Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A week at the National Conservation Training Center

James Garst
Andrew Lewis Middle School
Salem, VA 24153
2015 TTEC Cohort

What a wonderful week meeting new colleagues at the summer institute!  There were several key ‘take aways’ from the week that can immediately be put into action upon returning to school.
1.        The time provided to work independently and collaboratively regarding our individual schools was priceless.  During this time, I was able to formulate specific ideas to implement a Hiking Club and identify funding for several of our excursions.  Specifically, I was able to develop the mission and purpose of our club and put together a calendar for the year. 
2.       Resources galore!  I’m not sure I have ever been to a professional development workshop that provides this many resources that are useful and immediately applicable.  A goal of mine this week was to collect information to bring back to my building disseminate to those teachers that want to participate in the TTEC program.  I feel like I have more than enough information/tools/resources to get started immediately when the teachers return.  Of particular interest was the Quest workshop that is applicable across a variety of disciplines.  The hands on activity was certainly a worthwhile exercise. 
3.       I participated in the grant writing workshop that provided a vast list of grant opportunities.  While important for my outdoor club, I was able to learn a skill that will help in many future endeavors. 
4.       Most importantly was the opportunity to network with WONDERFUL folks from Georgia to Maine in all of the communities along the way.  I strongly feel that this is the best resource provided by the ATC.  The time to network and discuss ideas and plans was invaluable.  I not only made several friends, but I also have contacts to collaborate with as I begin the program in my school this year.

Investing a week with the ATC further confirmed my passion for the trail and getting kids active and outdoors.  I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to fostering the relationships formed during this wonderful week!

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