Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coming Together as Teachers, Leaving as Friends: Teachers Take Sacramento 2016

When I joined the four-person planning team and we started planning this event, I was not quite sure what to expect. I know personally that meet ups have been enriching experiences that have allowed me to bond with other teachers, share stories, and form relationships with people across regions, states, and country borders. It was my hope that through this meet up that it would allow teachers the opportunity to connect with each other. I know that for me teaching can be isolating and meet-ups have allowed me to build relationships with Teachers Pay Teachers sellers, share common issues and struggles with other teachers, and build friendships with other people in the realm of education. In fact, Brianne, Erin, Sarah and I have become friends and been able to bond due to previous meet-ups we have attended. It is through previous meet-up opportunities (including time spent together at TPT Vegas 2015) that we have been able to form valuable friendships. I know that I have leaned on each of them for support, we bounce ideas off of each other frequently and share in the general struggle and laughter that comes with teaching. They have quickly become an integral part of my teaching tribe all thanks to previous teaching meetups and gatherings. As we began planning this event I knew that if it provided the opportunity for just one person to make a connection with another educator, then I knew it would be successful. 

As anyone that has planned an event (big or small) would know, sometimes the details can drive you crazy. Through our late night Voxer messages, lots of emails and text messages, and conversations over meals Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 more than a crazy idea or dream, it became a reality. Throughout this process, I learned that working as a collaborative team can be such a rewarding and empowering experience.  I learned that while Brianne enjoyed coordinating details with the location coordinator, attention to detail and decorative flair was truly Sarah's forte. Erin, on the other hand, was phenomenal at gaining outside educator (including that AMAZING dropbox link) and TPT support, and she was the head contact which ultimately was responsible for getting team TPT to our event. I am grateful for being able to work on such a memorable event and could not ask for better friends to share the experiences. 

Teachers Take Sacramento 2016: 

February 19th & 20th

Our weekend of adventures started with a low-key gathering for drinks with friends and ended with even more time for talking and laughter. Each moment will be treasured and I am beyond blessed for each one of the unique and passionate education-enthusiasts I met throughout the weekend. Each and every person brought their passion and love for all things teaching and I left feeling inspired knowing that these wonderful human beings are making a difference in the lives of so many people.
#TeachersTakeSacramento2016: Outside the California State Capitol Building in our fabulous shirts printed by Graphic Traffic by Marty (a local business here in the CA Bay Area).

The Scavenger Hunt: Old Town Sacramento

During the planning process, Sacramento always seemed like an obvious location choice. Full of rich history and fabulous eateries, when we finally decided on a location I instantly started dreaming of fun activities. As a former Sacramento resident (I attended UC Davis--GO AGS!), I spent a lot of time wandering the Downtown and Old Town Sacramento area. After narrowing down a list of ten places, the Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 Scavenger Hunt was born! While I'm still slightly envious of all the bonding time during the scavenger hunt, I can honestly say that I had a blast watching all the photos take over my social media feed. 
Some of my favorite photos from the Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 Scavenger Hunt. One of my favorite parts of this event was watching our hashtag fill my Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds. What I loved the most was seeing teachers creative, sometimes a bit goofy, and enjoy getting to know each other. 

The Main Event: Dinner & Meet Up

Who doesn't love a photo booth?! What I love the most about this adorable prop made by the Photo Booth Prop Shop on Esty is the nod back to social media (Instagram). While mingling and maneuvering between groups of people, I overheard, "I follow you on Instagram!" so many times. It goes to show how powerful social media can be in the teaching community.
The laughter was definitely contagious over on this side of the room!

Giveaways & SWAG: The Support of Companies Both Big and Small

Something that blew me away (as a first-time event organizer) was the generosity of all the companies that sponsored. We had the support of companies big and small and overwhelmingly we heard the words, "Yes! We love teachers!" 

We were blessed to have so many different companies and small businesses donate digital and customized products. Sarah had the great idea of displaying all their donated products in such an elegant manner. Seriously, if you need inspiration for party planning, crafty solutions, or decorations, Sarah is your girl!

Thank you Spelling City, Planbook, Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn Designs, Tailwind for your generous support!!!

Handmade Items You'll Adore: Find them on Etsy

Trashy Crafter
Classroom Friendly Supplies
Erin Condren
Educational Insights
Heidi Songs
Better Life Bags
Maria Dismondy
Nickel & Suede
Kendra Scott
Seat Sacks
Funky Monkey Fashion Accessories 
Front Row
Lakeshore Learning
Pampered Teacher
The Teacher Crafter

Brianne had the great idea of making one of our giveaways an interactive game. Throughout the reading of a story written celebrating our meet-up participants passed a special gift either to the left, right or across the circle. 

After many giggles and attempts to remember which way was which, three lucky winners finally got to unveil their prize.

Thank you to HUE HD for donating such wonderful technology goodies.

Many thanks to Amy, Jillian, and Elliot of Team TPT for supporting and attending Teachers Take Sacramento 2016!

A HUGE shout out to Kat of Sprout Classrooms for handmaking a beautiful wine glass for each one of the attendees. As we were setting them out on the table, I could not help but notice how beauty they brought to our meetup. In the times that I have used my glass since the meet up I cannot help but smile and remember the laughter and joy that accompanied the weekend. It goes without saying that yes, laughter and camaraderie (with wine, of course) is always part of the plan.
A special thank you to Sheila Jane for her continued support and promotion of teacher happiness. What could bring more teacher happiness than delectable, bite-size treats!? Thank for donating edible happiness and continually being a ray of sunshine in the teaching world. Congratulations on celebrating your one-year birthday of www.SheilaJaneTeaching.com. It makes me so proud to be part of THM network!

The After Party: Bowling at Country Club Lanes

Oh boy! Bowling with teachers is a real treat! We don't mind being a little bit goofy and we don't take ourselves too seriously! It was such a blast to end a fantastic evening with such a laid-back after party.
The smiles of this weekend will forever be kept in my heart. The level of passion and love for all things education brought light to my heart and a renewed sense of love for the teacher community.

One of the biggest joys of this event was seeing the passion, inspiration and love that people have for teaching (and all things related to the education of children). 

My deepest thanks to all our wonderful sponsors and everyone that made this event possible. I am forever grateful for the time that was shared celebrating.

(A special thanks to Shyra for taking so many wonderful photos during our event)

With Love from the CAFab4: Erin, Brianne, Sarah & Laura

And of course, we could not leave you out of our meet up! Join in on the fun & enter to win a swag bag!

We hope to see you next year! 


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