The NOS staff just returned from the southern desert of Palm Springs, California where they had the opportunity to attend the annual American Camp Association Leadership Conference. On the way down the team camped in Death Valley National Park where they were able to participate in team building activities while taking in the raw beauty of the area. For one of our new Americorps Members, Irma Mendoza, it was a new experience to travel through Death Valley and she says, “It was very meaningful to tour Death Valley and to have had the opportunity to camp there. It allowed me to really enjoy where I was and to explore what it had to offer, as well as inspiring me. I would suggest to keep including it in the trip.”
This year’s conference theme was Safari Chic and the NOS team showed up ready to wow in their attire. More importantly we showed up with open minds and hearts and were all able to attend various educational sessions that interested us or were out of our comfort zones. The sessions ranged from new activities to try at your camp to managing millennial staff. When not in sessions we were able to connect with other camps and learn about their organizations, successes and struggles. I personally found this to be very beneficial and almost healing to know that we are not all alone in our struggle to provide local youth with outdoor experiences.
Overall the general consensus for the NOS Educational Team is that the ACA Leadership Conference was absolutely amazing and it made our group connect on a higher level than we did before. Brody Goucher our Spring Americorps Member stated, “Not only would I recommend it but I would require it because it really helps give you ideas of how to become a better teacher and I think that everything from field trips to summer camps will be better because of the knowledge that I gained from ACA.”
As a team we plan to apply our new found motivation and knowledge to our everyday lives and all of our upcoming programming. It is a wonderful conference and I believe that everyone gained a lot of knowledge and confidence that is necessary as we go into our spring field trips and summer time programming.
-Katy (NOS Education Coordinator)