districts, which I can't necessarily relate to, it was still being with other camp people. I always walked away with something, it almost became my quiet contemplation time, where my only focus was camp. It was also beneficial because I had a support group. Friends and people close to me listened to what I am going through, but at the same time they don't understand the industry. So I had that comfort level in these Drop-Ins that people understood me. It was just a wonderful support system and exactly what I needed. I wanted to explore every option so I was making an informed decision about camp. It was out of those conversations that would trigger thoughts or ideas or considerations that had not even occurred to me.
There was one meeting where Colette was reminding everyone to make sure you have what we were talking about reviewed with the lawyer. I was all set, but it was those continuous reminders that we need to check with our internal resources throughout this crisis. I was delighted when you introduced this and enjoyed the face to face.
Kim: What would you say to camp professionals considering attending?
Cheryle: Absolutely do it. Because of 3 things. One, the information you are getting, and it’s good information that you can rely on, because you need to be able to rely on something. Two, the ideas. Even if your camp is totally unlike any other camp there you will always walk away with something you haven't thought of; not always earth shattering, but something you had not thought of. Three, the support, and being with like type people. It didn’t matter that they were all over the states - we all had the same issues. I would basically say go. For the most part attending these events worked out well and I would recommend attending more than once, because each time is different, and it's also just comfortable.
We continue to provide these Drop-In meetings as a resource for camp professionals, and we hope that you join us! We will continue to adjust our programming to accommodate the changing needs of our community, so keep an eye out for our emails and website updates.
You can learn more about our Drop-ins at acail.org/dropins
It’s 2020 and, like all of you, we are adapting and changing to take care of our people.
The 2020 Women in Camp Summit is going virtual.
Our primary concern has always been the well-being of our camp community. After thoughtful consideration, many discussions, the mulling over of all your survey results, and looking at all the possible outcomes, we have made the decision to hold our Women in Camp Summit 2020 online.
Why did we choose to move to an online program for 2020?
First and foremost, we believe in the coming together of women camp pros, the space to share and nurture our creative selves, and the importance of professional development.
We did not make this decision lightly. Instead, we took the time to really think it through, to survey our participants (and thank you so very much for all your answers), and to make certain we do what’s in the best interest of our people. After all of your responses, we are anticipating that the economic impact to our camps might be a barrier to folks being able to travel to the Summit in December. And we would hate for any of you to have to miss it!
By making our decision now, we are allowing ourselves time to plan with great intention. And this way, even more women can participate - a real global sisterhood!
Why did we make this determination so early? The summit is in December.
Conferences like this one require contracts with hotels for sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, and food. As we were finishing up contract negotiations for this event, we were in a place to be able to make this decision with everyone’s financial feasibility in mind.
Making the decision now also allows us more time to plan and execute these new ideas to the best of our ability.
Does this mean ACA Illinois has information about travel restrictions that they haven’t shared?
No. This decision was based on the survey responses we received from our community and their concerns about finances and travel expenses at the time of the Summit.
Does this mean the Women in Camp Summit will be online forever?
We continue to be adaptive and innovative with how we deliver our programming. Each year, we work hard to be intentional about meeting the needs of our people. Our hope is to gather together in person in 2021 but we are also open to whatever the new lessons this current situation is teaching us.
What will be the cost?
As we will not be responsible for food and hotel rooms, the cost will obviously be lowered. After we do our research to provide the best possible platforms to make this online Summit an outstanding experience, we will be able to announce the new cost.
What will the online program look like?
That’s a very good question! We are currently working on this very answer. However, it’s important that everything that we do virtually is meaningful and grounded in our mission. We are looking into ways to bring all the parts you love about the Summit into a virtual experience. As always, our goal is to deliver quality content and create connections.
Will this be an online program from 12:00 on December 2 until 12:00 on December 4?
We all know these days what it’s like to look at a screen for hours on end! We are in the planning phase now of how to help us feel connected in the best way possible. We are excited for all the creative conversations and dreaming to come.
How can I help?
If you are interested in volunteering to make WICS 2020 an outstanding event, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XqnChryYUzwi4GTK7
Greetings to all Women In Camp Summit Participants (past and future)!
We know these are very uncertain and trying times. At this time, December feels very far away but we want to be sure you have the most up to date information. We have been making plans for our 2020 Summit for months now but realize that we need to be prepared for other options. These times require an even sharper focus on how we can responsibly serve our community.
By creating the Women in Camp Summit, our goal has always been to provide support and professional development to female camp pros. This year will be no different.
At this time, we are not sure what international travel and group gatherings will look like by year's end. We ARE sure that, no matter what restrictions will be in place come December, we will be together. Our "gathering" may look very different from the first 2 Summits but "gather" we will. So save those dates (December 2-4, 2020) and we'll keep you updated as we monitor the COVID-19 situation.
We hope you know how much we care about each of you and the Women in Camp community. Please reach out to us or to one another if you'd like to chat or need any help or support during these challenging times.
We look forward to staying in touch and to welcoming you to a spectacular Women in Camp Summit in December...no matter what it looks like.
Our thoughts are with you all.
Women In Camp Summit Leadership Team: Beth, Gabz, Ruby, Allie, Kim, Stacy, & Colette