If You Build It, They Will Come
One of my all-time favorite movies is Field of Dreams. The premise of this movie is for a farmer to plow under his corn field and build a baseball diamond in order for the “ghosts of baseball” to come and play. Having visited the site of this movie in Iowa and playing on that field, I can attest to its “magic”. People do come.
I use this as my example in the response to our May 23, 2019 Michigan ACE Initiative Conference. We know there is a thirst for information. We know there is a critical need for the social networking that can reinforce efforts across the state and which reaffirm the importance of ACE. What we didn’t know was how many would show up for a one-day conference.
Before our program was finalized, we opened registration and were simply blown away by the response. We are now approaching 500 and will likely have to limit future registration. We originally wanted to described this as an “annual conference”, which then commits our Initiative to holding it again each year.
We were advised that prudence dictates that we can’t make that commitment—however, in my mind, we are now in our third annual conference. The first being in March of 2017 that formally launched the Michigan ACE Initiative as funded by the Health Endowment Fund. Then in June of 2018 we partnered with Mott Children’s Health Center for their Tuuri Day—that was an ACE Summit; and now our May 23rd conference. Based on this I have no doubt we will do this again in 2020—either directly as the Michigan ACE Initiative—or partner with others to do so.
Why do a conference? Many reasons. Some formal. Some informal. But we have approached the work on ACE in the context of a cultural shift that will take a generation to complete. In doing so, it then becomes very important to keep supporters, local Master Trainers, our steering committee members and their constituents, and others aware of the status and events taking place. To the degree we can augment that will new data, produce more relevant documentaries that can be easily assessed, and continue to raise the public policy need—then value is achieved.
I will continue to believe that we can continue this effort and bring the ACE Community together – as we know they will come.