Passing the Baton

EdCamp Omaha says farewell to Josh and Kristina

For Josh Allen and Kristina Peters, it was about more than just starting, organizing and leading an event in Omaha. It wasn’t about seeing their ‘names in lights’. It wasn’t even about watching the people come through the doors in droves. It was (and still is) about the conversation: it’s about connections; it is about relationships built. Ultimately it is about passion and the love of teaching. Josh and Kristina love what EdCamp is all about. That love is why they started EdCamp Omaha six years ago and that same love is why they have said farewell to leading EdCamp Omaha last Saturday.

EdCamp was originated in Philadelphia and was the product and spin off of BarCamp. BarCamp was a ‘free day’ for creatives, techies and entrepreneurs to unite and learn from each other, connect and dream. Educators saw this movement and wondered, ‘why not do this for the education field?’ So EdCamp Philly was born in 2010. The baby grew; and it grew fast. That same year, Kansas City caught wind of EdCamp and berthed their own. As EdCamp KC took its first step in November 2010, Josh and Kristina were there. Josh returned to Omaha with colleague, Michelle Baldwin, full steam ahead and in March 2011, EdCamp Omaha opened its doors at the UNO Alumni Center. Although there was snow on the ground, 60 attendees showed and EdCamp Omaha had officially made its mark. Kristina was there in attendance and took over for Michelle after she moved to Colorado.

EdCamp Omaha is a place where relationships have been built and people ‘come for the conversation’. “Being able to come talk to people with the same passion as you is huge,” Josh states. Teachers are ready for ideas so they give up their own time to come and get rejuvenated and have a fresh outlook moving forward.

People show up from not only Omaha, the Metro area and not even just from Nebraska. EdCamp Omaha has spawned Camps in Dallas, Des Moines and many more. People come and are drawn because of the uniqueness of the atmosphere and because of it’s relatively small size, ‘everybody gets a voice’ at EdCamp.

Josh Allen greeting Edcamp Omaha attendees on Saturday March 19 at UNO’s Community Engagement Center

The last five years of EdCamp Omaha have been a well oiled machine with Josh and Kristina in charge. UNO being the site every year provides a place that has no tech issues, great wireless service and a feel-good atmosphere. “UNO is a great host, the building is fantastic,” Josh noted. EdCamp Omaha is sponsored by the College of Education at UNO as well as Striv, Inc., NETA and Common Sense.

It has been a ultra successful six years for EdCamp Omaha with so many thanks for all the work, time and commitment Josh and Kristina have dedicated. But as their lives change and their schedules fill up, it is time to pass the torch to new leaders. “We have phenomenal educators in the midwest, in Nebraska, that are willing to do this and they just need the opportunity. We’ve done the groundwork and now they can take it over.” Josh says.

Being cognizant of the work load it takes for the event and believing in what they have started gives them confidence for what lies ahead in the future for EdCamp Omaha. They know it deserves better than leaders unable to give it 100%. They are ready to let go of the reigns. They are saying goodbye until next year because when asked if they will be attendees at the 7th EdCamp Omaha; a resounding ‘yes’ was heard.

Thank you again to two trailblazers, bringing new ideas and a re-energized persona of education.


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Written by Jessica Siebert (StrivU Director)

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