Why the Virtual Zoom Tour Matters
Every conference year the same question arises: How will we engage potential conference goers before they even arrive at the conference? About 5 weeks ago, my colleague Danna and I were scratching our heads – what to do this time? Danna said, “I don’t know… what about a virtual zoom tour?”
At the time, I’m not sure that we fully appreciated what the idea had to offer. A few weeks in, this is what we are seeing:
- A call to action. Tour stops feature real people with real stories about “mountains” they are moving right now. These stories inspire us to take on tough issues. Change is never easy, whether the issue is a big mountain or not. But when we see others diving in, being vulnerable, and willing to fail, it helps us see what’s possible.
- Innovation exchange. Tour stop “hosts” are sharing some very cool ideas! The tour is already a venue for the inspiring exchange of innovative practices and solutions. Moving mountains transforms us and challenges us to think out of the box. Helping each other grow makes us stronger too.
- Community building. How sweet is it to begin building community before the conference even convenes? And… it’s more than that. It’s about realizing (or even just remembering) that we are all a part of a very special movement that spans the globe. Many of us have few chances to hear what change agents are taking on in Australia or Canada or Colorado or North Carolina. Knowing that we do not stand alone in our commitment to change is a beautiful thing.
- An affirmation. We all have those days when we just want to give up or our goals feel too far from reach. I was having one of those days when I spent an hour interviewing tour hosts Nielann Autenreich Martinez and Starr Piner in Napa, CA (our next tour stop!). Listening to them share how The Eden Alternative has touched their lives brought tears to my eyes. Yep, this stuff really works. We all need reminding that the work we do every day to disrupt the culture of care really counts.
We also suggest that you download our free conference app now (yes, now). We will also feature the Virtual Zoom Tour on the conference app, where you can comment and share your own stories as well. To download the app for the 2020 Eden Alternative International Conference, click here.