Child Care Aware® of America’s 2018 Leadership Institute is just a little over a month away and I cannot wait! This year’s Institute is being held in beautiful Denver, Colorado, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel from Sunday, September 30th to Wednesday, October 3rd. As a child care resource and referral (CCR&R) professional working in Indiana, Leadership Institute was always my favorite event of the year. It was the one time of year where I could meet up with CCR&R leaders from across the nation, learn about their successes and their struggles, and pick the brains of some of the brightest people in the field.
Now that I am on the CCAoA staff, I am honored to take what I know about the CCR&R field and partner with our external planning committee members, which is comprised of 15 of your peers, to build out this year’s program. Together with the help of the CCAoA staff, we have built the agenda to ensure that CCR&R leaders will leave this year’s Leadership Institute rejuvenated and equipped to Lead Boldly and Accelerate Change within their communities and states. Before I share more about what to expect this year, let’s take a look at how this event has originated and evolved over the years.
A Quick Look at Previous Leadership Institutes
The Leadership Institute originated in Boulder, Colorado as a small meeting of executive directors of CCR&R state networks from across the nation in October of 2001. This yearly gathering was eventually named the State Network Leadership Institute (SNLI). Several years later the membership council, which is comprised of one local CCR&R representative from each state, decided to meet right after SNLI and call it the Membership Council Leadership Institute (MCLI). The two groups would typically overlap their meetings by one day in order to meet as one joint group. Eventually, the leadership of the two councils decided to blend their meetings into one joint council meeting and the event title was shortened to Leadership Institute.
Over the last few years, the attendance at Leadership Institutes has grown to include other leaders within the CCR&R field, as well as some of their key partners. The Institute still has a joint council meeting as a component of it, but the majority of the program content is now shared with the broader group of leaders. Over the years it has grown into an event where more seasoned CCR&R leaders can bring their leadership team to help give them a broader view of the field and make them stronger leaders.
What to Expect at the 2018 Leadership Institute
You will want to make sure that you arrive early on Sunday to take part in all of the fun pre-Institute excitement. We will open our Vroom Studio at noon. It will include fun, engaging activities, and we will share some exciting new updates about the Vroom program. Make sure that you pre-register to take part in the Brain Architecture Game that will kick off at 1:30 p.m. This game is intended for anyone interested in learning more about early childhood brain development and creating change in their own communities. You won’t want to miss our other pre-Institute session that focuses on the work that CCR&R agencies need to do to prepare for the evolution of the early childhood education Profession. We will end the evening with our ever-popular networking reception where you can catch up with all of your old friends and hopefully meet some new ones.
Throughout the Institute, you will notice that our sessions are designed around the needs of a CCR&R leader. Hear from well-known researchers, such as Dr. Water Gilliam and Dr. Howard Stevenson. Participate in a strategy session that is geared to help you leverage federal updates into state advocacy. Learn about promising CCR&R work that your peers are doing around preschool expulsion, mental health consultation, and workforce development—they’ll share lessons learned and give tips on how you can implement something similar in your community.
If you are one of our council members, you will be excited to hear that we have taken your advice and extended the joint council meeting time to two and a half hours this year to ensure that there is lots of time to work together. Our committee has worked especially hard to incorporate extra time for council members to engage in meaningful conversations with peers from across the nation. We know that this just might be the most valuable part of the Institute.
Attend Leadership Institute
Over the years we have seen this event grow from a small meeting of CCR&R state network executive directors to the larger Leadership Institute that we know today. Through it all, whether it is called SNLI/MCLI or Leadership Institute, it has always been about propelling our joint vision to advance affordability, accessibility, development, and learning of children in child care. It is the one place where a CCR&R leader can go to hear all of the trends, the most up to date research, and policy updates that relate to our work. I know for me, it was always about helping me grow into a better leader.
This year’s Institute promises to have all that and more. You won’t want to miss it! Register today—space is running out. Or, if you’re already registered, leave us a comment and let us know what you’re most looking forward to!