This week, Darla and I are headed for Cincinnati, to the Healthy Communities/ Healthy Youth Conference. I’ve attended this conference many times over the years and have always been inspired and motivated after leaving it.
My kids have often come with me as well, usually helping with my exhibitor booth for Empowering Youth. In the photo below, Darla is only six, as she hands out brochures to conference attendees at the National Service Learning Conference in 2002.
And at last year’s HCHY conference, she even facilitated a breakout session with me (photo above), based on my book, Empowering Youth: How to Encourage Young Leaders to Do Great Things.
But for the first time, this year Darla is the headliner for our breakout session. She was named a Youth Leader for Literacy last year, and as a part of the project, she’s promoting her neighborhood book club idea, Bookworm Wednesday. She’ll present the ideas put forward in her article series, “How to Start a Book Club” and together we’ll facilitate small-group activities to help participants begin to visualize this kind of project in their own communities.
I remember a time about eight years ago when I had just started my company and was assembling SPARK Peer Tutoring Handbooks in our screened-in porch. As I laminated cards and collated papers, I watched my young children zip around the backyard in their battery-operated Jeep.
In my mind’s-eye, I had a vivid flash of those same kids in high school, traveling with me to speak at conferences and school districts around the country. I remember smiling to myself, thinking, “That would be so cool.”
And it is.