That's a wrap!
August 9, 2017
Another year in the books for the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute and it was one of the best ones yet!
Last month, we held our 43rd annual conference at Eastern Illinois University, a campus that we have happily called home base for five years. This year our theme was "Color Y(our) Future," with each of our discussion groups being named after a color. We thought color was the perfect representation for our camp: a bunch of individuals coming together to make something beautiful and bright!
As with each year, before we could begin welcoming our participants, our staff arrived Friday afternoon for a weekend of training. Between presentations and planning, scavenger hunts and trivia, we we're able to spend a little time bonding and prepping for the week ahead.
The participants arrived to our chorus of honking cars and cheering staff on Sunday afternoon and after unpacking and doing energizers, attended our opening ceremony. We also welcomed alumni back this year for our second Alumni Luncheon event.
This year's opening ceremony was extra special. We were proud to announce that our volunteer staff led a fundraising campaign that raised $26,477! 100% (75) of our volunteer staff exceeded or met their $200 goal, and we could not be more grateful to them and the many wonderful donors that helped us get to this point! With this money, we'll get a 2:1 match from the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations! Our fundraising efforts will continue with our 2:1 match until December 15.
The week was definitely busy, but in the best way. We had four wonderful general session speakers to start off our mornings: De'Marco Fomby, who spoke about our ability to influence; Julie Kelly, who spoke about how situations do not need to define you; Fabian Ramirez, who touched on the effects of bullying; and Eddie Slowiskowski, who used the art of dance and music to discuss life and success. Their energy and enthusiasm helped us wake up and prepare for the day!
On Monday and Wednesday, we had our TRAX (Teens Reaching and Achieving Excellence) Workshops. Each day featured multiple workshops for our middle school and high school participants that ranged from starting an Operation Snowball Chapter (prevention group in your school) to depression and stress relief to fostering leadership skills to suicide and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention, and college and career readiness. Participants are able to select workshops they would like to attend based on what skills they'd like to expand on or areas they'd like to learn more about.
On Tuesday we had our Round Robin sessions. Kevin Wanzer spoke about finding the funny in life in one of our sessions and a trivia gameshow about our program as well as pop culture was led in the other. What a great energy boost!
Each day our participants were able to meet with their discussion groups and Community Action Teams (CAT). In discussion groups, they were able to process the day's events, work on team building activities and bond with others from outside of their communities. Our CATs met to identify and focus on local issues and create action plans for their own specific communities.
We also had some special events each day! On Monday night, our discussion groups participated in a scavenger hunt based on our color theme. They were asked to find locations, discuss fun questions with their groups and participate in team building activities. On Tuesday, we had our Tuesday Night Live talent show led by our Activity Coordinators. All of our participants did a wonderful job taking the stage and sharing their talents with us! On Wednesday, we had our celebration. DJ Ritchie C led a dance in the main ballroom with board games set up in the other. Participants were also able to play games, bowl and swim, visit the CGTI store and relax during free time hours each day.
Each year we're are so amazed by what our staff and participants are able to accomplish at camp both in their groups and out. The plans created, the lessons learned, the bonds made and the fun had inspire us to make sure that our Mid-Year and our next camp are even BETTER and to continue finding ways to positively affect the communities and people around us! We can't thank everyone who participated and led this year for what wonderful memories they've left us with, what opportunities they've created and what changes they have already begun to make!
We can't wait to see all the positive change our participants make in their school and/or community over the next school year. We had such a great 2017 and we're looking forward to seeing everyone at our Mid-Year event January 13-14 to hear what's been accomplished since then!
2017 Mid-Year Conference
January 31, 2017
The 2017 Mid-Year Conference was held Saturday, January 15-Sunday, January 16, 2017 in Normal, IL. This year CGTI collaborated with Operation Snowball, Inc. to provide additional training, skill building workshops, and action planning time to OS Chapters.
We had over 300 people register for this year's event - our biggest registration ever! We offered 7 workshops, 2 Community Action Team (CAT) meetings, a Adult mentor/Chapter leader meeting, a discussion group that focused on team building, and a celebration dance. All participants are invited to attend CGTI 2017 in July!