Reflections on nErDCamp 2017
Life has returned to normal (well, relatively speaking), and nErDCampMI has been in the forefront. Reflecting back on those two magical days has brought tears of joy, a sense of wonder and awe, and an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness.
Five years ago nErDCamp MI began as an idea. An idea that grew from attending an EdCamp in Detroit. Having experienced the collaborative environment of that EdCamp, it became clear that we could reframe this for educators who love reading and writing, and love getting their kiddos to love reading and writing. We just needed to have a place to gather, share ideas, and encourage each other in that endeavor. And make it free. And fun. And open to anyone.
Year one was more than what we expected. We were hoping for 75 or 100 attendees. Somewhere between 150 and 175 showed up. The next year we added Day One and the Nerd Run. Attendance more than doubled. The following year NerdCamp Jr! was added, which was amazing. Once again, attendance grew more than we ever imagined.
One of my students gave me the book WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA? by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom as an end-of-the-school-year gift. It’s a beautiful book that talks about that idea being a little scary at first, but sticking around and eventually, “it spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky….it went from being here to being everywhere.”
I am so thankful for our nErDCamp team, for Colby Sharp’s insights and ideas and relationships; for Alaina Sharp’s tireless and genius organizational skills; for Donalyn Miller, who helped us get this off the ground and keeps promoting and supporting us in all kinds of ways; for Suzanne Woolworth, who works so hard behind the scenes; for Sue Haney, who is generous with her time, her giving, herself; for Jess Keating for her seeing and tackling an area that needed help. And for my husband, Stan Gibbs, who volunteers his time and skills to make presentations look and sound spectacular.
I am also profoundly grateful to the presenters, the authors, the illustrators, and the attendees who, altogether, make nErDCamp the exhilarating experience it is.
Together, we help to make the world a better place.