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#1 of 39 Old 08-07-2006, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So Mamas,

The conference has come and gone, I personally think it was an awesome experience. So many crafty, artsy, wonderful mama's making amazing carriers~! Not to mention the coolness of meeting people like Susan, creator of the Maya Wrap, and Dr. Maria Blois author of "Babywearing The Benefits & Beauty of This Ancient Tradition" .

Kozy Kelly helped me out a ton, by loaning me a Kozy to wear my 14 month old daughter in for about 14 hours over the whole weekend. Wow!! What a great carrier! I am in love! I HAVE to have one!!!

The fashion show was a hoot! Beatutiful carriers, and we all agree there is nothing sexier than a man wearing his baby!

Thanks so much to Jenrose for all her hard work and for allowing me to be a part of it all! Thanks to all the volunteers and the work they did for all of us to help it to be such a great event. Thank to all the vendors who worked so hard not only for themselves but for each other, helping those who were by themselves get out of the exhibits hall to get kiddos from childcare or food to eat, proving that we are truly a community! Thanks also to Kelly for all the effort that went into the childcare.

Blessings,
Nichol
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#2 of 39 Old 08-07-2006, 10:36 PM
 
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I need a gm wrap!

Leslie-mom to Carson and Madison :, Sage Tree :, and Buckbeak, Tonks, and Luna
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#3 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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It totally rocked! I'm working on uploading a ton of pics and will post the link to the photos when I'm done.

ETA: I had never really met or talked to many MDC mamas but I met so many wonderful local gals at the conference! Thankyou all for your volunteerign and making it a HUGE success!

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#4 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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Wow, it sounds like it was awesome!!
I would love to see those pics

Sandy, proud mama and henna artist. :
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#5 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 10:49 AM
 
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Kristine, you met us....its now trying to figure out user name to real names!

Leslie-mom to Carson and Madison :, Sage Tree :, and Buckbeak, Tonks, and Luna
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#6 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 11:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by frogger
Kristine, you met us....its now trying to figure out user name to real names!
Oh yes! I recognized your MDC name because you told me but I will not recognize many others, lol.

Here are pictures I have: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v149/slingpics/

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#7 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamafae = Nichol Exhibits Coordinator and lunitic for not sleeping enough!
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#8 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by frogger
I need a gm wrap!
yeah well when you're not looking I am SO going to steal your Kozy!
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#9 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 02:32 PM
 
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Nichol did you see this one of us
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...100_5533-1.jpg

and Kristine, you got a pic of the upside down onbu! I was thinking, maybe it didn't work the right way since she was bfing and not that small of a mama. Maybe it was more comfortable the way she had it?

Nichol are you going to the nino meeting next tuesday?

Leslie-mom to Carson and Madison :, Sage Tree :, and Buckbeak, Tonks, and Luna
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#10 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Boy don't we look happy and exhusted all at the same time! LOL. Thanks Kristine for the posting of the pics! I will get mine up asap I promise!
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#11 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Great pics, ladies!

Keep them coming!
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#12 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Wow that looked like a great time

Kristine, in some of your pics it looked like they making a Onbuhimo? The ribbon on the edge of the straps is very pretty!

What were some of the topics covered?

hope you guys don't mind me butting in

Sandy, proud mama and henna artist. :
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#13 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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I just saw the schedule with the session listing. So many great topics!!!

Was there talk of the next one?

Sandy, proud mama and henna artist. :
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#14 of 39 Old 08-08-2006, 05:58 PM
 
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Next one in 2008, probably on the East Coast.

There will be a regional one at Reed (we'll have the conference center, though!) in 2009.

Kristine, Nichol, Leslie, I love you guys.

ETA Heh, you can almost read the "Feed me!" on my nametag in that pic.
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#15 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love you too Arwyn you super volunteer you!

I am looking forward to having a regional here that would be fun. In the mean time lets all plan on making the PDX NINO group rock the west coast!!
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#16 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 02:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogger

and Kristine, you got a pic of the upside down onbu! I was thinking, maybe it didn't work the right way since she was bfing and not that small of a mama. Maybe it was more comfortable the way she had it?
Hey that was me! You are totally right. I felt so crappy for bumming you out Kristine I actually asked a couple of other mama's if they wouldn't mind modeling it, but everyone had exhausted babes. Lily couldn't latch on without the onbu upside down and the Maya wrap lady (what was her name : ) said that she thought it showed versatility. That was true!!!! XXOXOXOX Jessica
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#17 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 03:02 AM
 
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The next one in three years!?!? Way too far away. I definitely think we should stage another, more modest, con MUCH sooner than that! Next summer, one day, ten booths, five classes, $12 all day. Whatcha say!?

