2016 Spring Conference Summary
Promoting Resilience in Children
Off to a great start
With 73 participants registered, it was a great start for the annual Community Alliance for Youth Spring Conference. The morning started out with registration and continental breakfast. We had a few eager folks that were there before we could even get the registration table set up. Way to go Springfield City Schools! Can’t say that we’re expecting more from our students than the faculty. Thankfully, there was a wonderful breakfast spread set up in the Wittenberg Shouvlin atrium to enjoy in the meantime.
A few participants couldn’t make it to the conference. However, we had “unregistered walk-in’s” that balanced it out. One of those was our state representative, Bob Hackett, who said it was on his calendar all along, but wasn’t sure if they’d be in session that day. Another was Mrs. Ruth Folz who founded the Parent Infant Center. There were a few more from Eagle & Dove Academy and other organizations who found out about it at the last minute. We ended up with a total of 68 participants; then, with staff and the facilitators…a full house(74)!
Dr. James H. Duffee, MD, MPH, a developmental/behavioral pediatrician, was the keynote speaker. His topic was “Promoting Resilience in Children: Building a Relational Home.” Although the crowd was large the atmosphere was intimate. Not surprisingly, he was considered extremely relatable in the feedback we received. Most thought that he was exceptionally knowledgeable and found his session very informative. In fact, we were asked to make copies of his PowerPoint handouts by the majority of his attendees (It can be found on the link provided at the end of this article).
Bravo to our Break-outs!
Conference participants had many positive things to say about this year’s event--including the breakout sessions. After a five minute break, the participants could either get a refill on breakfast, coffee, or attend to their personal needs. Then the group split into five break-out sessions that piggy-backed off of the keynote speaker’s topic. Participants pre-registered for two of those sessions: 10 AM and 11 AM. Upon arrival, they were given name tags with their chosen selections to help remember what they signed up for in additon to programs with room numbers to aid in locating where to go.
The participants seemed happy with their selections. All of the facilitators received high marks on the assessment evaluations that were distributed at the close of each final session. Participants who attended Suzanne Sunshine’s session: Children as Caregivers thought that is was “very enlightening”. Overall, the participants remarked that the facilitator brought an “alternative way of looking at how to help children in this situation.”
Those who attended Media Influence on Youth facilitated by Liz Hale were shocked by the statistics on how much time our children spend on various types of media. They found her session to be “interesting and eye-opening.” The take-away for most participants was that when it comes to media they need to, “be intentional, interact, and use together (be an example) for your children.”
Our participants really partook!
An overwhelming majority of participants were thrilled to be made aware of the F.A.S.T. program available to families in Clark County. This took place in Ramona Henry’s session: Creating Family-Centered Programs.Some stated that they now “have the info to suggest to families who could use it.” Yet another participant said, “The concrete ideas presented were very helpful—challenged me to be more creative in my approach to teaching.” Sounds like everyone left with a clearer understanding about a valuable resource and activities to help bring families closer together.
In Helping Families Strengthen Reading at Home everyone found Cecilia Swindler’s approach enthusiastic and contagious! However, her manner did not detract them from the message. As participants were quoted as saying, “This was great—learned so much” or “…short ideas on how to draw attention to reading.” As a matter of fact, most feedback was about the application of the information received in Ms. Swindler’s session. Such as, “I can use this at Eagle and Dove and also with my grandchildren.”
Our final session, presented something near and dear to our hearts: Free Family Fun Ideas. Leann Castillo, Director of National Trail Recreation and Parks District gave the participants information about the nine beautiful parks Springfield has, the camps, and various seasonal programs being offered free (or for a nominal cost). Our are hearts going pitter-patter!A lot of the participants had no idea these programs were available. Most were thrilled with the facilitator’s “vast amount of knowledge and enthusiasm.” One participant said they would now “be able to give suggestions of what to do in the community.”
2016 Spring Conference is a success!
After a short break, the groups switched to the second set of pre-selected sessions for another 45 minutes. Towards the close of this go-round, evaluations were passed and then participants were given their certificates of completion. As a whole, the Spring Conference was a success! We accomplished what we set out to do: Provide an opportunity for professional development for those working with our youth. It’s one of the many ways we strive to encourage children, uplift families, and empower those that work with them. What’s more, the training was low-cost to those who attended ($5.00 registration fee), thanks to generous sponsorships from The Community Health Foundation and The Nehemiah Foundation. According to the feedback, most participants wanted the program to last longer to have more discussion time. Some would have liked the program to be an ALL DAY event. Well, those participants are in luck…the Summer Training Institute is coming August 9-11, 2016 which is more along those lines. Visit www.CommunityAllianceforYouth.org. for workshop descriptions and registration soon.
We’d like to thank those who took part in planning the 2016 Spring Conference: Warren Copeland, Liz Hale, Chanteal Hall, Shelley Lopez, Stephanie McCuistion, Angela Moody, Susie Rastatter, and Dave Speas. Your love for community and effective training opportunities shines bright. In addition, we’re grateful to the facilitators who made time to come speak at the conference this year. It was all the more interesting and successful because of you.
If you would like to be a speaker at one of our future training sessions or have a topic suggestion, please contact us at: www.CommunityAllianceforYouth.org. For a copy of Dr. Duffee's PowerPoint slides, please visit our Activites page.