There are some scenes I will forever associate with Campference… talking around the fire, watching sparks fly up while people laughed. Pushing wheelbarrows full of potatoes around. Seeing folks who have been emailing for months or years, finally meet face to face. If you were there, you’ll remember. We planned on all that again, in 2022!

There was another set of memories, that others of you may share. There were always folks who couldn’t come, when money or visas got in the way. Waiting for Suzanna to clear Security, with fingers crossed. This past year and a half has brought many challenges, but I’m so glad to say that that year’s playwork Virtual Campference was open to anyone with internet.

You could even still camp, if you wanted!

That playwork Virtual Campference was still short – only two hours. But it still focused on the same two things as always: telling stories and connecting people with playwork. We knew that folks were exhausted, sneaking away for a holiday, nursing themselves through injury. It was so hard to think about adding another thing to your list. Hear me out, on why this is worth it.

  1. Have you had wanted a new playwork friend? We knew that this work was unsustainable alone – and that many people were working alone, either in their geographical region or particular setting. Suzanna’s great skill was connecting people, and she was hoping to inspire new groups to gather (in person or online) before the Campference began. This was your chance to have Suzanna find you a match!

  2. If you were new to playwork and wanted an introductory orientation before a playwork Campference, we were offering that too! Or if you wanted to recommend that someone else learn more about this marvelous field… send them over. The date and time of this session would be confirmed ASAP.

  3. On the 24th of September at 12 pm EST the first hour was a Meet and Greet, highlighting the work of great practitioners and sites. The second hour was dedicated to facilitated conversations on burning issues you identified. There was more about both of these offerings, in the next blog post!

The Campference was conducted in English, with simultaneous translation in Turkish, Portugese, Arabic, and Spanish. Wasn’t that amazing? We had wanted to help offer more playwork content in languages other than English for the LONGEST time. Thanks to some very good friends in Turkey who wished to remain anonymous, that time was then. That meant that Campference could be the most international one yet – and you all knew that was saying something!

4. You need another thing? We got you! How about a PATCH, fully embroidered and pretty dang cool, if we do say so ourselves. That would get mailed out to all participants, and it will look great on you.

We all knew that it had been a hard time for a long time, and signing up for One More Thing might have felt impossible. Here was the thing: no one got it like other playworkers did. That event gathered and celebrated folks who really loved play and who were passionate about making real changes in children’s lives. Didn’t you want to remember how it felt to be with other playworkers? We wanted to keep growing and supporting this international community around children’s play, and you were an important part of that. Come on in!

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