The Topeka High Drum Line marched into our conference last week and started our event with a bang – hundreds of them in fact. They pounded their drums, danced on the stage, and some even stood on their heads. This exceptional group set the tone for an event packed with excitement, enthusiasm, outrageousness and fun.
|Kelli Stegeman, Kansas First News interviews Jane Pauley|
And their following act, Jane Pauley, did not fail to miss a beat. Ms. Pauley delivered a powerful message about using your skills to contribute to your community and make a difference in the lives of others. She was inspiring and genuine as she shared details of her own life, including her struggle with bipolar disorder. She reminded participants of the therapeutic value that one receives from caring for and serving others – and that in doing so, one not only creates a positive experience for the person served, but for the server themselves.
That Tuesday evening, conference participants gathered at the Kansas Museum of History to celebrate Kansas’ 150th Birthday! The crowd ate and drank while listening to the music of Pastense, a Lawrence-based bluegrass band. Participants explored the museum, enjoyed the Kansas-themed cake adorned with a yellow brick road, and many of them took home amazing prizes donated by their fellow members.
The following morning we started with a keynote session led by Marvin Stottlemire. Mr. Stottlemire got the crowd up and moving with a 300-person ‘Rock, Paper, Scissor’ tournament! Following the opening sessions, participants spent the day exploring the many ‘Learning Labs’ offered this year. Some of the well-attended sessions focused on working with sexual offenders, dealing with difficult conversations, and working with aging individuals.
Finally, we concluded our conference on Thursday with one of our most spectacular events - the 2011 Art & Awards Ceremony. This year’s exceptional winners did not fail to bring tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. They reminded us all of the positive people that contribute to our field and may our work worthwhile. For those unable to attend, our Mark Elmore Distinguished Leadership Award Winner was Carolyn Risley Hill. Carolyn is the former CEO of Starkey Inc. and former member of the InterHab Executive Committee. She retired from Starkey in late July and is honored for her exceptional leadership and contributions to InterHab, to her community and to Kansas as a whole. Congratulations to Carolyn and all our exceptional winners and artists at this year’s conference.
Thank you to all who participated in the conference, to all who served on the Conference Planning Committee, to all our volunteers who helped the event run smoothly and to our sponsors who made this unforgettable event possible.
Don’t forget to join us again next year at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, October 17th – 19th!
(more pictures coming soon!)