Did anyone read the Willamette Week's announcement for the conference? :
My main suggestions for next time:

1. More, more, more publicity. Cheaper, simpler posters. At all farmer's markets, natural food stores, birthing centers, Doernbacher, teen-parent support centers, child-care centers and Early Childhood Ed. departments.

2. Catchier name. "Slingfest." "CarrierCon." I dunno.

3. Bring the cost down, way down. Was Reed terribly expensive? Couldn't the schedules have been drastically simplified?

4. Sell tickets for individual classes or make people pre-register for a given "track." Hands-on classes should really be limited in size.

I'm inspired to get active in NINO now. Yay!
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#18 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 03:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajessica
Hey that was me! You are totally right. I felt so crappy for bumming you out Kristine I actually asked a couple of other mama's if they wouldn't mind modeling it, but everyone had exhausted babes. Lily couldn't latch on without the onbu upside down and the Maya wrap lady (what was her name : ) said that she thought it showed versatility. That was true!!!! XXOXOXOX Jessica
Thanks for explaining your reasoning. Unfortunately I cant use any of those pictures on my website or I'd open myself to HUGE liability issues because its not tested for that use or safely. All my carriers are tested for 6 months for safety prior to being released to the public, I didnt test that position because it wasnt meant to be worn that way, lol. Onbuhimos are actually meant to be back carriers and rarely used as front carriers. (the name even means back carrier, lol) KWIM? Aw well, I learned alot from this and wont be submitting them to future shows unless I am actually free to do it myself or be backstage to make sure its worn safely. I know it wasnt intentional that it was done that way as well and knwo you didnt mean to bum me out, just a misunderstanding.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#19 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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Due to financial thingamabobs with Reed, there WILL be one there in 2009. But we can certainly plan a smaller one for next year (I'd love to help, but I won't be a major pusher toward getting it done) - in fact, TPTB's hope is for many smaller, regional conferences next year to really get the groundswell going to support the next international conference in 2008. I concur on the need for megamore marketing.

I do think we need to reconsider price, though, unless we can get a LOT of advertising revenue in. $12/person times, at reasonable estimate, 50 people is only $600. It'd be basically impossible to run a conference of any size on that much, even if we could get the venue free. (This conference cost over $21,000, and the Reed portion was at least half of that.) I'm all for cheap, accessable to everyone conferences, but we also need to realistically balance that with the actual costs.

So everyone local knows about the next PDX NINO meeting next Tues, right? I'm so there.
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#20 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 04:49 PM
 
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Price: This was an international conference and intended to be an international conference. Compared to La Leche's international conferences, we came in at about 1/4 the cost or less for most things. Compared to Midwifery Today's conferences, we came in at about 2/3 the cost, but they *never* do childcare, rarely manage housing, and almost never do food. We were cheaper than DONA as well. We managed to provide low cost options so that anyone who could get their buns over to campus could get help with babywearing at some level. Those who wanted to take classes with some of the best babywearing instructors in the world could pay $10-$15 per class (and yes, we let walk-ins buy tickets for individual classes but only advertised the fact on Saturday). Those who wanted the whole experience paid more. We had people who put up to $2000 into the conference without even *coming* they thought it was so important.

It is flat out impossible to do a conference for $12 per day that involves flying speakers in. Most babywearing classes are either done free by someone selling slings, or cost at least $10 and up to $40 per class. The fact that someone could walk in and have Kelley from Kozy help with a mei tai in the conference booth was pretty dang awesome if you ask me.

And yes, we got a ton of advertising revenue, but the conference itself... let's put it this way. Those who paid attention and are an active part of the babywearing community had an option to get an early price of $50 per day. Those who found out later, paid more, and that's the way it is--we had bills to pay.

So what costs money in a conference?
Flying teachers in: $2800, including Jeni Norton, who founded thebabywearer.com, Barbara Wishingrad of the Rebozo Way project, Vijay Owens of Nine In, Nine Out, and Maria Blois. I also helped two others because both needed to be there to teach and help and could not come without help. For the first international conference, those ladies *needed* to be there. A regional event can get by on people who can drive or who are willing to pay their own way. MOST of our teachers got their own travel expenses.
Dorm: At $33 per night, a complete bargain. But we provided those who taught with room and board ($24 per day) for each day they taught. Most of our teachers could not or would not have come had they not been helped that way. Take the number of classes we had and multiply it by about $50 per class. Worth it to get the people we got teaching. But cheap? Not particularly. Those who attended felt it was worth it.
Venue: Reed is *cheap*. Seriously cheap. Our rooms cost us less than $4,000 which is just incredible if you know event planning. Food was $24 per *day* per person--LLLI and DONA freuqently get dinged $24 *per person per meal* for food. And $100-$150 per night for hotel rooms.

