In case you haven't been paying attention to the lovefest happening below, here's more.
All the CSUWP folks are safely back home from the NWP and NCTE conferences. In some ways, attending these conferences generate the same feelings you have at the conclusion of the summer institute. You're renewed, you're brimming with new ideas, you're tired and sleepy, you've seen firsthand what it feels like to make a difference, you're fat from all the snacks, you're tired and sleepy, and you're convinced you can conquer the world. (Did I mention you're tired and sleepy?)
As a site director, I get to have another great feeling, though. This morning as I was engaged in my annual begging session for more CSUWP $ from the department chair and dean, I was able to say with confidence that CSUWP is making a tremendous difference, well, pretty much everywhere. Did you know that over 530 teachers participated directly in CSUWP programming last year? When you think about how many kids those teachers teach, even a conservative estimate means we've reached about 21,000 students last year alone. Over 125 of them participated in CSUWP programs like Young Writers and book clubs.
And that's just locally. What was really cool at the conference was to see what a difference we're making nationally as well. You know, sometimes we get our noses so close to the grindstone that we forget that anyone notices or cares what we're doing. Sometimes we don't even notice. But here's where my pride and joy comes in. It was easy to notice this week as I saw Bud with all his groupies (one of them has already e-mailed me for his address. She sounded a little desperate like she had to reach him NOW. Creeped me out a little.); Emily, Tiffany, and Rebecca presenting their little hearts out at NCTE; Cameron taking notes as fast as he possibly could in NWP sessions and carrying laptops, luggage, and LCD projectors without being asked; Jaime Wood glowing as she talked about her new book and her new life as an MFA student in St. Louis; and Rhys Roberts, Stacey Brown, Darren Marshall, and Stephanie Rector soaking it all in. I was in awe just standing by and watching.
And NWP leaders and fellows around the country are noticing your good work as well. Trust me, in four short years, CSUWP is already considered a pretty amazing site.
That's why I am so very proud of all of you. And when I say "proud," I don't mean in a taking-credit sort of way. I mean proud that I get to know you and stand by and watch what you'll do next.
You all are rockin' the world.