DEN National Institute 2009

The summer will be here before we know it (at least that’s what those of us with snow-covered driveways keep saying) and that means the DEN National Institute will be back.  This year Jannita suggested Hawaii, Steve wanted Cavo, I pushed for Mechanicsburg, PA and when the rest of the team chimed in we decided that we just didn’t know.

So, we figured it would be best to ask the DEN community.  Where would you like to have the DEN National Institute?  Post a comment with your suggestion.

After a week’s worth of DEN input we’ll trim the list down to five choices and put it to a community vote.


  1. Brad Fountain

    Cruise….er excursion anywhere

  2. Diana Kenney

    Monterey, California

  3. Katie Warren

    Hawaii or a cruise to anywhere

  4. Cheryl Woolwine

    Hawaii! you said dream big!

  5. Eric Strommer

    How about:
    Florida Keys
    Las Vegas
    Mackinaw Island MI

  6. Bridget Belardi

    DEN in Dublin or DEN Pays Homage To Steve Irwin in Australia.

  7. Adam Controy

    Boston or
    You can’t go wrong either way

  8. Traci

    Bahama Cruise

  9. Emma

    How about the windy city?

  10. Ruth

    A cruise?? That would be nice…

  11. Kim

    underwater geocaching….anywhere warm, tropical reefs.

  12. Lori A

    I liked the idea of DC before NECC so we only have to pay one airfare, but would also love AZ, Chicago, or a cruise too.

  13. Tracy Selock

    Las Vegas
    New York

  14. Sarah Johangiry

    Hawaii would be pretty cool! Vegas is my second choice:)

  15. Beth Knittle

    I would echo Meg’s choice of Cape Cod and Eric and Traci’s shout out for Boston. My neck of the woods.

  16. stacy

    A cruise would be great. And with the prices as low as they are right now, it would be a wonderful buy. Another fun place is Green Valley Spa…fun for golf players, tennis players, SPA, working out, and just pure relaxation…as well as wonderful places for meeting. Hiking in Zion and horseback riding are other fun things to do there.

  17. stacy

    Green Valley Spa is in Utah..a gorgeous place.

  18. Ruth E Manlandro

    How about a 4 day cruise- some reasonable out of Jacksonville.
    Florida Keys
    Washington, DC

  19. Tim Childers

    Cruise! I didn’t get to go on the last one. I wouldn’t miss this one!

  20. Fred Delventhal

    Asheville, NC
    National Harbor, MD

    I liked the Mackinaw Island idea posted above too

    and the whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon

  21. Chris Taylor

    A cruise! Norfolk now has a port with regular cruises to Bermuda!!!

  22. Kathryn Staton

    Cruise to anywhere or nowhere (lol)
    in no particular order

  23. Howard Martin

    Either cost/work efficient cruise or my new favorite: Spend 3-4 days hiking the Continental Divide with Bear Grylls one day for survival, Mike Rowe to the dirty part of hiking, Josh Bernstein another for the legends of the Rockies, Bruce Parry another to go tribal with Native Americans in the region. Invite the Blue Planet crew to film. Seriously!

    We’ll promise professional educators who will share their experience, we’ll draw straws to see who breaks a major bone for some suspense, and someone else will volunteer to be the bear attack survivor! Come on! It’ll be fun!!

    ..wait, do they have wireless in the mountains?

  24. Adam C.


  25. Tom Turner

    Yet another DEN academic excursion as it was the most work intensive workshop I’ve EVER been on!

  26. Stevie Kline

    Boston PLEASE!!!!

  27. Victoria Schmitt

    Wasn’t it MD last year? Let’s try the west coast – how about San Diego? Hawaii is my second choice.

  28. Caren Appel

    Vegas Baby!

  29. Margie

    I like the cruise idea–I’ve never been on one! It would be nice to do one where we can see wildlife (whales, snorkeling, or something like that).

    Spa sounds good, too. What about Greenbrier, WVA? There is a spa, a beautiful setting, AND they are offering tours of the US Govt Relocation bunker!

    I’m up for anything!

  30. Kevin

    I’m with Lance–Mechanicsburg, PA

  31. Heather

    Cruise was great. I like the idea of Norfolk to Bermuda.
    Since I am from Boston I can go with that idea too.
    Love the ranch idea
    Grand Canyon

  32. Gena Price

    You know Northern Michigan is beautiful in the summer!

