CEEPS West 2006
We had exciting
growth for our fourth year of the Canadian
Experiential Education Practitioners Symposium (CEEPS) - we went West!
Our first gathering in Western Canada took place on
April 7-9, 2006 at the Rocky Mountain YMCA Camp in Kananaskis Country,
Alberta. Indeed, it even took on an international feel, as we were
joined by six practitioners from the Netherlands! I was very pleased
by the turnout (over 30 attendees) - a perfect sized group for an intimate
and flexible symposium. We recorded our best ever participant
feedback across the board, along with some great ideas for further growth
in future years.
A lot of people took advantage
of our out-of-province discount to attend from British Columbia. We
introduced this discount in our very first year to recognize that Canada
is a big community to pull together, and we want to help with travel costs
in any way that we can. After all, the high cost of travel was one
of the reasons I established our own version of the NCCPS symposium in
Canada in the first place.
It never fails that one big
takeaway is the interactions between some truly diverse people of varying
experience and backgrounds. Three of the first people to create
sessions on-the-spot for our Virtual Space grid were a college professor
and a pair of high school students. That, to me, spells true
success. As for our Dutch guests, they were right in there, every
step of the way. Another highlight for me was an outdoor educator,
faced with a challenging program design that she had to create for a large
group of youth in the near future. She championed a session, and
then scribbled in delight as a fantastic collection of experienced
designers and interested participants brainstormed ideas and came up with
some superb activities for her theme.
And throughout the entire
symposium we hear the same thing over and over again: "I can't believe how
much people are willing to share what they know." It has to be more
than just luck. One of our mantras is "the right people will be
there", but you also have to create the right forum, the right
environment, and the right tools - and CEEPS has that in spades!
As in past years (2003,
2004, 2005) this report includes
descriptions of some of the sessions
delivered, some participant comments, and
plans for CEEPS 2007 and beyond. Thanks to Elswyth who shared photographer duties with me for this report.
(CEEPS comes to the mountain)
Additional recognition this year goes to Bill Nutter
of the Delta Synergy Group. Bill not only helped out a bit with some
Alberta logistics, he also offered to have the Delta Synergy Group sponsor
50% of the registration fee for any staff member of that organization that
chose to attend either CEEPS West or CEEPS East. I think that
company will see a good return on their investment!
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