Every Voice is Valuable

From Hannah Reece, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow at NYLC.

hannahAs a new face at NYLC and an exceptionally independent worker, I approached last week’s workshop review with slight uncertainty. The thought of sitting in a room of service-learning experts for eight hours to determine the lineup of workshops for the 2016 National Service-Learning Conference® felt daunting and potentially tedious.

It became apparent to me, however, within the first minutes of the day, that the team would function much differently than teams I had previously been a part of. One of the core beliefs behind service-learning is that every voice is valuable, and this notion was clearly put into practice in the way team members that day interacted with each other. Each person was given the space, time, and respect to voice their opinions, and my newness to the team had no effect on the value of my words.

The workshop review process rolled smoothly throughout the day, hours floated by, and the energy in the room never faded from its cheery buzz. In less than eight hours, twelve of us narrowed hundreds of workshop proposals into an intentional and exciting lineup for the Educate. Ignite. Transform. In line with service-learning values, every voice was heard and respected, and the final product was the result of true teamwork.

From youth leadership to social justice, from technology to pedagogy, from intergenerational partnerships to national park systems to photography, the lineup of #SLC16 workshops has me asking just one question: How do I choose which workshops to attend?