WFS Conference Memories
2017 WFS Conference Reminiscing
June 9, 10, & 11, 2017 at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania
# # # # #
Another fantastic weekend for Women for Sobriety and 4C women! We had 115 members booked in at DeSales University Campus in Center Valley, Pennsylvania from June 9, 10, & 11, 2017.
There were a variety of events starting with the early-bird arrivals on Thursday to the official welcome ceremony on Friday, followed by an amazing Keynote Speech and full day of workshops and meetings and auction on Saturday and ending the special weekend on Sunday with highlights and farewells and a speech by our founder to send us home with her inspiring words to keep us strong and focused on recovery.
This weekend conference has become one of the main fundraising events for the organization… so we devote a great deal of time and resources in getting information distributed and encourage a lot of participation from the women who use our program in their recovery. Generous donations were given in love and received with gratitude… tons of conference raffle tickets were sold, the ever fun and popular Thursday T-Shirt Swap fundraiser was a hoot, members donated a nice selection of gently used books to raise funds at our bookstore, hand-made booklet covers were created and donated by members from Tuscaloosa Alabama, volunteer group moderators ‘passed the hat’ at f2f meetings, women ‘rounded up’ as they paid for Ginger’s new CD, and extra donations were added to auction totals; Susie’s Long Island group donated the cost for us to have lovely tea and coffee social at our auction, generous members donated items in quantity to raise funds, dorm room key deposits were given back to WFS, and, last but not the least, our Saturday afternoon annual fundraising auction was held (a total of 263 items went up for bid!)…and so the GRAND TOTAL IN DONATIONS COLLECTED OVER 4 DAYS = $13,390.80.
The spirit of generosity was truly in the air and in the hearts of our members that weekend. An amazing amount of positive, empowering energy was created! Thank you to all our friends and family and 4C sisters who contributed items for the auction and the variety of fundraisers. WFS is ever so grateful for the financial and material support we continue to receive for our annual conference and auction.
Thank you to all who participated in raising much needed funds throughout the conference weekend!! See you next year! (June 8, 9, & 10, 2018 @ DeSales University) ~Becky Fenner, WFS Director
# # # # #
Wow what can I say other than it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I went against everything I had done in the past - I was newly sober. I had only been on the online forum community a few months. I had only attended a few F2F meetings. I didn’t know a soul but yet I was drawn to attend. From the moment I saw the first online post about the conference, I knew I was going to go. I even decided what I was going to contribute to the silent auction. I booked my flight and posted about needing a ride from Quakertown to the conference location. I got so many offers and emails just to make sure I had transportation.
I met up with a member in Atlanta (we were on the same flight) and drove with her. I roomed with another wonderful stranger and made a life-long friend! I decided to come in on Thursday night because I didn’t want to miss ANYTHING! I signed up for the workshops (well worth the extra cash) and attended all the meetings I could. It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to attending again next year. I truly found my tribe and can’t wait to see them all again! ~Inspired13
# # # # #
My first WFS Conference experience was more than I could have hoped for. Let me back up just a little to say I first discovered the WFS online forum in January 2017. I loved the online community experience so much I thought a face-to-face weekend “immersion” would be interesting. I live in Iowa, so this trip had a bit of a leap of fate factor to it; a material amount of time and money would be used and a dose of newbie jitters anticipated.
