Monday was July 4 – a holiday for most people – and many of our families took advantage of this and arrived earlier in the weekend for a couple of days of R&R poolside or at the theme parks. CWD shared the Marriott World Center for a few days with an Irish Dance Competition group – another large group of talented kids and their parents – who were very interesting and a lot of fun. Several in the FFL group were also part of the Irish Dance group, proving that It’s A Small World After All! At any rate, we were quite a mix poolside and throughout the resort.
Monday was move-in day, and our team of several dozen movers and setter-uppers braved the almost 100 degree heat and humidity to move four storage units worth of conference ‘stuff’ to the World Center via one U-Haul truck and several SUVs. Registration supplies, Sports Central equipment, technology and sound equipment, crates of Quilt squares, a pallet of glucose tabs, youth program supplies, childcare toys. And thousands of red FFL t-shirts. Many thanks to Rich Meredith and Neal Billetdeaux for coordinating move-in.
Dr. Ben and his team from the New Jersey Medical School set up three rooms worth of Retinal Screening equipment – the absolute best in the world (seriously) – and prepared for a week of screening participants with type 1 diabetes beginning on Monday afternoon. Sports Central set up their space and readied for the onslaught of Kids With Energy. The FFL Registration Teams – for participants and for sponsors and exhibitors – placed everything precisely where needed for a 9 a.m. Tuesday opening. And then – it was ready.
Tuesday, July 5 – officially the Opening Day of Friends for Life. Julia Mattingly and her registration team welcomed first-timers and old-timers alike – with smiles, hugs, name badges, and green/orange/yellow Tyvek bracelets. The First Timers Welcome team, coordinated by Nabil Elarbi, Tom Karlya, Lauren Lanning, and David and Marie Jarcho, was busy all day long answering hundreds of questions and reassuring those who were nervous. Scott Kyllo, Martin Yaravitz, and the IT team divided their time between watching over the registration kiosks and making sure all of the behind-the-scenes equipment was functioning efficiently. CWD’s Exhibit Hall Coordinators Ashley Head and Chad Kyllo worked with Freeman to ready the Exhibit Hall for Tuesday afternoon’s exhibitor move-in. And everywhere, the FFL Support Team, coordinated by Donna and Bob Cope and Chris Tull, watched over our entire conference area to make sure everything was working efficiently and safely, and to step in wherever and whenever help was needed.
New this year were ‘Meet-Ups.’ These informal get togethers were scheduled in response to 2015 feedback indicating that people wanted opportunities to meet each other before the conference started, and then also during some of the down time throughout the week. The first meet-ups were on Tuesday. CWD Mom Lauren Lanning organized the moms’ meet-ups – eight of them on Tuesday alone – ranging from MOFFLs and Waffles at breakfast to College and Coffee later in the afternoon. Many thanks to Tom Karlya (Dads Meet-Ups including Scrambled Dads and Eggs), Marissa Town (T1 Adult Meet-Ups), Melissa Ryan (Single Parent Meet-Up), and Grace Grande-Cassell and Adam Town (Significant Other Meet-Ups) for volunteering to host these groups. We will continue them next year!
For many families, Tuesday was a day to combine some park time with pool time, and a great opportunity to meet new friends – now easily identifiable by green, orange, and yellow bracelets. For CWD staff and faculty, Tuesday afternoon provided an opportunity to attend a presentation by Gary Scheiner and then spend an evening enjoying dinner and bowling at Splitsville. Many thanks to Dexcom for sponsoring this evening for Friends for Life staff and faculty, and allowing them to have some fun down time before the extremely busy Wednesday to Friday schedule began!
FFL is a time to catch up with good friends
Sports Central opened early for kids and adults alike
Dr. Joyce Lee led a Participatory Design Workshop for T1D Research
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Last Updated: Monday August 08, 2016 18:47:41
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