Conference Grant Recipient: Julia Geier by: Amy Bucher

The JL Boston Conference Grant Fund was established to encourage, empower, and enable active members of the Junior League of Boston to pursue training opportunities, through an offset of registration and related costs. We’re excited to share how our 2017-2018 recipients used their awards for personal and professional development.

Our third profiled recipient is Julia Geier.

Conference: Playmakers Conference

Date: October 2017

Location: Life is Good HQ Boston, MA

JL Grant Recipient and Attendee: Julia Geier

Julia Geier attended a two day Playmakers Conference hosted by the Life Is Good Kids Foundation at the Boston headquarters of Life is Good. A Playmaker is someone who spreads the power of optimism to children who desperately need it.

She was pleasantly surprised to find this conference to be a more intimate and connected space where the 45 participants sat together in a circle. The other participants were mostly educators, pediatric therapist, and clinicians. All attendees shared an interest in establishing communities of positivity. Julia’s hope was to learn more tools and methods that she can bring back to JL Boston Arts and use to engage the girls more during activities. 

The conference included learning what tactics and tools to create positive environments. There was also discussion on the power of optimism, and not simply seeing the glass half full, but instead the spots on the glass or simply being thankful that there is a glass. There were exercises to learn and adapt simple traditional games like musical chairs to musical shares. There were minimal rules and it was played to the positive aspects of a traditional game. Musical chairs still involved music and playing with a group, but instead of having some participants have to “lose,” the group works together to fit all participants on fewer chairs. With no time limit or competition, it instead becomes a team building exercise. 

Another powerful message that Julia took away from the weekend centered around “goodifying” an activity. Making small adjustments can create an “o’playsis” (play + oasis). An o’playsis is defined as the space that facilitates social connection, joyfulness, internal control, and active engagement. These new techniques are the small steps that Julia looks forward to bringing to her volunteering and to “goodify” regular routines like opening the morning circle in a different way or engaging the girls in the kitchen more. 

Julia is filled with many ideas to maximize the work with JL Boston Arts using new games, tricks and a framework to spread joy to the Saturday morning activities. The retreat stressed that a Playmaker cannot spread what she/he does not have and this rang true for Julia. She is very excited to share her new skills and and mindset with other League members. Julia was very happy and thankful that she attended this conference and wants to advocate for others to take advantage of the opportunity of applying for a training grant.