Dallas City of Learning’s KICKS Conference Set the Tone for a Summer of “Creating Creators”

Summer heat and summer learning are both in full swing for Dallas City of Learning and its partners. Children across the city are accessing summer experiences that will carry them into the school year.

Recently at West Dallas SOARS Camp, young creators were decorating their own journal covers. As they drew and colored, one young man held up his journal, proudly displaying his design to the rest of the table.

The cover colorfully declared “I Am a Creator” – and that’s the idea and message that has been at the center of this summer since planning began.

Getting Ready for Summer

On May 20, Dallas City of Learning and its partner organizations gathered for the fourth annual Summer KICKS Conference. The theme was Creating Creators, which describes the work that connects the various organizations within the Dallas City of Learning ecosystem. Sessions focused on domains of the Creator Archetype, Big Thought’s framework for how creators can be equipped and empowered with the skills they need.

But being equipped with the right tools isn’t limited to youth. Leadership and those on the frontlines of out of school time organizations are creators, too. KICKS Conference provided an opportunity for lead creators to connect with each other and hone the skills needed to create a great summer experience for youth.

The Four Pivots

KICKS Conference began with a keynote speech from author Dr. Shawn Ginwright of Flourish Agenda. He shared his principle of The Four Pivots – creative mindset shifts that can strengthen leadership and increase impact. One attendee noted, “…It was a confirmation of the power of creativity and possibility thinking and where it can take us as we create our futures.” Dr. Ginwright’s speech set the tone for the continuing conversations about creativity.

The Creator Archetype

Each of the conference’s sessions corresponded with a Creator Archetype domain. These included sessions like “Highlighting Collaborative Storytelling Through the Arts” led by Linda Johnson, “SEL Foundations: Sparking Creativity of the Mind,” led by Tiffany Self and “Activating the Space” led by Aaron Glover.

In a collaborative session, Greg MacPherson, Chief Big Thought Institute Officer, and Erin Offord, Big Thought’s Chief Programs and Systems Officer, described the origins of the Creator Archetype framework and analyzed how programs in the Dallas City of Learning ecosystem already support the development of key skills.

Beyond Summer

The value of the Creator Archetype framework goes beyond summer programming.

Dallas City of Learning will be hosting informative sessions about Learning Pathways, an initiative designed to help out-of-school time programming providers identify, measure, and elevate skills youth develop during their programs. Those sessions will be open to Dallas City of Learning partner organizations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Learning Partners cohort, contact Sergio Garcia.