Coming in February: Second Virtual Statewide Child Preparation Activity Swap
By Lindsey Snow, Regional Technical Assistant
Building on the success of last year’s first virtual Child Preparation Activity Swap, a second event is planned for February. The activity swap facilitates the exchange of ideas about child preparation activities among child preparation workers. The February event will feature activities related to the holidays.
While activity swaps had been held in the past at the annual permanency conference, COVID restrictions propelled the first statewide swap held virtually last June. An overwhelming success, every region of the state was represented, and many ideas were shared on how to provide child preparation services creatively given the limitations imposed by a worldwide pandemic.
Ideas ranged from having youth create their own constellations to playing sibling charades through Zoom. Presenters shared books and websites that could be used to create child preparation activities for both in-person and virtual sessions. The activities shared will be added to the next update of the Child Preparation Recipes for Success (located in the SWAN Toolkit).
The idea for the 2020 statewide virtual swap grew out of conversation within the Southeast Child Preparation Forum. Current facilitators, Gail Trambaugh of Pinebrook Family Answers and Liz Cady from Children’s Choice, Inc, quickly realized at the onset of the COVID pandemic, that it was more important than ever to keep the group’s members connected to discuss ways that child preparation work could continue to be successful. The Forum met virtually, and they began to wonder how affiliate agencies in other regions of the state were providing child preparation services amid the pandemic. With support from the prime contract, the statewide virtual swap came into being.
Before COVID-19, Gail and Liz never imagined creating a group that would include workers from the entire state. They have always acknowledged “how challenging child prep can be” and used the Southeast Child Preparation Forum to “build cohesion and community.” COVID-19 had the potential to diminish their enthusiasm, but instead, it pushed them to become more connected than ever before to child preparation workers across the state.
Lindsey Snow is a SWAN regional technical assistant based in western Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the SWAN prime contractor, Lindsey worked within the network as a permanency service coordinator for over ten years. Lindsey is always amazed by the creativity of workers throughout SWAN and is honored to help share their success stories.