The Community Action Association recently had the opportunity to attend IMPACT, a national conference on service, in St. Louis, Missouri. The four attendees, consisting of Samantha Riley, Shaina Flanagan, Wendy Menchu-Lopez and Briana Holley, along with the CAA advisor Meagan Pepper, began their journey late in the day on Thursday, February 16th.
Over the course of the trip, the group was able to participate in a wide variety of sessions. There were general workshops like Students Leading Students: Effectively Managing & Engaging Peer Volunteers, To Service and Beyond! Creating Meaningful Service Experiences with Pre and Post Service Workshops and Knowing Your Impact: Tools for Creating and Assessing Intentional Community Engagement. Also offered, were workshops that covered more specific topics of interest like Human Rights: from Education to Action and Eat for Good: Creating a better global food system for all. No area in regard to service was left undiscussed by the end of the three days.
During the lunch period on the first and second day was the Opportunities Fair. The exhibitors provided information about their nonprofit or organization to eager individuals hoping to discover future career options or partnerships for their clubs. On Friday, keynote speaker Congressman Richard Gephardt addressed the conference about his personal experience with service and on Saturday, the group was able to listen to panelists share their advice on subjects such as Reflection and The Power of Words, before it was opened to the floor for questions. For the Technology and Marketing within Service panel, Samantha was on the other side, contributing input as a panelist.
By the end, IMPACT had inspired the group to take action and do their part to change the world. Each person had their own unique experiences while at the conference, yet the goal of bringing back and applying the knowledge gained to better the Johnson & Wales community was a universal one for all.