I’ve been holed up for a long time, working on my PhD – or not working on it, which is perhaps even harder. It can be a serious and lonely endeavor, which is ironic when you’re talking about Playwork – best understood in levity and community.
Maybe that’s an irony that resonates with you, too?
That’s one (of many) reasons why I’m SO excited for the second-ever Campference next February in Houston, TX. The last Campference was an incredible time, rich with conversation and connection. I was lucky and grateful to reconnect with old friends from across the USA and the UK too. It felt even more magical to introduce them to one another, and rebuild bridges across generations of practice, over thousands of miles.
We are a group of people driven by passion, who care deeply about the children in our care and by our own curiosity. How does play work for children, and how can we best help when something has gone awry? What experiences have other playworkers had, what barriers have they met and what solutions have they found? How do we get in our own way, and how can we improve? At the last Campference, participants from all over the world gathered to swap stories, to laugh and cry together, share ideas and make new friends.
The next one will be at the Parish School, with participants camping out on the adventure playground itself. This is one of our favorite sites in the world, one that is established and creative, utterly saturated with children’s play. The founding Head of AP, Jill Wood, is one of the finest playworkers I have ever met. Her nuanced and rigorous practice has revolutionized my understanding of inclusive playwork. Since she hasn’t (yet) published much, you have to learn from her in person!
The Campference team has been busily meeting for months, chatting over the Leadership Intensive, our financial aid offer, scheduling questions – and, of course, the food! There’s even a tiny bit of time left before Early Bird expires.