Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio partners reconnect in person at the network’s annual summit
The weather may have been a little muggy, but the atmosphere was a breath of fresh air at the May 26 Excel Beyond the Bell (EBBSA) annual summit. Held at the Good Samaritan Center, the summit allowed EBBSA partners to gather, talk, laugh, and participate in team building activities. It was a sight not seen since early 2020.
With more than 80 partners in attendance, the event was UP Partnership’s first in-person event since the start of the pandemic.
EBBSA partners expressed a deep desire for reconnecting after experiencing more than a year of disconnection with their colleagues, partners and friends. So, the EBBSA Training and Capacity work group decided it was time to come together again.
The Big Picture: EBBSA is an UP Partnership professional network of youth development organizations working in partnership with local school districts to make San Antonio a place where all young people have access to the tools and relationships they need to succeed. Through the power of data sharing, collaboration, and advocacy the network supports the expansion of youth development programs and access.
The annual brings together its 45 youth development partners to celebrate the wins of the previous year and build relationships to further their mutual goal in strengthening youth development.
From the Field: Partners in attendance ranged from community leaders and youth-serving organizations to educational institutions and youth development programs.
- Partners gathered together to reconnect and engage in development activities. Many attendees shared that “the opportunity to participate and collaborate together in team activities was a breath of fresh air.”
- Using Open Space structure, attendees brainstormed ideas, helped each other by sharing best practices, strategized, and connected on a deeper level.
- This year’s summit also marked the launch of the Excel Academy’s 2021 cohort applications. The Excel Academy focuses on professional development using the Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships framework.
“The Developmental Relationships framework is critical to the work youth development professionals provide to young people. One activity we used at the summit called concentric circles was a way to bring people closer by sharing thoughts and values with each other from philosophical questions that were asked. Many emotions were experienced as I watched people interact: Crying, laughter, joy.”
Senior Manager of Community Learning
What’s next: As we collectively transition into an “in-person” world again, the EBBSA Annual Summit set a powerful precedent for in-person events in UP Partnership’s near future. The power of collaboration, relationship, and connectivity were on full display at the summit and the partnership looks forward to slowly moving towards having more of these events in the coming months.
Excel Academy Cohort 2 applications are open between June 1 – July 29 to any EBBSA network partner. In August 2021, 15 agencies will be announced for the second cohort.