As we continue to be in a season of change, I am pretty sure I am not the only one in search of inspiration and support to renew my spirit not only for my work with youth gardens, but also for life in general in the time of Covid-19. This spring was exhausting and frankly, the upcoming school year is looking like it will be more of the same. Change is an inevitable part of life and it is good and necessary, but does anyone else feel like you are a GPS that is in a constant state of recalculating right now? So looking for a bit of recharging, I want to put in a plug today for the upcoming National Children and Youth Garden Symposium.

Launched in 1993 as a grassroots effort to bring youth garden advocates from across the country together to share our experiences and collectively help us gain momentum, the conference has been held at sites all over the country and always attracts a diverse audience including formal and informal educators, garden professionals, and a wide range of community volunteers. This is one conference where simple introductions are never enough because the programs represented are always uniquely designed to meet local needs and I always want to find out more. I have only had the chance to attend a handful of the events over the years, but I wish I could have gone to them all. I always leave with an amazing wealth of new ideas and knowledge that I can immediately put into practice. The information I have gained has helped shaped my work at KidsGardening, my volunteer time at our school garden, and even my activities gardening at home with my own kids.

Like most conferences these days, the 2020 NCYGS is moving to an online platform using a combination of live and pre-recorded events. I know it will not be the same as being in person and experiencing the hands-on activities and the live discussions, but I hope that many of you might take this opportunity to check it out in this highly accessible format. As always, the costs are being kept as low as possible and they are devising ways to creatively provide live interactions too. The conference will be held July 8 – 10th and registration is available now.

Check it out and get it on your calendar! The more of us that participate, the more impactful it will be. Find the time to recharge your batteries to keep growing!

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