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The CSA conference that took place August 19th-20th was a success.
The conference took place at the Sandman hotel in downtown Vancouver. The setting was lovely and the weather cooperated with sunny days. On Friday, keynote speakers Elaine Saitta and David Block each gave separate personal keynote speeches about how they have coped throughout their lives with stuttering and people who have influenced and helped them. After a coffee break, the workshops took place, with attendees having a choice between two speakers running concurrently. After lunch, the workshops resumed. An open mike session followed the workshops, and later people had dinner together and enjoyed the evening.
On Saturday, poet Jordan Scott spoke and recited some of his poetry from his book Blert. A question and answer period followed. Jordan also gave a workshop later that day, in which participants discussed self-expression through writing, and how cathartic it can be to describe one's feelings in writing. They wrote short poems and recited in front of the other attendees.
After the workshops for Saturday took place, the conference featured a special presentation from the British Columbia Association of People who Stutter, an independent organization that assists people who stutter in B.C. with information, services and financial assistance to obtain speech therapy. For this presentation, Mia Austinson, the president of BCAPS, spoke about Camp BCAPS, a social camp for children who stutter. Mia called up young people who had attended the camp to speak about their experiences there. Everyone was very impressed with what BCAPS has accomplished with this unique and successful camp.
Also featured that afternoon was a special presentation in memory of Mike Hughes, who passed away last September 2010. Mike, who lived in New Brunswick, started a newsletter for people who stutter in the early 1980s, and continued with it for decades. Thousands of people across Canada and beyond received his newsletters (this was well before the internet!) and valued his advice, information and often heartwarming personal accounts of how he dealt with his stuttering. Tony Intas, treasurer of BCAPS, who knew Mike personally, spoke about him briefly.
The conference wrapped up with another open mic session, in which many participated. Judging by the feedback organizers received, 2011 CSA conference was a successful event and meaningful for those who attended.
The CSA National Coordinator would like to thank Harmonize for Speech for their financial assistance, and the presenters and all who attended who made CSA2011 an interesting and highly enjoyable event. The British Columbia Association of People who Stutter gave their valuable participation in the conference and assisted with advertising and marketing. Last but not least, a very big thank-you is owed to members of the conference committee, David and Kim Block, Shelli Teshima and Mary Rose Labandelo. With a small group and limited resources, we pulled it off!