AAC’s 37th Annual International Conference “Trailblazing Change, Moving Mountains Together in Adoption” brought over two hundred attendees to the scenic and beautiful state of Colorado. AAC welcomed 85 first timers and many returning members and attendees from various states across the United States, Canada and Australia. In the midst of the city of Denver adoptees, birth/first parents, adoptive parents, professionals, and extend family members shared positive energy, excitement and a quest to learn and gain knowledge from trailblazers and new presenters.
AAC’s 37th Conference hosted 4 Keynote speakers and a keynote panel, 37 workshops, 2 films and a play. This year’s survey respondents indicated that they loved the format and the presentations.
Professional attendees indicted that the conference provided them information that was extremely helpful and useful. “Working in the field of adoption social work is a new specialty for me and the in-depth training I received at the conference will surely inform my practice.” Professionals felt the presenters were extremely knowledgeable.
AAC’s 2016 Vilardi Award was presented to Sandy Musser. Sandy was asked to Skype in for amazing announcement. Sandy was truly honored and surprised to receive the Emma Mae Vilardi Humanitarian for her countless years of advocacy and being a steadfast and stand-out supporter within the adoption reform community.
This year AAC presented 3 state representatives with the 2016 State Representative award. Penelope Needham, Minnesota State Representative, was honored for all her work she has accomplished in Minnesota. Penelope works with young adoptees in her state via a school program, supports groups and currently working on legislation. Penelope told me her students were so excited about her accomplishment and requested to have a photo with her award.
AAC also recognized Erica Babino and Mary Wilson for all their hard work in Texas. Erica and Mary worked on legislation last year in Texas and have already started working on the next legislative session. Erica and Mary also began support groups in Texas in different cities.
AAC also acknowledge Desiree Stephens by presenting her with the 2016 Ambassador Award. Desiree was a huge contributor to the AAC conference by providing various technology including the interactive online conference program, ride share and conference survey.
Susan Harris-O’Connor was presented with the 2016 President’s Award. Susan was acknowledged for providing a voice for those who have not had one before in the AAC. Susan has continued to ensure that AAC moves forward in opening doors to allow new voices to move the mission of AAC and also honoring those longtime members of AAC.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors we thank all award recipients for all they do for the adoption community, their advocacy and dedication to the AAC.
We appreciate all those who responded to the 2016 conference survey. The suggestion and feedback is greatly appreciate and used to help make modifications for the 2017 Conference.
We hope to see you all at the 38th Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, April 5 – April 9th at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. Workshop proposals will be accepted starting July 1st, 2016. An announcement will be sent to our members and posted on Facebook and the AAC website.
Again thank you to all the presenters and attendees for making AAC’s 37th conference a truly remarkable and memorable event.
78% of respondents reported being very satisfied
70% -78% satisfaction for the keynote presenters
An average 4 star rating for the conference venue
The majority of workshops satisfaction was reported at o 3-5 stars