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Knight-Thon Respresents University of Central Florida at 2019 Dance Marathon Leadership Conference

Guest post from Kim Goldklang, the Knight-Thon 2020 Communications Manager: 

As I boarded my flight to St. Louis, I never could have imagined what an incredible weekend I would have at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Miracle Network Dance Marathon Leadership Conference (DMLC). It’s hard to believe that the entire conference was less than 48 hours of programming time, but our team made the most of every minute, dedicated to learning all that could to help us in our mission to raise funds and awareness for Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Day One

The conference began on a Friday afternoon where we met with other members of the Miracle Million Club –  a special group of corporate and media partners, Dance Marathon schools, and Extra Life supporters who individually raise more than $1 million for local children’s hospitals on an annual basis.

After a great meeting sharing our best practices and learning from other Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs, we ended the first night by attending the energizing DMLC Opening Ceremony. During the Opening Ceremony, we reflected on our “why” – why we joined Dance Marathon and why we continue to participate in this movement. We then wrote down our ‘why’ on a Miracle Band and exchanged it with another attendee in the room, sharing our motivation with them. This symbolized that we may all have different reasons why we do it, but we are all fighting together. This truly set the tone for the weekend and made both myself and the entire Knight-Thon team motivated to make the most out of the next two days.

Day Two

Day two began bright and early Saturday morning with a networking breakfast. Conference attendees of similar leadership roles from programs across the country were paired together to learn from another. It was wonderful to meet people from different colleges and universities who have the same responsibilities as I do to talk about our shared successes, challenges and even exchange best practices. The rest of the day was filled with breakout sessions, each one leaving me more inspired than the last. From learning about campaign activation to highly valued tips and tricks of Donor Drive, I couldn’t wait to turn my new knowledge into ideas and put my ideas into action. The day ended with dinner and the Morale Dance Showcase. This is always one of the highlights of the weekend, and we had so much fun watching other teams perform pieces of their line dance. We also had the chance to enjoy time with our fellow Central Florida Dance Marathon friends from  Hatterthon, Stetson University’s Dance Marathon. We danced it out together and went to sleep to prepare for our last day at DMLC.

Day Three

Sunday’s conference programming consisted of more opportunities to absorb ideas, best practices and trends in the peer-to-peer fundraising space, and even one final meeting to connect with programs in the same fundraising category as Knight-Thon. Being able to brainstorm and collaborate with Dance Marathons of the same magnitude as ours was extremely useful and so much fun. DMLC ended with all attendees forming a circle around the ballroom, similar to the Circle of Hope at our Main Event. We were each pinned with a Miracle Flame to show that all it takes is one little spark to get a movement started.

Attending DMLC was an experience like no other that left me feeling empowered and ready to take on the year. Over the weekend, the bond between our Management Team was strengthened and helped bring us together to work as a united front. In our 24th year, Knight-Thon is looking to move forward in the right direction and achieve new heights. With the help of DMLC, we are going to be able to achieve those new heights and make an even greater impact for the kids of our community.

We are grateful to be a part of this movement, and feel so connected now more than ever to the Miracle Network Dance Marathon community.