This year I had the privilege of attending the NDSC Convention for the first time as a representative of Camp PALS. It feels like just yesterday that I was asked to come and we were preparing the brochure and scheduling flights. The night before the convention, I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen preparing a poster and wondering about what it was going to be like. It was more than I could have hoped for. When my plane landed I met up with Jenni and Jason Newbury. Jason was so energetic that it made me even more excited than I already was. We set up our table and soon parents and families started streaming into to the exhibit hall. Many came up to our table and said, “I’ve heard of you guys from my message board,” or, “I was talking to another parent about your camp.” It was hard to believe that what started four years ago as a program that had 16 campers was now a program that was being talked about states away.
That evening Jason Toff met up with us after being delayed several hours at the airport to join in on the fun. Getting to spend the weekend with the two directors was inspiring. As I heard them preparing for their presentation the next day, it amazed me how much them, Josh and Abby have already accomplished. Their determination and spirit was continuous and shined through as we joked about starting Camp Pals Nursery and a Camp Pals Nursing Home. (So be on the look out!)
Saturday during the day, Jason Toff and Jenni met up with Molly Cyman and her family and went to watch her presentation about fitness. We are so proud of Molly for being a presenter at the conference! Congratulations Molly!
Saturday evening Dan Chaplin and his family were kind enough to take us out to a fabulous dinner. We crossed over the state border into Kansas and ate a fun dinner at Fritz: a burger joint where your food is delivered to you by a train that runs along the top of the restaurant. Dan told us all about baseball and fantasy football, which he plays with his counselor, Max, throughout the year. He tried to convince me to join the league and really wants to start a Camp PALS league. It was wonderful to talk to him and see him so excited about camp and about all the activities he had attended at the convention.
On Sunday we had our workshop about Camp PALS where Jason Newbury did a whole segment on this year of camp with a PowerPoint presentation that he made. He did a marvelous job! Jenni and Jason Toff elaborated on camp and discussed the history of PALS.
Overall, the convention was a success! We reached out to many families and and expect to see some new faces - both campers and counselors - at camp next year. With next year’s convention in Boston, hopefully we will have a larger group from camp! So mark your calendars: July 11-13 2008!