  33. Nancy

    Cruise….it was awesome being ‘confined’ with my DEN members….

  34. Traci

    I would SO love Hawaii…(who wouldnt!) but already had looked into flights there… $850-$1000! I would have to win the lottery :P

  35. Heidi Burri

    Love the cruise idea also how about the West Coast-Monterey, Long Beach, San Diego, Mendocino.

  36. Linda

    Out west. Some place in Oregon or Washington

  37. Darcie

    I vote for…

    Washington, DC (like the idea about it being before NECC)
    Inner Harbor, MD
    Asheville, NC

  38. Delta

    Definitely Vegas….

    if that’s not possible then a cruise is acceptable

  39. Linda

    Nashville, the home of country music
    Smokey Mts. East TN
    Memphis, TN, Home of Elvis

  40. Kelli

    Turtle Bay Hilton in Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu is beautiful or a cruise would be fun.

  41. Rachel Yurk

    Hawaii, another excursion or…. Nappa Valley?

  42. Deb Wrobel

    I love the West coast cruise idea
    San Francisco?

  43. Jan Abernethy

    My vote is for Mechanicsburg. Lance needs to be close to home!

  44. Shannon

    I like the idea of rotating the location – last year eastern US, this year western US.

  45. Marcie Lee

    I vote for Santa Fe or the Grand Canyon.

  46. Charlotte Solorio

    Vegas Baby! or Napa Valley is super, too!
    Anyone mention Denver? However, cruise always rocks!

  47. Suzanne

    Since last year was on the East Coast, how about the West? We could do a cruise to Mexico from LA.

  48. Deborah Heigel

    New York City
    cruise from New York to Bermuda and back

  49. Vanesssa Jones

    A cruise
    New York

  50. Robin Martin

    Love the 4 corners suggestions, AZ,CO,UT,NM!!I don’t care where, just post the dates so I don;t schedule a vacation during that time!!

  51. Brenda

    Washington, DC

  52. Jennifer Gingerich

    Go west coast. An Alaskan “excursional” cruise sounds fabulous. Grand Canyon or other outdoor adventure in the western half of the US also would be wonderful.

  53. Kim Harrison

    West Coast would be great … here are my suggestions:
    1) Las Vegas–always tons of fun!
    2) Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes on the Eastern Sierra—hiking, fishing, biking, beautiful during the summer! High altitude fun!
    3) Hawaii—always a blast!
    4) Grand Canyon
    5) Santa Fe, NM—I heard it’s beautiful there!
    6) Mexican cruise out of L.A. or San Diego

  54. Ginny

    cruise to Alaska but have the institute in Anchorage. You can go white water rafting, fly to and land on McKinley, fish, hike…lots of recreation besides the education.

  55. Howard Martin

    If it is an Alaskan cruise, does that mean TomT has to bring a fur bathing suit this time?

  56. Kati

    Florida Keys (fly into Miami / take a DEN bus for the 3-hour drive to the Keys)

  57. Andy Losik

    Mackinac Island
    San Diego
    Flagstaff, AZ

    That shack Dembo built in his backyard.

  58. Tricia Beales

    San Francisco or Monterrey, CA :) I am in!

  59. Tom Turner

    Ummm Howard….you will PAY for that…..oh you will….I won’t subject these poor people to my wrath! ;p

  60. Ruth

    How about having it around NECC…more cost effective for travel…

  61. Paula White

    I’d vote cruise first, out of Norfolk or DC for travel purposes. Then, Las Vegas.

  62. Ken

    Vancouver or Hawaii (just not Oahu)

  63. Cheryl Lykowski

    Cape Cod or Maine would be great! Cruise would be awesome as well!

  64. Gina

    SO many good ideas! And the excursion was by far the most intense. Hate to “choose” a coast. Don’t know the middle of U.S. all that well. Is that a sign??? All I can think of “centrally” is South Dakota. Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse…anywhere we can see Tom in the fur bathing suit would be good! ;~}

  65. Maryann Molishus

    Like Carol Ann McGuire suggests, I think members should volunteer to “host” at your school or district and the best proposal “wins.” You would, of course, have to get a prize too!!! (Like they do for the Olympics.)