Any nervousness was immediately dispelled upon meeting my roommate. Janice introduced me to her friends and out to dinner we went. Easy friendships started. The official conference topics all sounded so worthwhile -- I LOVED every session I chose. The conference presenters were prepared, professional, and relevant. The entire weekend provided every opportunity to take away WFS wisdom through group experiences or casual one-on-one interactions. Finally, I stayed until the closing meeting on Sunday - NOT TO BE MISSED! Our whole WFS family together, a video of Jean (WFS’s founder), and a presentation by Becky (WFS Director) was inspiring. WFS past and present colliding. WFS Conference is on my calendar for next year; hope to see many of you!! ~Tracy Cheney
# # # # #
It has been several years since I attended a WFS conference. I came at the urging and encouragement of my dear sister in sobriety, Lisa, I was not disappointed. I was so happy to see many women I have known for past years and recall some of those memories. Plus I got to make new friends and connect with them. I know this is a place where someone in recovery is always made to feel welcome and be free to express themselves. It is definitely a sisterhood of recovery support. The auction was as lively as usual and Zeecha did a fine job on stage and Lambie hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for the whistle. The sessions I attended where all informative and I learned a lot about writing my thoughts and feelings and just plain making crazy pictures as a means of relaxation. Overall it was a refreshing and restorative weekend with women in recovery. ~Shirley Schuy, Kitchener, Ontario
# # # # #
This year’s WFS Conference was my 3rd one - and was such a great experience. Every moment was filled with special memories - from getting reacquainted with old friends to spending time getting to know new ones!
I love Conference because it allows me to be as busy as I want with meetings, workshops and get-togethers - while also providing me with much needed downtime exploring the beautiful campus of DeSales University. I learn something new about WFS and myself at every Conference. The definite highlight for me this year was the Auction - SO many talented women amongst us!
I feel very fortunate to have found WFS and I very much look forward to next year’s conference. ~KathyP (canadianatpar)
# # # # #
Conference has become one of the highlights of my year. I eagerly look forward to getting to spend time with my tribe of sober sisters - both with existing friends and making new ones. There is just something very special about meeting WFS sisters. It is as though the friendships begin somewhere in the middle. Sharing a life-threatening condition and being honest and authentic about our shared struggles moves friendships from the first shy, “Hi my name is Ginger and I’m from Texas,” or “Hi, this is my 2nd conference, how many have you attended?” to close intimate friends sharing laughs and tears in equal measure in short order. The 2017 Conference was no exception.
Arriving on Thursday to maximize my time is a must. I feel I need the extra day to cram in more hugs. Having dinner with a bunch of ladies on Thursday night at a local restaurant was one of the high points of the weekend. No agenda, just women bonding and talking. What could be better? But the pinnacle for me was getting to lead 2 guided meditations on Saturday. Seeing so many ladies relaxing along with a stroll through the 13 Statements of affirmation was an experience I’ll never forget. It was such an honor to get to lead those sessions and to launch the Transformed CD. It was an unforgettable moment in my life and I got to share it with the most amazing women on the planet: my sober sisters, my tribe, and the women that comprise WFS.
The dates for the 2018 Conference are already on my calendar. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I hope to see y’all there! ~Ginger Rathert (gingerssnapped)
# # # # #
I would like to share with you some memories from the WFS Annual Conference held each June in PA. This year marked my 20th conference. The weekend for me starts on Thursday evening after a long 9 hour drive. The anticipation on that drive is beyond words. I cannot wait to arrive at the dorm. When I turn onto Station Road and see the campus the excitement grows. Then I can’t wait to get out of the car to see everyone that I haven’t seen for a year and met new women. This year I got out of the car to the open arms of several sisters. I didn’t even make it to the registration table without a dozen or more hugs. It is a feeling I can’t even describe. Women who I only see once a year and most don’t even talk or email with and yet it is like I just talked to them the day before. I spent the evening settling in, talking to old friends, meeting new women and partaking in a t-shirt exchange where I got shirts from New York City. As a fundraiser you could bring a t-shirt from your city and then donate that along with 5 bucks. It was fun to watch who got what shirt and a nice ice breaker.
Friday I attended a workshop presented by .O. It was on the Love Statements. As always it was great to spend three hours with my sisters and .O. It was a very moving and enlightening workshop. I spent the afternoon catching up with a friend that I have gotten to know over the last 15 years. Then came dinner where I ran into more women from over the years. After dinner the weekend officially opened. To sit in a room with over a 100 woman is beyond words. Becky opened the weekend and then came the introductions. After 19 years, for some reason and this time it wasn’t fear of talking in front of a group of woman, I chose to leave. I spent the evening sitting with a sister talking about recovery and life. I was where I was supposed to be.
