CPSI Gives Us Wings – Community Service and Personal Transformation

By Naomi Skarupinski, Aquatics Director, Town of Tonawanda Parks & Recreation Department

Don't miss the Creative Problem Solving Institute, June 13-18, 2017!My first encounter with the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) was five years ago, when the conference was brought back to Buffalo, New York. I began my journey in this creative world as a volunteer who was not exactly sure what I was getting myself into. The very moment that I stepped foot onto the campus, I felt right at home. I felt a sense of understanding from the community of people that were all there to learn from one another: a sense of humbleness.

I have spent four wonderful years volunteering as a “Wing” (Buffalo Wing – get it?!), working in a multitude of ways to help the conference run smoothly from behind the scenes. Much like the CPSI parcipants, the Wings have a very strong connection with one another, as well as with the CPSI community. There is a sense of pride and ownership that is formed when the choice to be a Wing is made. Some of my greatest connections were formed during the moments I was able to assist a leader or work late hours to “close up shop” for the next day. I had the priceless opportunity to encounter the value of the never-ending laughs and deep-level conversations, only as a Wing would. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would begin my journey as a Wing. Always.

As a non-traditional fifth-year returner, I have been given the opportunity to be a member of the Sparks/Immersions Program Team. Yes, the experience of having a greater voice and offering new perspective to CPSI is different than being a Wing. However, the role of being a puzzle piece to bring magic to the conference for all participants is the exact same as the role of a Wing. I look forward to learning from those around me and connecting with old and new colleagues.

I currently work as the aquatics director for the Town of Tonawanda, a position I assumed in August 2016. My personal goal upon taking this role was to apply creativity into my daily work. Simple, yet highly effective. The culture I experience at CPSI each and every year inspires me to do better and be the best form of myself I can possibility be.

I have said since my first day in a creative studies course during my undergraduate years, “Creativity has changed my life in the best possible way. I’m not sure if I can put it into words, exactly.” I want everyone to experience that feeling. The feeling that once you have unlocked what creativity is, you truly have no limits.


Walter LeBoulanger

Sounds like a great place to work with the different gifts each student brings to the table. A place which has no limits but if you can teach that to students and experience that freely environment would be great Experiencing a group working on a higher level project and having the opportunity and listening to groups or individually working sounds great. Just helping or guiding a discussion feels electrifying to be in such a setting.

Walter LeBoulanger

It would be a dreamy opportunity to have a CPSI in our district but seems that we are such a small district that we do do our very best at meeting the needs of creative problem in the classroom and invite others to fall-in and get going so those children can have their needs met. It can be had to provide GT students in our single classrooms but it is wonderful when these these GT students are working on problem solving skills and not notice what they are doing. They feel comfortable


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