When I was a kid my dad bought a ski boat; our family had been through some rough patches, my brother and I were just about to launch into puberty, so we all needed to get out of the house before we drove each other nuts. It was just after my brother and I had seen Star Wars for the 13th time in the theater; we came home on our bikes and there it was, the new focal point for our family. My dad went in halfsies with his best friend, so our two families were about to spend a lot of time together. To be honest, I don't know that a single one of us had ever water-skied before my dad bought that boat.
Looking back, I know that I must have spent 1000 hours behind that boat, skipping across the water at the end of a rope, trying to perfect a turn on a slalom ski, diggin deep turns or holding on for dear life while an inner tube took to the air after hitting a rolling wave at 25 MPH. The funny thing is, with all those hours I spent, with all that effort I put in, all the sore muscles and techniques mastered, it wasn't the skiing that made a bit of difference in any of our lives. It was the countless hours around the campfire, the guitar songs and the washing dishes at the spigot because it was the kids' turn to clean. The ski boat was fun, but it was just an excuse to bring like minded people together, a reason to be a tribe of folks who loved to laugh and spend time in community.
Here it is, 30 years later, and I had the opportunity to do something I love in a location that seemed like a dream come true. For the last couple years I have spent countless hours preparing for and presenting at CUE conferences and #CueRockstar events - it is something I love to do and I learn a ton every time I participate. This time however was special: CUE Rockstar Admin - at the Skywalker Ranch in Lucas Valley, California. Wait, what? Seriously? Yes! I got to do what I love to do, in a place that produced something I have loved since I was a child - STAR WARS! Not only did I get to gig with some amazing EduLeaders, which was such an honor, but I got to present in the private screening room at the Skywalker Ranch. Imagine a tiny 20 seat movie theater with surround sound and a huge screen...it was as good as you are imagining. Each session was filled with inspiring new friends who had more to share with each other than any presenter could have dreamed to squeeze into even the best slide deck! At one point, I stopped the show and realized:
1. I am in George Lucas' private screening room
2. I have the internet and an Amazon Video account
For $19.95 I bought The Force Awakens and we all sat in awe of what we were watching and where we were watching it.
I have to say, as nice as the digs were, as inspiring as it was to walk the same halls walked by those who created each iconic episode of my favorite film, as honoring as it was to share my ed-tech ideas with administrators from around the country, it turned out it was the community that made the memories and stole the show. #CueRockstar Admin was an opportunity to circle up a tribe of like minded people who all needed a place in late April to lean on one another, to swap stories of rough patches and make connections for future fellowship.