Saturday was packed with the keynote speaker and several workshops. The whole workshop experience was very moving and heart opening. After the workshops came the auction which is the major fundraiser for WFS. I had fun bidding on the silent items and, of course, the live auction is fun especially when a bidding war takes place. Our auctioneer, Zeecha, does an awesome job. She was entertaining and really helped raise the bids. Dinner was spent getting to know my sisters better and then one more evening workshop on art journaling. Needless to say I was tired and slept well.
What I took away from the weekend was a recharging and recommitting to sobriety. I also brought home memories. I won’t forget sitting on the bench outside the dorm talking to a dear friend and watching others play with bubbles. The hugs, tears and unconditional love. The weekend is VERY special to me. I highly recommend it. It is something that is hard to put in words, it is more a feeling. I left with some sadness at saying goodbye. A lot of work goes into the weekend and if you put yourself out there then you will receive. After all, ALL LOVE GIVEN RETURNS. Your sister in sobriety, Lisa (lilbear60), Cincinnati, Ohio
# # # # #
My third WFS Annual Conference was the best yet! The theme of “All Love Given Returns” held true, as I discovered yet again that as a result of joining in and opening myself to the experience of conference, I left with a full heart.
From the quiet, heartfelt conversations with my roommate, to the enriching discussions at meetings and workshops, to the lively and laugh-filled gatherings in the lobbies, this year was all about connection for me.
There was, of course, time for much more! Like winning a beautiful glass piece in the auction, enjoying breakfast at a local diner with my connections group, trying an early morning walk program, relaxing with an exquisite massage, taking part in a t-shirt swap, and shopping at nearby towns.
Above all, the best part was stepping out of my day-to-day life for a weekend to share the same air with my tribe. ~aeolit
# # # # #
Another WFS Conference has come and gone--how does that seem to happen so quickly?! Looking forward to the next WFS Conference in June 2018 (the weekend of June 8-10!).
Going to DeSales University, in Center Valley, PA in early June seems to have become an annual trek! Every conference is different--there will be different workshops to select from, different women leading WFS meetings, different group of attendees-it always changes. I find that the conference is a weekend for personal growth, and fun! I met new friends and re-affirm older friendships. I enjoy encouraging women to come along and experience the conference for themselves. It may take a bit of planning--childcare needs may need to be arranged, saving up for traveling expenses, saving up for the registration fee, saving up to spend money at the auctions!--but all the efforts are worth it.
It is quite a feeling to know that the assembled group of awesome women all share a commonality--our life-threatening problem. We come in all shapes and sizes and age ranges. We truly *are* awesome! It’s a pleasure to meet so many women who are in the WFS sisterhood--no matter where we are on our personal journeys. ~Sue (Zeecha), Champaign, Illinois
# # # # #
I came to every conference since I have joined WFS, three years so far! I enjoy everything about it: the sisterhood, the education, the inspiration, and the connections I make with sober women who are all living their authentic lives. Going to the WFS Conference is a gift to myself. It’s a celebration of the new me! Thank you! ~Turnow
# # # # #
The overall impression of my first national Women for Sobriety Conference was that of warmth and sisterhood. I felt like it was easy to quickly connect with other women there, because although each of us came with our individual stories, the experience of living in addiction can be viewed as a shared past. Having that common ground and also sharing the goal of building a positive new life in recovery created a closeness and supportive atmosphere. ~Rebecca Wandrei
# # # # #
[From our long-time presenter (since 1990!)]
There are no words!!! Because the palpable love that is felt at Women for Sobriety is an ancient signature…
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this community that is so committed to healing health and wholeness. I am proud to be one of your sisters…. Thank you for loving me and providing me with such a beautiful family.
Ever so grateful,