  66. Carol Anne McGuire

    Hi Maryann!
    Ha! That’s funny! We’d love to host any event! Our founders are really excited about having educational events at New Village Leadership Academy!
    So if it’s not now, we’ll have to come up with SOMETHING! :)
    Carol Anne

  67. Katie Warren

    Uh, Kim Randall – YOU go first!

  68. Erica

    Boston would be nice, so would Philadelphia. Any place that won’t have any snow!!!

  69. Lee Kolbert

    Club Meds are great for large groups. They are just like cruises but on land. VERY reasonably priced too.

  70. Kim Randall

    @Lee Kolbert, now we’re talking…Turks and Caicos… @Katie Warren Happy to go first. Looks so fun!

  71. Vickie Lamb

    Lots of great ideas out there! I’d love the idea of the Grand Canyon, Denver, anywhere where there’s a lot of outdoor activities. Realistically, however, the cost may prohibit a lot of people from attending. So, why not consider Kansas City (or the Table Rock Lake/Branson area)? It’s centrally located so airfare from both coasts would be reasonable and believe it or not, KC actually has lots of fun activities, restaurants, shopping, NASCAR, etc. Table Rock Lake/Branson is beautifully located in the Ozarks with crystal clear lake water, lots of water and land activities (boating, skiing, shopping, shows, etc.). Just a couple more ideas that may fit into a tight budget.

  72. Linda Rush

    Stanley Hotel – Estees Park, CO
    (hiking, biking, team building and great sites)

  73. Amy Frackman

    My home state, of course! Anchorage, Alaska
    Check out the Dena’ina Center website I have included!

  74. Robin Talkowski

    I think I posted in the wrong place …
    3 places I would love to visit: Alaska; Vancouver, BC; Ashville, NC
    3 places I love: Boston (my home area); Burlington, VT; and the coast of Maine

  75. Susan Plack

    I vote for either a Hawaii, or a cruise, or a Hawaiian cruise. Something on the west coast!

  76. Cathy Houchin

    Grand Canyon
    Cruise anywhere, but Alaska would be great
    Digging for gems, rubies or diamonds

  77. darcy white

    any cruise would be great…the company is what makes DEN the BESTsummer gathering!

    NEVER, repeat, NEVER come to AZ in the summer…it’s 120 degrees.
    i know, i live here!

    oh, and i’ll be “doing” a honeymoon this summer…with our Vegas wedding in March…FYI DENers.


  78. Carolyn Rains

    I would love to share Hawaii with the DEN, but don’t think my $$ would take me that far.

    How about a cruise to Cozumel, or the Yucatan???? It sounds great!

  79. Andy Losik

    DEN NI in Saugatuck, MI would be a blast and I would do all I could to help make it happen. Beaches, hiking, fishing and my DEN Star’s wife’s school could be used. It’s 1/2 mile from the water.

    Personally though I would love to spend the week at Carol Anne’s school in Malibu.

    I am always up for Vegas. DEN Caesars Palace has a lovely ring to it. DEN Palms, DEN Hard Rock, DEN Rio, DEN Mirage, DEN NYNY, DEN TI would work as well. DEN Circus Circus? Not so much. Would be reaaaaallly cheap in the summer.

  80. Lisa Linn

    Hawaii is great but expensive, same thing with a cruise -although that might be more do-able.

    How about:

    Sedona, AZ

    San Diego, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, or San Francisco CA

    I looked up Saugatuck, MI and it looks great too. Check out this site for other great possibilities:

  81. Linda

    Ssn Diego!!!!!

  82. Suzanne

    I love the Alaska cruise idea – as well as Nashville. What a fun place to go! Of course, we would all have to bring our boots and cowboy hats.

  83. Martha Snider

    1. Hawaii–a. Kauai, b. Hawaii, c. Maui, d. Oahu
    2. California–Yosemite, Monterey (I’ve got contacts for both locations, including places that welcome groups like ours)
    3. Alaska Excursion
    4. Australia and New Zealand
    5. Singapore: They have a Technology Mall that’s amazing! I’ve got friends there who might be able to help with logistics.

  84. Genevieve Kahlweiss

    There are lots of good ideas all of you are posting. I like the Alaska cruise or going to Hawaii. Chicago is another place I like too.

  85. Traci

    Hmmm…. Liking that Nashville idea too

  86. Andy Losik

    Wow! 63 different ideas.

