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April 11, 2024

Suncoast Remake Learning Days Kick-Off Family Reunion

Laurie Miller, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Dear Friends,

As you know, there’s lots of different kinds of families—nuclear, extended, family of friends, and family of co-workers. I’m lucky to be a member of many, including one of my favorite growing families, the Suncoast Remake Learning Days family.

For those that don’t know, Suncoast Remake Learning Days is a free, family-friendly learning festival taking place from Saturday, April 20, through Saturday, May 4, 2024. This is my third year participating, and it recently struck me that the community of people involved in making this festival happen has become its own family of sorts. In fact, the recent #SuncoastRemakeDays Kick-Off Party on Zoom felt like a family reunion, but, you know, without that wacky uncle or family drama that everyone has and with lots of cool aunts and uncles that everyone wants. Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering, “How was the Kick-Off like a family reunion?” then keep reading.

Like many family reunions, we played games:

We started the morning of the Kick Off with some guessing games (aka poll questions), such as “What is the final total number of events for this year’s festival?” (304) And “How many partners/hosts are participating in this year’s festival?” (277). We also played Rock, Paper, Scissors with reaction symbols. It was a showdown between 12 different teams! Yes, this family is big!

Our favorite aunt reminded us of why we’re together:

We all have that aunt that everyone loves. The one that can talk sense into your craziest cousin and remind the family that it’s important to be together. At the Kick Off, we were reminded why this festival is so important – that learning is not limited to schools. Learning exists in all areas of life in multiple locations. Suncoast Remake Learning Days builds on the assets and strengths of our region, reinforcing the knowledge that Learning Happens Everywhere and affirming that we are working together toward greater outcomes for our children and families.

We had an awkward bonding activity:

I was once talked into playing the game Dungeons and Dragons with my family, and calling it uncomfortable is an understatement. A lot of people might say the same about break-out rooms. Yes, they can be awkward, but like most bonding activities, it helped deepen connections and got everyone psyched for each other’s events.

We talked up some friendly competition:

Nobody competes harder than family. My family will make friendly bets on literally anything and we never give out any prizes. In contrast, the Suncoast Remake Learning Days family was invited to compete in the upcoming Social Media Contest from Monday, April 15 to Saturday, May 4 and there’s going to be a TON of prizes! 

Our trendy cousin shared a cool new app:

Listen to our cool cousin and download this app, SRLD2024, ASAP! It lists all 304 events that make up Suncoast Remake Learning Days 2024. Plus, it’s free, it’s in English and Spanish, and you can search events by date, county, or your specific interests. You can even bookmark sessions and get personalized event recommendations. It’s awesome and convenient! 

If you haven’t downloaded it yet, stop reading this and do it now. I’m not kidding. I’ll wait…. 

Our whole family is putting together a musical playlist:

Many families fight over a playlist, but not the #SuncoastRemakeDays family. When asked, “If you could play this group a song to evoke a specific emotion that you think is appropriate for this moment, what would it be,” people responded with: I’m So Excited, Don’t Stop Believing, Can’t Stop the Feeling, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, I’m Walking on Sunshine, Good Vibrations, Celebrate Good Times, and more. These songs are being compiled for the Celebration Breakfast on June 13. Mark your calendars for that! Also, families planning their next gathering at their current one is soooo family reunion, right?! 

We took family photos with matching swag (and not everyone had their eyes open):

Check out this photo below. Notice the matching #SuncoastRemakeDays goodies in the background? See how my eyes are closed (top row, 2nd person to the left)? Yep, questionable photos happen to all families.

It was a little crazy, but ultimately, we were reminded of the strength of our family and how much we like each other:

Yes, there were some Zoom challenges and wonky moments, but the Kick-Off ended strong with an inspirational quote by Mr. Rogers that made all our hearts smile – “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then, there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

That’s what the Suncoast Remake Learning Days family is to me – a family of heroes. Thank you to The Patterson Foundation and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-level Reading for supporting this festival and the heroic family of people making it all happen. I can’t wait for our next family reunion. See you at the Breakfast! 

Your friend (and #SuncoastRemakeDays family member),

Laurie

 


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