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Partnerships and Building Relationships / Program Design, Development, and Quality / Staff Leadership and Management / Storytellers

My Moments at BOOST that Left Me Wanting More

We recently asked our BOOST Leadership and Blogging Teams to share their favorite memory and why they volunteer to be a team member of the BOOST Conference. Perhaps you will be a volunteer, Ambassador or Breakfast Club Blogger for BOOST in 2018. Enjoy!

Definitely the very first time I attended the BOOST Conference. The energy was through the roof and everyone was so eager to work together. I’ve been back every year since. – Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH | Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

My most memorable moment at the BOOST Conference was the moment when I realized just how extraordinary a place I had walked into. It was the very first breakout session I had a chance to go to. The speakers leading the session with obvious and infectious passion. The free flowing knowledge and enthusiasm. As a young educator just starting out I had never seen anything that focused on the nitty-gritty of education and out of school learning. It opened my eyes about the profession I had chosen, gave me valuable insight, and excited me for my future. All in just 50 minutes on the first day! I knew walking out of the session that BOOST was something special and something I needed to be a part of to make myself a better educator. – Ezekiel “Zeke” Oliwa, Rec Leader and Substitute Teacher, City of Lemon Grove, Lemon Grove, CA

My favorite recent memory is about the 2016 BOOST Conference. The conference became part of a spiritual awakening or strengthening for myself and hundreds of attendees after listening to Dr. Tererai Trent and Father Gregory Boyle. Their powerful stories and messages raised the level of conversation and global awareness to new heights. Myself and others will hopefully continue to use this experience to continue the work of educating youth to be participants in changing the world with love and acceptance for everyone. This year we will all have an opportunity to follow up on a beautiful experience that Dr. Trent shared with us. We will be writing down our dreams, sealing them in a container and revisiting them in the future. Let’s all continue to share our hopes and dreams for a world that makes decisions based on love, not hate!- Becky Shultz, Director of Expanded Learning, Whittier City School District, Whittier, CA

I can’t say that I have had one favorite memory or moment as I have a ton of them. But I can identify one part of the 2016 conference that made an impact in the work I do. I took advantage of AIR’s Evaluation Cabana. Part of my job is supporting continuous program quality improvement with our school age child care centers. Getting a chance to sit down with a professional in the evaluation field gave me the resources to support the growth of the work we do and the confidence to convey the power of the process. A year later, our small but mighty program improvement team has a defined vision, is growing in capacity, and has become a valuable resource as we grow and develop our programs. If you get a chance to attend the Evaluation Cabana or any of AIR’s workshops I highly recommend it. – ElizaBeth Parker Phillips, Sr. Program Development Director, Child Development, Inc., Sacramento, CA

My favorite memory is of attending the BOOST Pop-Up dinner. I didn’t know anyone when we left for the dinner and by the end I had a whole new group of professional colleagues. It was great to then see them around the conference for the next few days. I love how in every room I meet enthusiastic like-minded educators at the BOOST Conference! – Lissa Tsu, San Diego, CA

There have been many favorite moments at BOOST, it’s hard to pick just one. But I will say, my favorite moments are when I am inspired by something I heard. I love the practices I’ve learned, the people I’ve talked to and the influence it has had on the work that I do. – Suzanne Hill, Program Manager, OC STEM Initiative, Corona Del Mar, CA

At the 2016 BOOST Conference, I had the pleasure of unexpectedly reuniting with a former expanded learning colleague who worked as a frontline staff member. Now, a regional coordinator with the Utah AfterSchool Network inspiring quality across the state of Utah, she has made a professional career in the expanded learning field. We shared experiences, caught up on each other’s work, and shared tears through the You Matter videos! – Frank Escobar, After School Program Manager, Visalia Unified SD

I have so many wonderful memories. A favorite was last year when I returned after missing the conference for two years- I walked down the hotel hallway and saw the student artwork of over 300 pieces – reminding why we do this work- for the students! – Mary Jo Ginty, Region 11 Lead, Los Angeles County Office of Education

The 2014 BOOST Conference holds special memories for me. That was the year that I got to hear John Hunter speak as one of the keynote speakers. His speech inspired me to seek other ways to empower the youth and build leadership for the future. This was a particularly great BOOST experience because I was able to meet John Hunter as well as share the experience that is the BOOST Conference with one of my dearest friend Erika Velazquez who was experiencing BOOST for the first time ever! I will forever hold her excitement in the great vibes that the BOOST Conferences gives along with my excitement for having her along with me to meet John Hunter.- Marisol Moreno-Villegas, Options Enrichment Program Education Coordinator, Covina, CA

As much as I love the workshops and Town Halls, one of my favorite aspects of BOOST is catching up with colleagues between sessions, at meals and at happy hour. It is the one time each year that I see friends from the east coast, northern California and around the country. We share a common bond. We all strive to make schools, communities, our teams and our students stronger. Hearing folks share stories about the new programs, innovative ideas, and shared struggles is my BOOST motivator. – Brad Lupien, President & CEO, arc

The BOOST Conference is a comprehensive and holistic event that captures out of school time in every way. Each year, from the moment I walk into the event space, to the carefully selected workshops, to the general session speakers, to the integration of artwork in halls, to youth attendance on site, to the thoughtfulness of each opportunity that has been created for a connection, a learning tool or an inspiration —you feel like you are IN an out of school time program. In 2013, when I was recognized for my own achievement in expanding learning time, I was deeply humbled and moved by the embrace that I received from the 2000 attendees as I was ‘caped’ on the general session stage. For a gal like me, receiving the OSTI Award was a defining moment in my career where I knew that I would continue to dedicate my life to creating dynamic and rewarding opportunities for youth and stay a loyal team member to BOOST. These moments are life changing. – Julia Gabor, Executive Chef, BOOST Breakfast Club

It’s hard to list just one memory or moment. Instead the first thing that comes to mind is the second BOOST Conference I attended. It really gave me the opportunity to connect all that I was doing at work with what was going on across the state at a local level. I had the opportunity to engage with staff that work with youth regularly. Their enthusiasm for their work and the youth they serve was contagious! Ever since then I’ve described BOOST as so much more than a “conference.” It’s a place, an experience that ignites (or re-ignites) the passion for this work. It’s an amazing and supportive community that captures the energy we see in high quality expanded learning programs across the state. It’s one of my favorite times of the year! – Heather Williams, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, After School Division, California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA

Every year as a volunteer I have been greeted warmly and openly by the BOOST Conference family. I always feel like I am more than a volunteer. I feel like I am part of a great family. It allows me to my best self, especially when it comes to helping and greeting attendees at BOOST Conference. I have not volunteered in a few years, but I always think fondly about my BOOST Conference family members during Spring. – Arthur Barinque

My first encounter at my first BOOST conference was a wonderful and impactful, yet very simple moment. I arrived to the Networking Reception and the room was already crowded with people. A few BOOSTers were lingering in the lobby and greeted me cheerfully and with such sincere friendliness and enthusiasm that I immediately felt among friends. As I mingled and got to know people it was great to learn about the impressive work and important positions that people held and also observe the laid back and even zaniness of the group – particularly, the funky hats people wore for the contest and other spirited BOOST accessories they sported. This first entry into the BOOST experience was a meaningful reminder for me that the OST field is where I belong. It bolstered my commitment to bring everything I have to support this sector, these professionals, and the youth and communities we care about. Thank you!–Amira Resnick | Healthy Out-of-School Time Manager, California, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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