There have been quite a few ideas playing around in my head for what my next post would be about. I honestly have 10 different drafts to choose from at this point! I can never just pick one idea and go with it 😛
But one thing in particular that has been weighing heavily on my mind is how we can connect with others. One thing I found that has been super beneficial to my journey so far in Child Life has been getting to know other people who are going through the same kinds of things that I am experiencing. One of the main reasons I want to continue in this field is simply because all of the people I have met seem to become a sort of Child Life family to me. We all try to help and guide each other even though we may very well be competing against each other for a placement position.
With that being said, the following list includes some ways to become more connected within a strong Child Life network…
- ACLP Membership. I know the fees can be hefty, especially considering the income we work off as full-time students, mothers, fathers, employees, etc… However, there are so many resources to take advantage of through the ACLP that make it very worth it! For those of you who are very new, ACLP is the Association of Child Life Professionals. Their networking opportunities include their online forum,
- Involve yourself in Local Organizations. Personally, this meant I followed MCLS (Michigan Child Life Students) and became a member of GLACLP (Great Lakes Association of Child Life Professionals) because I live in Michigan. Generally speaking, find groups on Facebook and other social media that get together every so often so you can connect with other people who live around you.
- Attend Conferences! Most Child Life organizations will host an annual conference. You need to register for conferences; so register as early as possible! Grab a couple of friends and split gas, food, and hotel expenses. Your trip is that much more budget-friendly, and you get to spend a long weekend with your friends!
- College/University Groups. I know some colleges or universities form an official student group for those who attend. This is such a great way to get to know others who are continuing on the same journey that you are, especially because you are all located on the same campus! You can pick each others minds on different ideas, communicate about topics in child life, refer each other to volunteer opportunities, and so much more!
- Student Symposiums. Organizations will host student days or student symposiums. Attend these if your schedule allows for it! You not only get to connect with other students, but you also get to meet Child Life Specialist’s (depending on each organization). Also depending on the activities they plan, you get to exercise some skills that are useful to the field of Child Life!
- Child Life Information Days. Hospitals near you will sometimes host a presentation about what Child Life is, and how it works in their hospital. You get to listen to some speeches, possibly go on a short tour of the hospital, and maybe even snag a few snacks and refreshments if you’re lucky! I attended a Child Life Information Day at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital located in Grand Rapids, MI. I really enjoyed learning more about Child Life and meeting other students who were interested in the same thing that I was.
- Become involved in a Mentor/Mentee Program. I am involved in a program through the GLACLP. This process involves pairing you up with a CCLS based on the answers you provided on your application/questionnaire. You are assigned a few discussion topics each month and are required to communicate either by email/phone or meeting up in person. You learn more through different topics, get to know a CCLS, and have the opportunity to ask questions to someone who has gone through the whole process! It’s such a great experience for networking and learning.
- Volunteer in a Hospital Setting. If you have already begun volunteering in a hospital — CONGRATULATIONS! You are one step closer to becoming certified. If you have not started yet, get in contact with the Volunteer Services Coordinator/Director at your local hospital and check to see if you can volunteer in their Child Life Department. Through volunteering, I have been fortunate enough to meet 3 different CCLSs who have been such a blessing to me! They’re so open to answering questions and guiding you in the best direction that fits your personal journey. You also might have a chance to meet the other Child Life volunteers!
Click on the links below to gather more information!
Happy “connecting” everyone! If anyone else has any other ideas, please feel free to comment below and share your ideas! I know I didn’t list everything that’s possible 🙂