By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
Many years ago at an inclusion conference, Paula Kluth and I were talking about how wonderful it is to see all the parents get “re-energized” by attending. She said something that has really stuck with me. She said that we all needed to come “drink from the well” every once in a while. I wrote an article short after that for my local organization’s newsletter about “drinking from the well” in regards to parent attendance at conferences, meetings and such. I think it also applies to affiliate leaders as well.
Coming back from the NDSC convention in San Antonio, I was recharged with enthusiasm from seeing old friends, meeting new ones and extolling the virtues of DSAIA to anyone who would listen. And I looked around and saw many parents getting that much-needed drink from the “well”. For affiliate leaders, that thirst may go beyond parenting issues, health concerns and educational strategies. It may morph into thoughts about the sustainability of their organization, making the most of their resources, and reaching as many in need as they possibly can.
That is why Down syndrome support group leaders will find the DSAIA “well” so refreshing. Bringing your leadership to Washington D.C. in 2012 will mean more to your organization’s continued success than you can imagine. For those who attend each year and continue to bring more and more of their board and staff, it’s obvious to them that they are investing in their organization when they pay that registration fee. What about you? I can’t tell you what you will take home from the conference…I can only tell you that my first DSAIA conference was a real eye-opener. I attended alone, but I made sure that I brought board members with me the next year. I knew that I could not obtain this type of knowledge or amount of resources from any other source. It was almost overwhelming.
As groups begin to register for the conference and we open our online community, I think it is time to take the cover off. So, I invite you to come drink from the well February 29 – March 3, 2012 as groups from all over the country meet to learn, to share and to connect. Now, if you’ll excuse me….we’re busy filling up the well for you.
To register or find out more about the upcoming conference (which includes NDSS' Buddy Walk on Washington) visit www.dsaia.org/conference today!