Summer Camp has finally wrapped up, much to my disappointment. It wound down about an hour ago, actually, but I find I don’t want to stop the voices in my head. I think for most people, we try to do anything possible to extend the post-event high of a really great experience. For me, I have all these ideas still running around playing tag in my head, so I am avoiding going anywhere that is going to infringe on that. Ironically, as I take the back road home, I pass a large group of small children and their camp leaders (in bright green t-shirts almost exactly the same color as my own, no less!) as they head back to base camp after a day of fun at the park. Happy, excited faces, kids talking to one another and totally engaged in the moment. On an impulse I pull over to write this because the looks on the kids faces absolutely captures the spirit of their ETS Summer Camp counterparts. Over the last two days, I have watched the campers engage in discussion, dialogue, and community. I’d like to think that this was a snapshot of how they really felt about being a part of the conversation: happy excited faces, talking to one another and totally engaged in the moment. It’s a really great thing to see.
Overall, camp has been an absolute blast. There are some amazing ideas to absorb, and some
great discussions have been happening. I think one of the most important things that’s going on is the fact that the conversation is being had. Educators—the combined grouping of technologists, instructors,
designers, and others that simply want to be involved—are coming together and talking. Some people are surprised at the level of energy that has been in the room. I’m not. I’ve been able to engage in
opportunities with this community since my exposure to it at the TLT Symposium last year. Personally, I love seeing more people coming to the discussion and becoming engaged. It’s not about Twitter, it’s not about podcasting, it’s not about the technology. It’s about community engagement. This is a baby step; I know there will still take time for people to think about it and buy in to the value, but it is still a step.
So, how can we extend the post-event high of a really great experience? The discussion is still ongoing; the community is still available, but in a different form. Our online, digital community exists in our blogs, our responses, our podcasts, our twitter feeds, our community Ning sites, our forums, our spontaneous Tweet Meets; pick whatever it is that turns you on and be a part of it. Just because Summer Camp is gone doesn’t mean the discussion is gone as well. Stay engaged with the community however it best works for you; keep the dialogue and discourse open so that we can experience the change as it happens. I continue to be amazed at the power of the community, and the power of engagement.
Okay. enough reflection for one parking lot. Time to go home, get this post uploaded, and then meds and a quick naptime for the migraine that is almost in full swing. This Happy Camper doesn’t want to miss any of the conversation at dinner tonight.
God, I love Summer Camp. Thank you for being a part of the discussion.