Report from Wednesday
Wednesday was a packed day from start to finish, and every inch of space in the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort convention center was in use!
It was a day of focus groups, screenings, discussion groups, and presentations. It was also a day of continued FFL ‘meet-ups’ and some wonderful artistic sessions such as Docu-Diabetes III and Dancing for Diabetes. The teen program got underway on Wednesday, as did the Grandparents program. Several VIP Special Guests were on hand for meet-n-greets, including Amanda Jo and Billy Lee, as well as Chris Ruden. Sports Central was buzzing all day long, and there was always a crowd around the First Timers Welcome area!
The First Timers Orientation late Wednesday afternoon included 700 first timers as well as the ‘old timers’ who volunteered as Buddies this past year. Alanna Landry, CDE, one of our wonderful Teen Program Coordinators, welcomed the First Timers on behalf of all of the faculty and staff, and spoke poignantly on her experiences with Friends for Life. First Timers learned a bit of the history behind CWD and FFL, and had the opportunity to meet and hear from some of the key staff, who shared their ideas on how to get the most out of the conference.
At 6:00 p.m. sharp, the Exhibit Hall was ready for the Grand Opening! Country musicians Amanda Jo and Billy Lee cut the ribbon with the help of two young FFLs, and the Exhibit Hall was officially open. Following the wild rush of a couple thousand excited people anxious to get into the hall, it settled down to a steady, well-behaved and energetic large crowd all evening and throughout the next couple of days. The sponsors and exhibitors were absolutely wonderful, offering activities, goodies, and information for everyone, whatever age.
Wednesday evening closed with a very special treat – a concert by Crystal Bowersox. Crystal has been a Friend for Life for quite a few years, and our families just love her. Thanks, Lilly Diabetes, for making this happen.