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50th Anniversary LLLI Conference Celebrates the Power of Breastfeeding

Trisha Noack
LLLI Public Relations Director
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 5, September-October 2007, p. 213

Founders, Leaders, moms, dads, children, and health care professionals gathered at the Chicago Hilton from July 20 to July 23, 2007 for the 50th Anniversary Conference -- Celebrating the Power of Breastfeeding. The Conference was packed with information, celebrations, and fun. It started with a fabulous opening ceremony on Friday evening with "The Power of a Dream," which included a showing of photos of past Conferences, the Parade of Nations, and an inspiring talk by Michael Brandwein on "The Magic of La Leche League."

Every second was packed with activities from rejuvenation exercises to late night chats with Alums, visits to the Bookstore and Exhibit Hall, luncheons, the Technology Room, cultural travels at the World's Fair, Awards, and the sheer delight of talking with friends new and old.

The tally of attendees was impressive at 3,580. Representatives came from 44 countries and brought 2,328 adults. There were 1,252 children: 625 children under three, 512 between the ages of 4-12, and 115 teenagers. Many people attended as professionals or students, and 426 paid for continuing education credits. Families were well represented, too, with 329 spouses registering. The Exhibit Hall was packed with 227 exhibitors. Of course, La Leche League volunteers were well represented with 1,420 Leaders and 178 members. Rounding out the group were 70 speakers and 86 non-members. Running errands and performing the many small tasks needed to keep things going were 18 members of the teen staff, who even came to the session on grassroots marketing to help explain Facebook, a social networking Web site.

In addition to the high quality, intensive learning opportunities the Conference provided, the joy of celebrating 50 years of La Leche League achievements was woven through the four days. Gala Awards Night saw organization after organization come forward with praises and plaques for La Leche League and its Founders. The Founders Tea honored the seven women who began the organization and Leaders who have served for 25 years or longer, and and also gave attendees a peek at the new line of LLLI apparel (available at www.llliclothes.com).

Most spectacular was the Celebration Dinner, which featured an award for Chele Marmet, founder of the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants, and a performance by country music artist Billy Dean, who performed, "Let Them Be Little," to thunderous applause and hundreds of votive candles held high in the air. All the ceremonies were filled with music, laughter, and the love that comes from the La Leche League family gathered as one. Volunteers, health care providers, and families returned home tired but inspired and ready to continue the mission of helping mothers to breastfeed.

Thank you to all who helped us celebrate the power of breastfeeding. Your continued support will help families across the world for generations to come.

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