by Drew Villaca
Kansas NAfME Collegiate President
Last month I was fortunate enough to attend NAfME’s Virtual Collegiate Advocacy Summit as part of the NAfME National Assembly. I came out of the event feeling refreshed, invigorated, and supported, feelings I had been missing for some time. Current and future educators in NAfME all over the world are coming together as part of #wearenafme.
I’ve learned that now, more than ever, is the time to stand together as educators and as advocates. While many of us are physically isolated right now, and our usual networking methods no longer apply, virtual conferencing opens up an entirely new world of possibilities to take advantage of. We can form professional connections from across the world simply from our homes. And that’s what’s important to keep in mind right now: connections. One major aspect of advocacy that was emphasized to collegiates at the Summit was to focus on our connections. These include connections with each other, with colleagues, with administrators, parents, and leaders from all walks of life. When it comes down to it, and music classrooms need support, those connections can be a lifeline. It is never too early to build support systems.
The virtual Collegiate Advocacy Summit put me in touch with fellow collegiates from all across the country and gave us the opportunity to learn firsthand from great leaders within our organization. Many of my fellow future educators attending the event stated that they wouldn’t have normally been able to attend physically, but due to the event being made virtual, we were able to interact and make connections that would’ve otherwise been impossible. As we future educators long to be back in the midst of doing what we love once more, we must look toward the future, while embracing the present.
We must take advantage of every unique learning and networking opportunity that this unprecedented period of history has given us. We must choose to look at every circumstance presented to us as an opportunity to learn and grow. We must be adaptable, passionate, and help each other to never lose sight of our goals. We must come together to share our love of this great profession and way of life with one another. This year’s virtual collegiate advocacy summit reminded me that while many of us may be isolated right now, we are never alone.