Yesterday was another reminder for me of just how powerful a moment can be when like-minded people come together for a positive reason. NerdCampLi was energetic and moving. During the sessions that I attended and facilitated, a theme emerged: We are people first. Perhaps it is fitting that this blog post serve to thank those who were so generous with their sharing yesterday.

Thank you, Alison, JoEllen, and Kristen. My mind can only begin to comprehend the countless hours that the three of you must spend to create this behemoth of a festival of nerds. Please know that the time spent away from your family and friends will have a lasting impact on hundreds of people. The ripple effects are too numerous to count. As I said last year, my life will never be the same again after attending a NerdCamp.

Thank you, the faculty and staff of James H. Boyd Intermediate School. You have a lovely school that showcases and highlights the love of learning. Your hard-work and support of NerdCamp was seen throughout the day.

Thank you, Joanne, Rose, and Stefanie. Your friendship and support yesterday (and every day) means the world to me. Stefanie, your presentation was timely and important. The same can be said of our conversation after NerdCamp at the diner in Huntington.

Thank you, Denis Markell. It was an honor and a privilege to collaborate with you for yesterday’s session. The time you took to share ideas and insight in the weeks leading up to the event were so appreciated. When you commented on the “funny e-mail” quip yesterday, I could not help but laugh. Your sense of humor was apparent from our first communication. If you ever want to collaborate again on a project, it would be an honor.

Thank you, JA White. Your impromptu “mini keynote address” was both hilarious and impactful. I have often feared that balancing teaching and writing would be too challenging to manage. I often joke about how useless I am after 3pm. You have inspired me to change my alarm from 5:03am to 4:07am on school days. My hope is to be more disciplined in using that time to write each morning to help guide my various projects that seem to be moving along more slowly than I wish.

Thank you, Kamilla Benko, Artie Bennett, Megan Frazer Blakemore, Julie Leung, Lyn Miller-Lachman, Jodi Moore, Laurie Morrison, Melissa Sarno, and Booki Vivat. I am still in shock that you took a chance on participating in a session from some random individual. Hearing all of you share your introductions and backgrounds was inspirational. The reminder that there is no one correct path towards becoming an author was comforting. Your generosity with your time and wisdom was clearly appreciated by those who attended the session. My promise is to spend the next few weeks/months catching up on the works of yours that I have not read yet. My original hope was to purchase each of your books that were for sale yesterday. (As my friend Joanne can attest to, I actually had them all in my arms during lunch yesterday.) At the present moment, I am actively trying to downsize my belongings for several reasons. It would have been an honor to own a signed copy of each book, but my gut told me to place them all back and write quick thank you notes instead. (I still have Megan’s note, as I could not find you!) In the spirit of sharing, I just made a $100 donation to First Book in honor of all of you. (Thank you, Booki, for letting me run that idea past you.First Book

Thank you, Susan Verde. When Stefanie had first shared that you would be presenting together, I could see how much it meant to her just by her expression. After meeting you and seeing you present yesterday, I can clearly see why. You have a natural gift. The meditation at the end of the session was an important reminder in empathy and understanding. (I am sharing a photo of my hourglass collection as a reminder of how just a few minutes are sometimes all that are needed to shift one’s perspective or mental state.)

Thank you, the faculty of the Northern Parkway Elementary School. Your perspective on culturally relevant teaching and social justice led to some great dialogue and sharing of ideas. I could not help but make a connection to my experiences from working in Bushwick, Brooklyn as a teaching assistant in the summer of 2001, and my time student teaching in London, England in 2002 where the children originated from five different continents. These were pivotal experiences that still have an impact on my understanding of the world around me.

Thank you, Torrey Maldonado. Your remarks and insight during the first session were powerful. I am sorry that I did not get to meet you afterwards. I will be downloading Tight onto my newly purchased Kindle, once I figure out how to work the damn thing.

Thank you, Lois Lowry. Your generosity of answering two questions for the session was clearly appreciated. My ears definitely heard an audible gasp from someone when I mentioned that you had shared your responses, which were included on the back of the provided resource. You are so special to so many people.

Thank you to all of the people who attended the sessions I helped to facilitate. My hope is that you were able to take something meaningful away from these sessions. I definitely learned from you. (Happy writing, Karen.)

Thank you, to all of the other people attending and leading sessions at NerdCamp. I can only imagine what other amazing ideas were shared and connected throughout the day. We all live such relatively short lives, and having moments to learn from each other are incredibly important. While I was delivering my very brief thank you notes at the end of the day, I bumped into several students and their parents. The conversations we had were kind, caring, and supportive. May these young people learn from each of the books they were holding in their hands, and share these lessons with the people they interact with each and every day.

We are always people first. NerdCamp may seemingly be focused on books, but sometimes the universe has a way of showing us something that has been right in front of us the whole time. Books are about the people connected through the telling of stories. The characters come from the minds of the authors, and in turn help guide and offer perspective about life for those who are reading. In a time when it seems that people are losing connections to each other, perhaps the world could benefit from more stories that remind us all about our shared humanity. NerdCamp is about bringing people together. NerdCamp is really about inspiring people to help other people.

Thank you, universe.

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8 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful experience! Thank YOU for inviting me to participate with your session, Gregory. It was an honor. This recap and your support of First Book is heart-squishy fabulous. You may have been a “random individual” before, but I now consider you as a treasured friend! Mostly, thank you for all you do for our children, and for book lovers everywhere! Hugs! xoxo

  2. Thank you for your sharing your creativity and words of wisdom and for encouraging others to be the change, even when it’s difficult. Thank you for bringing us all together Saturday and helping us unlock our writing potential. I’m so grateful for our friendship!

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