Guest Post: My NON-CON Experience

Guest post by Anna Wernimont, AmeriCorps VISTA Change Agent for Community Youth Concepts


As a newbie to Des Moines, joining YNPN was a great way for me to be introduced into the exciting and energetic non-profit world. No matter your age or experience, transitioning is one of the most difficult things we go through as individuals. As I navigate through the unknown, having the opportunity to build my social and professional networks while also being exposed to continuing education and support is extremely valuable.

It’s exciting to be able to have YNPN as an avenue for so many of us in Des Moines as they provide a wide variety of engaging opportunities such as the NON-CON mini conference. At the beginning of January, YNPN hosted their first conference, which was, as the title suggestions, non-traditional and non-scripted. (Being inventive is nothing new to this group of exceptional leaders who make up the YNPN board. This is encouraging for us less-than-average creative people.)

With over 75 people at the non-con, the room was energized. We opened up with an improv session that highlighted difficult conversations common in the nonprofit sector, with commentary from  the crowd and Sherri Nielsen, Executive Director of Easter Seals, offering us her wise insight for common situations in the non-profit world which require delicate handling. From there we had the opportunity to choose two of four breakout sessions hosted by our very own young professionals of Des Moines.

I enjoyed attending the conference because of how comfortable the environment was.I engaged with old friends and met new ones, explored topics that spark my interests, and was reminded of the value behind why I choose to do the passionate work I do. I was uplifted reflecting on the natural talents I offer to my projects (Ariane Criger; The Creative Design Process) but also felt supported discussing the critical importance of taking care of our personal wellness first and foremost (Emily Boyd; Burnout Prevention).

I am already eager for next year and to see the ways in which YNPN can expand upon NON-CON and their operations as a great network in Des Moines.

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