It is conference time here in Missouri! We are just a few days away from the 2018 MOSAC2 Professional Development Institute (PDI), an event designed to engage afterschool professionals, connect them with other like-minded people, and enhance the quality of programming across the state of Missouri.
Before we arrive at a conference, we often have an idea of what we would like to get out of our time there. Maybe we would like to learn about the latest STEM activities we can use with our students or we might look forward to meeting someone who can help us with ideas on how to hire and retain quality staff. For some, the conference serves as a break from the daily grind of programming for our students. That’s not a bad thing!!
The central purpose of most conferences is to provide an opportunity for participants to learn and to be inspired in what they are doing. The MOSAC2 PDI is no different. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as we approach a conference.
- Be open to inspiration
Inspiration does not always come in a nice, neat package and it often comes from unexpected places. It may not look like inspiration, with rainbows and music and fireworks. It may just be in a word, in a phrase, or in a story. Inspiration comes when we pay attention. Look for it in the keynote addresses, the breakout sessions, and in conversations with co-workers and new friends.
- When you are inspired, let your first thought be a positive one.
We are often our worst critic. We can find ways to dismiss ourselves faster than anyone else could. We are so good at coming up with ways that something won’t work for us. While at the conference, listen to what is said, take it in, and intentionally think about how you might use and adapt what you are hearing in a successful way for yourself and your program. Don’t dwell on all the ways you can’t do something. Let the inspiration take hold and then go for it!
- When you have found inspiration, and you return home, take small steps to implement your ideas
When you are inspired, it is important to take action but don’t try to do everything at once. We all want to change the world but that doesn’t happen quickly. Understand that when inspiration hits, it is usually followed by a process. It is rare that we take one step and everything is how we envisioned life would be. Be ok with the process that is necessary to make your inspiration a reality.
We hope to see you at the MOSAC2 PDI in the near future. While you are there, have fun and enjoy your time but, in all things, be looking for inspiration. You never know where you might find it!!