What a Conference Means to a Leader Who Can’t Attend
Sandy UT USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 39 No. 2, April-May 2003, p. 34.
When I became accredited as a Leader in 1985, I didn’t even dream of attending an LLLI Conference. My children’s ages and temperaments, our finances, distance, and my husband’s work schedule in a potash mine made attendance seem impossible. However, the fact that there was a Conference available to attend was very important to me.
Every Area, National, Regional, Division, Affiliate, and LLLI Conference is important to every Leader and Leader Applicant, even those who can’t attend.
A La Leche League International Conference:
- Demonstrates the organization’s vitality. Even though I may not have had the financial means or family situation that allowed my attendance at a Conference, many in my organization did.
- Gives Leaders a chance to be professional. This continuing education opportunity provides a healthy, intellectual climate for mothers learning about breastfeeding and parenting issues.
- Provides administrators with contacts from around the world.
- Demonstrates a style of putting on a Conference that involves families, including babies and young children.
- Involves men in their role as fathers. Many men will come away from a La Leche League Conference with a new picture of themselves as fathers and partners. The special father sessions are unique in providing a setting where fathers can speak together and explore parenting issues.
- Provides new information through speakers, audiovisual presentations, and printed materials. Leaven, New Beginnings, and the LLLI Web site feature Conference reports after the Conference, and many Conference sessions are later available on audio tapes. Chapter Meetings may also feature Leaders with information to share from conferences they’ve attended.
- Generates income that supports you in your work as a Leader.
- Supports the people who support you. The face-to-face contacts that your support people make at a Conference will produce ripples of encouragement and support.
- Distributes information in a direct, personal way. The Founders are visible and available. LLLI, Affiliate, Division, National, and Area administrators are on site and approachable. La Leche League becomes a tangible, real entity at a Conference.
- Paints a picture of your LLL future. There will come a time when it becomes easier to leave children at home and attend. Seeing older women—some with white hair—at my first LLLI Conference in Anaheim, California, USA in 1989 was eye-opening for me. Even with grown children, these women stayed active in La Leche League.
There are many reasons Leaders cannot or choose not to attend an LLL Conference, but the support, enthusiasm, and income generated keep our organization vital for all Leaders.
Kathy Grossman and her husband, Tom Dillon, live in Sandy, Utah, USA with their three sons, Sam, Ed, and Monty. Kathy, who was accredited in 1985, writes, "I remember how it felt to read about LLLI Conferences in Leaven when I was a new Leader in what felt like a very remote southern New Mexico, USA town with my small children and thinking, 'Could I ever go to one of those?'"