Eatontown, NJ – For many years, the thaw of Spring has brought a renewed sense of life and rebirth. For Lasallians in DENA, Spring has also been a time of gathering for professional renewal in job-alike workshops. These educators gather to share best practices, to learn from each other, and to grow as Lasallian professionals; returning to their ministries, these attendees often share what they have learned with their peers.

The conclusion of the 2019 Spring Workshop, little did anyone know at the time, started a multi-year adaptation of this gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 session, scheduled to occur just days after lockdowns began in March was canceled; in 2021, an online-only experience was created for communications and development personnel.

This year, cognizant as always of our call as Lasallian educators to meet students where they are, athletic directors, coaches, and athletic staff were gathered. For some of our students, athletics is their pathway to meaning and belonging. Representatives from 7 Lasallian ministries gathered April 4-5 in Eatontown, New Jersey for two days together, growing in Lasallian Association. During our time together, we explored what differentiates Lasallian athletes and athletic programs from those at other interscholastic or independent organizations, how to foster a sense of purpose and formation within our teams, and how we can create a culture of support and foster the vocation to coaching. Our time together was highlighted by our keynote speaker, Mr. Rob Miller. Rob has been a multi-sport athlete, coach, conference commissioner, consultant, and keynote speaker for over fifteen years. His sessions, filled with stories of coaches and teachers creating culture, instilling covenants, and loving their student-athletes, highlighted character-based athletic programs, steps to building successful teams, and ways to lead.

Participants left the conference feeling both charged to implement the many skills they developed and recharged to finish the school year strong. One participant noted that they “[f]eel like a new person with good ideas moving forward.” Another participant expressed a similar feeling: “Being able to have our batteries recharged and knowing that we are not going through this alone. I loved that we could come together both in our love for athletics, but also in our Lasallian mission.”

District leadership looks forward to convening additional job-alike groups in upcoming workshops to build on the successes and to share the continue to form and develop Lasallian professionals across DENA.