We returned from the ACA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, a little over a week ago, but are still fondly remembering the muggy, rainy, dark, sometimes cold, but then sometimes muggy again, overcast days.
We were in Orlando from Tuesday February 4th, until Saturday February 8th, and gosh did we learn a lot. First off, our very own Jane Sanborn was the Program Chair of the conference, not to mention the proud recipient of a National Honor Award. We supplied whooping, hollering, whistles, and applause dragged out as long as would be socially acceptable.
Peg Smith, the CEO of the ACA, was the first keynote Wednesday, who began what would become the ongoing conversation at the conference of what she coined the trifecta between “brain-based learning experiences, connections with nature, and the benefits of play.” We always just thought camp was fun, but who knew there’s some scientific evidence saying it’s good for you, too? Following Peg was Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, a brilliant and charismatic psychotherapist, school counselor, and recent author, who continued showing the tangible evidence of how summer camp and communicating effectively with our children can help them become happier, healthier, and “more fully themselves.”
Thursday’s keynotes included Adam Grant, an author and wonderful speaker, pinpointing the three major personalities we encounter throughout our life, and particularly in the workplace. Constantly humorous and poignant, Adam helped to liven up the grey Thursday. Friday’s keynote was Rue Mapp, the founder of the website Outdoor Afro. She spoke to the importance of creating and cultivating relationships in the outdoors, with peers and campers, but with our families as well.
(Right around here some of us found time to go to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.)
The conference ended with a lunch on Saturday, where our very own Jane Sanborn challenged those who hadn’t left the conference early and abandoned the delicious lunch provided, to build as tall a tower as they could using a strip of tape and dry spaghetti. To win, the tower had to support the weight of a marshmallow. In spite of a rowdy table of Sanborn people and assorted other young camp professionals, along with our liberal interpretation of the rules presented us and the ingenuity and innovation of fun-loving camp professionals, we lost by about an inch.
Our beautiful, 2nd place spaghetti tower!
But at camp, we’re all winners! Expect, of course, when building towers out of spaghetti or while playing in late-night corn hole competitions… All in all, we gained a wonderful amount of insight and knowledge while at the 2014 ACA National Conference, saw many old friends, and made many new ones. We are happy to be back in beautiful, wet Florissant, but thoroughly enjoyed our time in Florida!