We could have done it on the cheap, made people find their own lodging, not provided food, not offered childcare...and how many people could have come from out of town? How many people *would* have come? How would they have felt when they got there?

What we did:
We picked people up from the airport: 2 vans and 1 car and something like 20 trips, with people just chipping in what they could do for gas. Broke even.
We had childcare available for donations... people paid what they could afford, for top notch care that I'm told kids were begging to go to. Broke even.
We had baby bouncers who kept herds of small children entertained and happy to the point that my daughter earned something in the vicinity of $150+ worth of *tips* she was so busy with it. Not a cost to the conference.
There was organic/free range food available 3 times per day on campus for less than $10 per meal, totally flexible for crazy food issues like I have and *healthy* if one chose. Even the burgers were free range beef. This is one of our largest "costs"...the teachers meals were paid for, their families meals were mostly not.
People could stay on campus, and did, and we worked hard to make it work for people. Teachers were mostly paid for, support people and attendees paid for themselves.
We offered a wide range of classes which will probably be significantly tweaked and rearranged next time to make them most user-friendly. But they covered a gamut. This was part trade show, part conference, part convention, and part retreat. It hasn't been done before in this community in this way. We had nothing to base it on for *our* specific demographic.

The general mood was that we took care of each other. That we helped each other. When my day fell apart on Monday when my daughter was not able to board her plane as scheduled, people came together and packed me up when I could not be on campus. People who were not scheduled as volunteers, who'd paid the full amount, just pitched in and helped anyway because they wanted to. We were all tired. We were all dealing with longer walks than we were used to, often with being alone with kids when we were not used to travelling alone, or being without kids for the first time in years. But even through that, I saw more grace and gentleness and kindness in one spot than I've ever seen.

Even so, the conference *may* break even. Barely. Or we may be a few thou short, which we have a backup plan for.

Can things be done cheaper? Sure. If I'd had more help, sooner, a whole lot of things that were relatively expensively done would have been done cheaper, better and more gracefully. I didn't tap into the PDX community fully anywhere near as soon as I should have, but we know better now for next time.

But please don't undervalue babywearing. I see this a lot... people think it should all be cheap or free. Well, there are a lot of free and cheap resources out there. But if you want someone else to make it happen, be it a carrier custom made or a class they're teaching, please value their time and energy and what goes into the product. We did have free and cheap options, and a lot of people made use of them and I'm *glad* they did. But the parts of the conference that were not cheap or free were worth every penny, every drop of sweat we put into them. Would we do some things differently later? Sure. But this was the first one. It needed to come from the whole community, be for the whole community, not just Portland. We learned a lot. Had I priced it any lower, we would not have had more people. We could have had fewer.


Our conference will end up costing between $20,000 and $25,000. Most conferences cost $30,000-$50,000. We brought in about $21,000 from all sources.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#21 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by crescentaluna
The next one in three years!?!? Way too far away. I definitely think we should stage another, more modest, con MUCH sooner than that! Next summer, one day, ten booths, five classes, $12 all day. Whatcha say!?

Did anyone read the Willamette Week's announcement for the conference? :

I'm inspired to get active in NINO now. Yay!
I agree three years is too long to wait! I am glad you are inpsired to get involved because if we are going to have a regional NINO hosted babywearing day we will need everyone possible!

I didn't see the Willamette Weekly's announcemnt anyone have it they can scan and email to me?

N~
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#22 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 06:59 PM
 
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Um...isn't 2008 2 years from now?
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#23 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 09:17 PM
 
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The next international conference will be in 2 years, but probably either in the midwest or the East Coast, depending on what NINO group gets off its duff to do the homework for planning it.

We can certainly do a regional next year if someone wants to plan it, something 2 days long, I can tell the basic parameters for getting a bid, etc.

It will be somewhat cheaper to do a regional per head, because there will not be as much in the way of speaker travel expenses, plus some of the initial outlays I made for equipment, namebadges, etc. will be available for future conferences that I attend.

But next year it might be better to do it in, say, Seattle, or Olympia (Evergreen, anyone?) for a regional event--have NW and west coast babywearers primarily. Doesn't need to happen in Portland, although if y'all want to do it, more power to you. I know that there are likely to be Texas, Chicago and NY regionals next year.

Regional can be 2-3 days, tops, 2-3 tracks, tops. Exhibit hall... with enough advance marketing, it is possible to completely fill an exhibit hall even with local vendors.

I've got a huge list on TBW about what is needed for a bid, etc.

But in 2009, we will be at Reed again, because due to some weird contractual stuff, they decided not to ding us for the huge number of rooms they set aside for us that we did not use, in exchange, we are putting down a $1000 deposit on next time, which can be a smaller event. And we'll have the conference center, old dorm block, it will be MUCH better in terms of walking distances.

