In fact, I haven’t been in Kansas in more 3 weeks! Hopefully I can remember all the stuff I wanted to blog about it!
- I added FOUR new states to the list of states to which I have been: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. The first and last of those were just in airports, but technically I was in those states, so I’m counting them.
- And speaking of technicalities, I can now check off “go to Chicago” on my 101 list, as I had a stopover at Chicago O’Hare. Someday I’d like to go back and actually see the city, but for now, this satisfied the requirement. To prove I was there, here’s a photo I took in the airport.
- And speaking of photos I took in airports, here’s a photo I took in the Denver airport. You’d think that would be a photo from Kansas, what with all the house-lifting, witch-crushing tornadoes they have there, but nope, that was Denver.
- And speaking of Kansas, a few of my colleagues were surprised to learn that the Kansas City we were going to was not in Kansas. I’m not sure why I knew there were two Kansases, one of which was in Missouri, but it probably has to do with my being a huge baseball fan as a kid and the Kansas City Royals playing in Missouri. What I didn’t realize was that the two Kansas Cities are right next to each other, separated by the Missouri River in the north and by the aptly named State Line Road in the south. During our time at the conference, my colleagues and I waxed poetic about wanting to go to Kansas City, Kansas, which seemed like it made more sense than Kansas City, Not in Kansas. On our last full day, we had time between the last conference session and the evening conference party, so we decided to grab a cab to the outlets to go shopping. On the way there, we went over a bridge and, knowing that Kansas City was separated from Kansas City by a river, I was like, “Hey, are we going to Kansas?” And indeed we were. So we got our wish to go to Kansas, which we were mostly wishing to do so that we could later say “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” Which we did.
- And speaking of the conference party, it was quite an event. The conference itself was massive – with 11,000 conference delegates, it apparently brought more than $11 million to the local KC economy for a 3-day conference! – and the party was no exception. They closed off the club district of Kansas City, located in the KC Power & Light District, just for the conference delegates. This area has a bunch of restaurants on the ground level, and then a bunch of clubs on the second level, all surrounding a giant courtyard where they had a concert. Here’s a photo, though it really doesn’t do justice to the size of it (while lots of people were outside at the concert, all the clubs and restaurants were also full).
- And speaking of restaurants, before I went to KC, lots of people told me that KC is famous for BBQ, but I only got to try one BBQ place, where I had an amazing steak dinner; the second night they took us to some museums and had appies stationed throughout the museums, but none were BBQ, and on the third night was the big party, where they had food stations in all the restaurants as well as in a giant food tent and there was where we finally got some BBQ.)) and it really wasn’t very good. I took one bite of the ribs and immediately said, “I get way better ribs at Re-Up BBQ in New West!”
- I was pleased to see that weapons – concealed or otherwise – were prohibited from the conference center.
- One of the side benefits of attending the conference (in addition to the conference itself, which was quite useful in terms of learning stuff that is useful for my job) was that I got to spend a bunch of time getting to know three of my co-workers. At work, everyone is so busy that there is rarely time to talk about anything other than work, but at the conference, we ate all our meals together, got to do some shopping, hung out at the parties, and I ended up being on the same flights home with one of those co-workers, so I got to chat with her while we were traveling too. It’s really nice to feel like I have some friends at work now.
Sarah has brought to my attention an awesome blogger who is doing an awesome thing. And you know how I feel about awesomeness.
The blog in question is called Pseudostoops and the awesome thing being done there is some charitable donations. But not just any kind of charitable donations – instead, this is donations by the blogger based on comments on her blog. So all you have to do is go on over to her blog and comment, and then she will donate 50 cents to the charity of the day. Today’s charity is called The Cara Program:
The Cara Program is a proven, step-by-step program that prepares adults who have struggled with homeless, poverty, incarceration, and other challenges not just to enter but to succeed in the workforce. Human services agencies all over Chicago refer people to the program who they believe are ready to take on the serious work of becoming job-ready (including strict selection criteria that includes a phone interview and a drug test.) The Cara Program is probably best described in its website’s own words:
We don’t shield students from the realities they will face in the workplace; rather, we recreate the workplace here at The Cara Program. We deploy an experiential training approach that reaches beyond what we teach in the classroom and extends into the very fabric of every student’s experience at The Cara Program. We give them a manager, a work team, and responsibility. We make them accountable to themselves, accountable to their team, and accountable to the Cara community at large.
You have to comment by the end of the day, so what are you waiting for? Go on over there and comment!
(And she’ll be doing this for the rest of the week with different charities, so be sure to check back there tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday too!)