2012 Conference: Embracing the Visual World through Deaf Children's Eyes
March 2nd-4th, 2012
Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove
Greetings from the 2012 CAL-ED conference Chair to you!
It was a genuine pleasure to see so many colleagues, friends, and meet new friends at our annual CAL-ED conference! I want to personally thank each of you for coming to stay with us! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Despite the challenging times with our dwindling economy and the cuts we as educators faced, this year the whole approach to the conference took a huge step in a positive direction. CAL-ED traditionally holds their conferences at Marriott hotel, but this year we- the committee and the chairperson and along with the support from CAL-ED board members- decided to create the experience of a retreat style conference. The location of the CAL-ED 2012 conference was held at the pristine Monterey coast on the grounds of Asilomar.
I must admit it took a while for all of the board members to really grasp the whole concept of the conference - retreat style. Everything happened on the grounds of one of California's state parks. The conference meals and lodging were taken care of by the participants and the beach was within walking distance!!
I want to acknowledge all of my Coordintors who are really fantastic individuals who were wiling to meet with me as often as 5-10 times. We came up with a couple of fundraising events, including the raffle tickets and worked closely with the silent auction team. Without my committee, I wouldn't have had an almost stress free conference!!! I am grateful they remain a big part of my life. Thank you Debbie, Angelina, Wendi, Pat B, Brenda, Alan, Jane N, Jane F, Bruce, Saul, Frank, Reyes, Ed and Flo for believing we all can do it with a lot of laughs and FUN!
Based upon the survey of the participants experience, we received many positive responses and encouraging words! Most of the participants expressed joy at the great weather and the beautiful grounds! Workshops were fabulous and many participants were thrilled to see a more hands on approach at most of the workshops. The food was outstanding!!! It was as if a chef had personally created a gourmet meal for everyone. The reviews from the survey did suggest some wonderful ideas and there were quite a good number of recommendations for potential topics for next year's conference.
It is pure relief to know the interpreting was fantastic at all levels. The presenters and the participants all agreed the level of interpreting was professional.
Presenters were personally sent a through list of all the evaluation forms from their workshops. It is with gratitude for the presenters they were able to come and present at CAL-ED. Many did express a desire to present again for CAL-ED.
I had the pleasure to work closely with Dr. Paul Odgen. We came up with a fabulous on the spot, no script presentation of "An hour of Paul's Time". It was created and developed through vp calls- emails and with genuine confidence and very little planning- we wanted to allow the audience to help "run the show", and it was a smashing success! I'd love to do this again with Paul! Thanks Paul! The audience loved it!
There were some mishaps at the conference as it is inevitable. Due to the large number of participants, (Reigstration grew from 100 to 150! We had about 50 more people at the door!) the size for the workshops became a challenge! Some of the participants had to stand or be seated on the floor. My apologies for those who had to endure the discomfort. But I am sure the beach and the sand helped wash away the discomfort! Due to the larger number, there was also a need to increase the amount of food for the breaks!
All in all... the 2012 conference came to a close with bittersweet feelings. Once again we said our good-byes to our colleagues, our friends, and exchanged our email contact information.. We longed to stay a little bit longer at the beach- great weather and to keep the harmony of what we learned from the workshops. We shall do so again until next time! With open arms... here comes 2013 conference!!! I hope to see you there!