Monday, August 9th marked the opening events of the National Writing Projects of Michigan annual network retreat on the grounds of Central Michigan University’s Mt. Pleasant campus. The three-day retreat drew in NWPM members from all across the state, encompassing most of the eleven sites that make up the NWP’s Michigan network. For many, the event was not just an opportunity to socialize with colleagues both near and far, but the chance to look ahead to the development of future collaborative efforts between sites as each makes plans for the year to come.
CMU’s Kathryn Koch, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, and Pamela S. Gates, Interim Dean of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences welcomed participants Monday evening with opening addresses. Guest speakers, meanwhile, included NWP national coordinators Christina Cantrill and Paul Oh, who presented on digital networking spaces and highlighted their latest projects. Danielle DeVoss, co-author of the upcoming Because Digital Writing Matters, invigorated participants with her opening presentation “Digital Is…”, while updates from the Holocaust Educators Network and a colorful book display offered NWPM members fresh ideas for future work.
Participants spent the day on Tuesday sharing their local site work related to the summer institute, continuity, professional development, and youth/community programs. One partipant noted that “the opportunity to hear voices from all the other Michigan sites reconnects us as a network. The sessions stimulated and grew my/our site’s thinking. Thank you for providing this time and space to work together.” Finally, on Wednesday, participants joined in a “town hall”meeting about the ideas presented over the course of the retreat, and left with many ideas for their sites.
The annual retreat marked CRWP’s second participation since its official launching in 2009.