The 34th National Service Learning Conference in 2023– Nashville, TN
From the immediate humidity of the Nashville International Airport, to Tennessee’s famous hot chicken, the 2023 National Service-Learning Conference was off to a great start. The National Service-Learning Conference, hosted by National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), took place in Nashville, TN from April 2-5. The conference took place throughout four days with the fourth, final day being a Day of Service.
Moving along each day felt natural yet unanticipated. Each day started with Lightning Talks, where the presenters at many tables with different topics were ready to talk away and engage in an intimate presentation and discussion with the conference participants for every 15 minutes. The remainder of the days then continued with concurrent sessions where there was more time spent talking about a topic of passion or interest that the presenters and participants shared. In these sessions, we had the opportunity to work with others to brainstorm ideas or share our experiences. From learning different forms of service-learning in classroom settings, to hearing others’ experiences, it was a privilege to be in these spaces. It was often the case that many of the participants were as experienced and knowledgeable as the presenters. These sessions allowed us moments of reflection of how we could relate to shared stories and ways to be more proactive in our communities.
For the Day of Service, we all signed up for a project to engage in at the park out of the given options ranging from picking up trash outside to cleaning the visitor center. Upon arriving at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, the size and beauty of the park caught many of our eyes. The Shelby Bottoms Nature Center was massive and so beautiful with lush green. No wonder over 100 volunteers were able to work on several different projects all at once. Engaging in a small service project for a few hours helped rekindle many of our inner peace and satisfaction of doing service. It was a great day to do service while taking a walk in the park!