Some photos from our 2012 conference and AGM “Nothing About Us Without Us!”

Our weekend together in Burnaby B.C. started with a world cafe asking the question “What About Us and….?”  and people identified ten topics of interest.   One of these changed after the first round of conversations to “What About Us and Institutions” because people felt this was an important part of People First’s history AND it was also important to recognize that there are still influences in services and supports that want to “institutionalize” people who have been labelled by placing them in larger group homes, or homes where rules are more important than people, or situations where they don’t get to participate in “regular” community life (like working, going to church, knowing neighbours, having things to feel proud of).    The world cafe was facilitated by Gladys and Ryan from Esatta Cooperative, self advocate facilitators, and graphic facilitation was by provincial advisor Aaron (www.imagineacircle.com).   Ryan and Gladys were great and people loved to see their ideas drawn on the chart.   Friday ended with a well attended and fun pub night with a silent auction and 50/50 draw.

Saturday began with a keynote about “Unity and Leadership in the People First movement” by Gordon Fletcher and then everyone broke into groups for nine great break-out session.   Sunday began with a brief presentation about how people who have been labelled have joined forces in groups all over the world, and how those groups join together to form provincial or state groups, and then national groups and international groups.   We were joined by Kaeti and Raymond from People First New Zealand (thanks for getting up at 4 a.m. to talk to us!) and everyone had a great conversation asking them about what things were like there, and telling them about what we do here.   We hoped for some other groups to be able to Skype in as well but for various reasons they didn’t make it.  Everyone wants to do more of this!

Afterwards, we looked at proposed changes from the constitution committee and there were board reports, then new members were appointed to the board of directors, and Lorrie thanked the membership and called a short meeting of the new board.   An announcement will come out shortly about the new board.

Special thanks to our guests, our advisors, all the volunteers who assisted us in so many ways, the Station Square Pub for supporting our fund-raising and the Metrotown Hilton for their support.  Photos by Jo-Anne Gauthier and Aaron Johannes.