Right now, local NINO groups are urged to go out and look at local venues and do the footwork to get bids for 2008. The community, NINO board and key vendors (who footed a huge amount of the bill for this conference) will all have some say and we'll look to reach a consensus or close to it on where the best choice will be. Usually, with a bid process, it becomes very obvious very quickly which group and community have the whatwith to do a conference. THe reason this one was in Portland and I ran it was because I was the one who went out, got a bid, said I'd run it, and that was that. Now that everyone knows *why* it's important, I expect there to be 2-3 promising locations "bidding" for the conference. It is likely that in the venue-finding process, groups will discover venues which would work blazingly well for regionals and not at all for international.

The fact that we came anywhere near breaking even the first year out is pretty phenomenal.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#24 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 10:44 PM
 
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If anyone is seriously wanting to get involved I invite you to check out the conference planning forums at TBW. The conference planning started long before the forum was created but you'll find alot of information there as well as people already planning and talking about the next one.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#25 of 39 Old 08-09-2006, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First I need to work on a smoothe transition of leadership from Emily to Leslie and I, then we will talk about a regional conference. I will check with (if there are any) other leaders in the area and see what we all want to do.

I love the imput from attendees though because if we do something here sooner rather than later I really need that feedback!

All the little things that might have gotten lost in the HUGE vision and undertaking that this conference was, while important, do not in any way take away from what a phenominal success it really was! I am so amazed at Jenrose and her tenacity, organization, and shear will power to see it through. Kudos to you mama!

Blessings,
N~
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#26 of 39 Old 08-10-2006, 04:10 AM
 
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Thanks, Nichol. Seriously, I'm just delighted that it came off as well as it did. Even a month before the conference I was sort of wondering what the heck I thought I was trying to prove... now I know, and I think I did it.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#27 of 39 Old 08-10-2006, 03:03 PM
 
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Hey, Jen, my suggestion for a cheaper alternate is not meant as a criticism of the event - no need to defend the logistics of the conference! A 4-day international conference is a major undertaking, and yeah, when it happens again in '08 I'm sure the price will be commensurate with ... a 4-day international conference. (I've been on planning committees and pulled off a few academic conferences in my day so I do know the challenges.) But my suggestion is for, like I said, a one-day mini-conference that could pull in lots more local people. Low-income mamas, teen mamas, child-care professionals, foster parents, neonatal nurses ... those are some of the people I'd love to see experiencing great carriers. I think price can be/is a barrier for them. This is nothing to do with undervaluing - it's more to do with outreach.

I suspect there are some sources for sponsorships in there, too. Ya know ... "This conference made possible by generous donations from OHSU, the MHCC nursing program, Andina Birthing Center, blah, blah..." Even in thin times there is federal money, state money, city money, corporate money that can be accessed. That's the piece that can bring down class prices.
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#28 of 39 Old 08-10-2006, 03:07 PM
 
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Oh, kofduke, two years to the next international but three years to the next one planned for Portland (ie, my own backyard).:
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#29 of 39 Old 08-10-2006, 03:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescentaluna
But my suggestion is for, like I said, a one-day mini-conference that could pull in lots more local people. Low-income mamas, teen mamas, child-care professionals, foster parents, neonatal nurses ... those are some of the people I'd love to see experiencing great carriers. I think price can be/is a barrier for them. This is nothing to do with undervaluing - it's more to do with outreach.
I know that I would like to get into more outreach with the pdx nino group so hopefully something like this could happen for local mamas.

Leslie-mom to Carson and Madison :, Sage Tree :, and Buckbeak, Tonks, and Luna
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#30 of 39 Old 08-10-2006, 04:55 PM
 
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We had outreach.
We had sponsors. We had $4,000 in sponsorship plus another $2,700 from large vendors who did a lot of advertisign but did not sponsor per se, plus childcare sponsored.
We had something like 20 mamas and dads come and volunteer their time and energy to make the conference happen--in exchange they got to go to classes free.
We had the exhibit hall open *free* to the community for all day Saturday. Parents came in and got help from some of the top names in the biz *free*. And many, many did. We did low cost classes, so people who just couldn't do $80 could come and do $10.
We had physical therapists, grandmothers, young parents, teenagers who were just there to make *babysitting* easier, let alone teen parents, and all were welcome. We had classes for foster parents, but no one showed. Next time we'll restructure so the classes that most need to be low cost, are.

YES... if you can do it for cheaper, *do*. But it feels like you're saying we didn't do outreach, and I bent over backward to make sure that on this weekend, anyone in the city who wanted help could come and *get* help.

And many did.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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