    I tabulated the results the best that I could and put them in a wiki.

    View the results and make your best case.

    Thanks Lance and the rest of the DEN crew for giving us a say.

  87. Andy Losik

    cruise anywhere 18
    Hawaii 13
    Las Vegas 13
    N. AZ/ Ranch/ Grand Canyon/ Flagstaff 13
    Boston 10
    Alaska cruise 7
    DC area 6
    Santa Fe, NM 4
    Monterey, CA 4
    Mackinac Island, MI 4
    Chicago 4
    NYC 4
    Florida Keys 3
    Cape Cod, MA 3
    Maine 3
    Vancouver, BC 3
    Green Valley Spa, UT 3
    Asheville, NC 3
    Bermuda cruise 3
    San Diego 3
    Mechanicsburg, PA 3
    Bahama Cruise 2
    National Harbor, MD 2
    Dublin, Ireland 1
    Australia 1
    Aspen, CO 1
    Toronto, Ont. 1
    Maine Cruise 1
    Warm, Tropical geocaching underwater 1
    Jamaica 1
    Alaska 1
    Banff 1
    Montreal, QE 1
    Cancun, MX 1
    Hike with Discovery Network stars 1
    Greenbrier, WV 1
    Mendocino, CA 1

  88. Carolyn Rains

    Don’t forget Cozumel cruise! I would vote for that or Chicago! It’d be great!

  89. Michele Futch

    A cruise anywhere, Boston, or even…Orlando.

    I am from Florida and I know it is corny to recommend Orlando. But, there is so much educational stuff that you can do there that is free for Teachers….Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, and Universal Studios has very cheap rates for teachers.

    Michele Futch
    N FL DEN

  90. Martha Snider

    It seems that my Yosemite missed the tally list. Yet, thanks for the summation.

  91. Janet

    Los Angeles- located in the midst of mountains, the coast, and urban areas, there isn’t a shortage of things to see & do!

  92. Bobbi Gurney

    There are wonderful cruises out of Seattle for Alaska! Very reasonable airfare.
    Another idea on the West Coast is Victoria, BC. The ride from Seattle to Victoria through the San Juan islands would be a remarkable way to start off the party together. Gathering video to use in activities throughout the week. Victoria has a little bit of everything.
    Portland, Oregon is beautiful in July. There are rides on the Columbia river in the beautiful Sternwheeler riverboat. Mt. Hood is 30 min. away w/ an awesome resort w/ great meeting facilities. Amazing hiking, biking, golf, fishing, etc. Yet you are close downtown as well. Lots to do.

  93. Judy Uhrig

    A cruise sounds great- I also like the bus ride down to the Keys idea.
    How bout both?

  94. bev matheson

    Holy cow!!! So many great suggestions,,,A cruise in the Florida Keys, New York, or Boston…I think any fun in the sun while learning on the run is a great idea!! But being around sights rich in American history are also very appealing!!!!

  95. Chelsea Forbus

    Alaskan cruise is a great idea!

    My other choices would be…

    – San Diego, CA
    – Boston, MA
    – Norfolk/Hampton Roads, VA

  96. Ms. De Santis

    I think we should rotate- it’s been on the east coast and I have been able to attend. Since many districts don’t cover the travel costs, some folks may not have the chance to attend.

  97. Melissa


  98. Jim Stewart

    1. Mackinac Island
    2. Chicago
    3. Indianapolis
    4. Las Vegas
    5. Hawaii Cruise

  99. Rita A. Mortenson

    Anywhere DEN people go I would be happy to go!


  100. Jeff Gentner

    Boston or Cape Cod would be the BEST!

  101. Dawn Birchenough

    I love the idea for the Florida Keys, you can go on excursions daily, snorkeling, day cruises, night cruises, kayaking, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, aquariums, museums, and of course the Pirate Walking tours, among others

  102. Wendy Norton

    I like the idea of Boston so much to do. The weather in summer us usually nice, not so hot as Florida. Alaska and Grand Canyon not bad either.

  103. Debbie Bohanan

    I’m with Jennifer Dorman – white water rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It’s on my bucket list!!!!

  104. Charlotte Solorio

    Boston! Here’s our chance to visit the Granary Burying Ground the final resting place of Mother Goose and of course its the burial ground for famous American patriots like Paul Revere, John Hancock and Sam Adams.

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