Usually the term “mandatory training” can be synonymous with “traffic jam” or “papercut”. They can be tedious, lonely, and seemingly insignificant (and that’s coming from someone who loves trainings).
The CADCA Leadership Forum serves as a strong reminder to everyone in the prevention world of what trainings should look like. It is full of honest, real, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations that benefit everyone in attendance.
I previously attended CADCA in 2017 as a member of WellSpring, and it ultimately led to my taking a job in prevention (I’d say that’s a pretty influential experience. Two years ago I wanted to be a book editor, now look at me).
In 2018, as a coalition coordinator, I got to watch my board members and coworkers experience CADCA’s mythical transformative powers.
Most importantly, I also saw partnerships and bonds forming between the eight participants from Pacific County. We started to map out our resources, cell phone numbers were exchanged, and we really started working together instead of next to one an-other.
That’s what I mean when I say “mythical”. Coalition work is hard. Prevention can be more than difficult. But CADCA has a way of doing my job for me: getting people ex-cited and motivated to build a healthier community before they even get on the plane home.
When coalitions have members who drive the conversation and create change them-selves, they’ve taken a huge step towards becoming a ‘forever’ thing. That kind of action and passion doesn’t wane or fade, it’s infectious.
The change CADCA attendees bring back is the attitude that WellSpring is all too fa-miliar with: It isn’t if we can accomplish something, it’s when and how.
For me, that is more powerful than any strategy, media kit, or “SWAG” bag we brought home.