ArkansasAcro's Heartland Jam

     One month ago, I got to tell you all about my experience at the Heartland Regional Acro Jam. Then, it was hosted by the fantastic Fayetteville crew. Now, I get to share with you the experience of hosting the event in our ConwayAcro community. For me to attempt to share the entire weekend with you in one blog post is absolutely unreasonable. There were so many moments worth describing. Instead, I’m sharing the going-ons from inside my head. This weekend was special, and I’m excited to see it continue to thrive across the Heartland.

     Conway is an energetic and expanding city. When I first moved here over a year ago, I would not have told you that. If I did, it would have been begrudgingly. While my heart still sits happily in the rockies, I am happy to say that this city really is something special. Friday night began with dinner at a locally owned restaurant called Zaza Fine Salad and Pizza. We had top-notch coffee from Blue Sail Coffee afterwards, then jammed at Gravitas Martial Arts that evening thanks to the kindness of Jonny Wester. While it can seem, on the surface, that the city is saturated by chain restaurants and corporate businesses, there are special places that continue to be planted and thrive.

 A rare sight: Josh Young flying

A rare sight: Josh Young flying

     There is so much value in being a student. I got to experience this when Josh Young lead two workshops on Saturday at Sonshine Academy. Josh and his wife Lizzy are a powerhouse couple in the acro world (they also are new parents to a three week old baby David!) and it was an honor to host him here. We were not just taught shiny new tricks, but foundational calibrations and moves that will help me grow in all aspects of my acro practice. The quality of instruction that Josh shared is something I aspire to in my own teaching, and an expectation that will be set for all ArkansasAcro instructors.

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     We are doing a good job. In self-assessments of this business, I am so critical of myself and the actions I take to move this group forward. Restoring things is one of my strengths, so I am constantly looking for what is broken. While it did include constructive feedback, the information and encouragement that Josh shared with us affirmed that we are on the right track. Yes, there are things that need to be shifted. This is a young business being lead by four passionate individuals who are hungry for that feedback, so his words were taken to heart. Keep an eye on us, great things will continue to come from this group!

     Communication within the communities is crucial to success. Our weekend ended on Sunday morning at space provided by Arkansas Circus Arts. After some time spent jamming, a few of the ArkansasAcro leaders sat down with Justin and Samantha (leaders in the Fayetteville community) to share feedback from the weekend. The value in a candid conversation about logistics and planning strategies is immeasurable, as any large scale event starts with a small conversation about big ideas. We must be willing to be transparent and honest about what is good, and what needs to evolve for success to happen. I’m grateful to be in a community where that is the standard.

 Winding down after a full day of workshops

Winding down after a full day of workshops

     Heartland Jams will happen every month in a new community, and ArkansasAcro will do our best to be present. If not, I highly encourage you to show up and be present. If you want to get to know the acro community, you have to think bigger than just one city or state. We are around the world, and each community has something special. Tulsa is next up, I know they’d love to see you there.