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The Dance Marathon Leadership Experience – The University of Central Florida

According to Brandon Huynh, Communications Manager for Knight-Thon at the University of Central Florida, there is no better feeling than being surrounded by over 800 student leaders who share one common purpose: to enhance the lives of children across the country who are and have been treated/treated by a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Knight-Thon had to opportunity to attend Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Dance Marathon Leadership Conference at The University of Maryland this summer and students shared that it completely opened their eyes to how big the Dance Marathon movement truly is.

We sat down with Brandon to hear more about the conference and he said, “This experience has given us an insight to not only how powerful our organization is on campus, but how strong of a movement Dance Marathon is across the nation. We made memories that will last a lifetime and have absorbed so many valuable lessons that will not only shape our Dance Marathon programs, but will shape us as successful leaders in the future.”

When asked what one of the biggest lessons they learned, he was quick to respond: “Our movement is not near over. It was surreal to step into a room with dedicated Dance Marathon programs just like us and sense this overwhelming feeling of passion for what we all do for our hospitals and for the kids. In just the past three years, we have witnessed Knight-Thon reach unimaginable heights and accomplish the greatest of tasks. But, we are not the only ones.

“In our sessions and individual meetings, we were able to learn the hardships and struggles other programs have faced, and how they overcame those problems to redirect their focus back on their hospitals and the kids. No matter the amount of years a program has been dancing, or how much they have raised in total, each and every program who attended DMLC gave us such valuable information which we can apply right back to Knight-Thon.”

Another major takeaway Brandon mentioned was the theme of unity. “Even though we have never met some of these programs or individuals before, we immediately felt like a family through our passion and devotion to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” he shared. “Even our own management team – who all come from different backgrounds and years of experience with Knight-Thon have now transformed into a tight-knit family. The laughs, the lessons learned, and the bonds created is something that would have never happened if it were not for DMLC. We are so ecstatic to take our family and spread the message of unity and togetherness back to our executive board and leadership team, which will ultimately unite our campus and create a community who strives to better our hospital and the children who we are so privileged to serve.”

Speaking of themes, it’s very common to hear the phrase “you’re part of a cause that is bigger than yourself” when you are around Dance Marathon students. It’s a statement that everyone – from a first year dancer to the Executive Director – understands and believes in since it’s all for the kids, but when Southeast Dance Marathon Manager Taylor Dietrich reminded the leaders to not forget that THEY are also part of the bigger something, it finally fully resonated with Brandon. It is the commitment from students just like them all across the nation who are paving the way for the future of Dance Marathon, which in turn creates a foundation of support for our hospitals and sick & injured children.

“We want to thank Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the University of Maryland for hosting this amazing weekend, for giving us the opportunity to network with other Dance Marathon programs and the platform to develop our own even more than ever before,” Brandon said. “Attending DMLC this year has introduced us to the most passionate and motivated Dance Marathon programs across the country who have made a major impact in their communities and in their hospitals. This inspiring conference has served as a constant reminder that we are the change we want to see in the world, our movement is on the rise and will continue to grow for years to come, and that we should live each and every day For The Kids.”