Next Friday and Saturday (January 23 & 24), CYT leadership will gather for the National Leadership Conference (NLC). This year, the lovely folks at CYT Lafayette, will host the NLC. To get a feel for the magic & mayhem sure to ensue, I did a quick Q&A with one of the NLC coordinators, Dr. Heather LaForge (sound familiar? She’s also the Director of Operations over at CYT Inc.). Here’s what she had to say:
What is the NLC?
The NLC (National Leadership Council) Conference is a gathering of CYT Leadership from across the nation. We gather twice: once in January at the appropriately named “NLC Conference” and once during EXPO.
When did it start & why?
The NLC was started in 2006 and was a gathering of Board of Directors from across the country. As a group they firmed up the CYT Model that we now share with all of our affiliates. Their initial purpose was designed “to give input to the National CYT Board of Directors as it preserves and extends the Vision/Mission/Values of CYT Programs across the nation.”
Is there a theme for this year’s NLC?
We choose a theme for the year that goes along with our EXPO theme and is based on the expressed needs of the affiliates. This year’s 2015 theme is “Unity Starts At Home.” Our 2015 Verse that goes along with our theme is Romans 15:5-7.
Who is attending?
Typically at the NLC we see the Board Chairs, ADs, MDs, and ACs . But in the past years, we’ve seen an increase of other staff too, which has been so great! More board members are attending as well as marketing personnel, costumers, and more. The NLC is a wonderful opportunity to sit down and learn from one another. It’s a uniting experience, as we all realized how connected CYT is.
What is the goal of the NLC?
We believe the NLC is an opportunity for training, the sharing of experiences, and encouragement.
How do you choose a host city?
Well, there’s a number of ways, but since it’s in January and the conference is so short (1.5 days), we try to aim for a warm location! But last year, Atlanta experienced freezing weather while we were there, so our plans didn’t quite work. However, we all made it and had a ball all snuggled together.
This isn’t the first NLC you’ve attended, correct?
I’ve been the past two years, since the NLC went on hiatus while I was the AD of CYT Santa Cruz. When I started working for CYT Inc., Sheryl Russell and I decided that we really needed to offer a time for affiliates to gather outside of EXPO, so we quickly planned the NLC in 2013 in Houston.
What was your fave part about previous NLCs?
My favorite part over the past years has been the opportunity for CYT leadership to gather and really focus on our collective mission of service. Our annual EXPO is super fun, and totally exhausting because of all the students in attendance. However, the NLC is different: still so fun, but really different in its focus. We gather without the students, as like-minded adults, to discuss the best way to lead our kids. I love hearing the stories of what goes on around the country. We get dedicated time to talk about potential ideas for the nation. The My CYT Story Competition came out of an idea from CYT Indy at the 2013 NLC.
What is your job at the NLC this year?
I’m hosting again. I’m sure someday people will get tired of seeing me up front (since I host at EXPO too).
For now, however, I host because I’m the one who works with the host city and selects the speakers. I love working with people on what they will share. It feels like we never have enough time for all the ideas!
Any shout outs to key peeps helping out at this year’s NLC?
Dana Berkus (Board Member of CYT Lafayette) has been incredibly helpful. She found our hotel, arranged our meals, got a guest speaker, etc. She’s amazing! Also everyone at CYT Lafayette has been incredibly helpful, as well as our CYT Inc. staff of course.
Ok. Last question. If the NLC was an animal, what animal would it be?
A Narwhal. (Obviously)
Wow. A Narwhal in Lafayette. Well, I for one, can’t wait to see those pictures.Thanks for the deets, Heather!