TCF’s 35th National/5th International Gathering was held July 20-22 in Costa Mesa, California. Registration opened almost two months earlier than normal this year due to the International aspects of the event.
Prior to the National conference we shared the following information on our website:
“We are expecting bereaved families to attend from many of the more than 30 countries where TCF has a national presence,” says Patricia Loder, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends/USA. “We welcome to this conference all who are grieving the death of a child, for grief is a universal language and one that TCF’ers around the world know all too well.”
About 1500 are expected to register for the event and reservations for rooms at the host hotel, the Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa Hotel, have been heavier than expected, already leading to the arrangement for overflow accommodations at The Hanford HotelÂ Â across the street (see www.compassionatefriends.org. for latest information)
This yearâ€™s conference features four wonderful keynote speakers are :
- The Reverend Canon Simon Stephens, founder of The Compassionate Friends worldwide and bereaved sibling, who will travel from his home in Moscow to share his thoughts with the large International and U.S. crowd that is expected to gather.
- Lois Duncan, the prolific and award winning author of 48 books. But, the most difficult one she ever had to write wasÂ Who Killed My Daughter?, the story behind her search for the truth in the death of her 18-year-old daughter Kaitlyn Arquette in what police called a random drive by shooting.
- Kathy Eldon, journalist, author, producer, activist, and mother who found her life changed forever when her 22-year-old son, Dan Eldon, A Reuters photographer, was stoned to death by an angry mob as he did his job in Somalia in July of 1993. Among her books areÂ Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and RemembranceÂ andÂ The Journey is the Destination.
- Darcie Sims, always popular international keynote speaker, who brings her wit and wisdom as a bereaved parent and certified grief management specialist to the podium in Costa Mesa. Co-founder of Grief, Inc., an international grief consulting firm, Darcie is a well known and respected author and speaker. She wrote the grief book,Â Â Why are the Casseroles Always Tuna?
TCF conferences are known for their great entertainment and this year will be no different. Featured will be California entertainers including the Love in Motion Signing Choir; TCF favorite Alan Pedersen; Cassidy Mueller and Chris Donohue, local favorites.
- There will be over 100 workshops for bereaved parents and also a full track of workshops for bereaved siblings.
- A host of sharing sessions on various grief related topics will be held Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights
- Meet & Greets Thursday, July 19 for: Siblings; Grandparents; Online Support Community; TCF/USA Facebook members; and Regional Coordinators Meet & Greet with Chapter Leaders.
- The International Gathering will include a Spanish workshop and sharing session Thursday, July 19, 2012 for our Hispanic/Latino families and bilingual families
- Friday ~”An Evening with Darcie Sims” where her topic will be:Â Finding Your Way Through Grief: Does Grief Come in “One Size Fits All?”
- Sibling trip Friday to Dave and Buster’s
- Sunday morning hosts The National WALK TO REMEMBER ~
The Compassionate Friends Walk to RememberÂ® is a highlight of every TCF National Conference. It was created as a symbolic way to show the love we carry for the children we mourn. Held at 8 a.m. Sunday on the final day of the national conference it starts at the host hotel of the conference.Â There is an air of anticipation and excitement as everyone gathers in preparation for the start of the Walk. Finally the Walk begins and, hand-in-hand everyone walks, meditating on a much different time in their lives. Since its inception in 2000, the Walk to Remember has taken on many distinctive facets. There is the main Walk to Remember where those attending the conference join with local bereaved families and others who fly in from across the country just for the Walk.Â As many as 1400 have participated. Some go the full distance while others only walk a short way knowing that in participating, they are remembering. Special Walk to Remember T-shirts are given to all who register, as well as walk bibs where the names of the children being remembered can be written.
- Combine your California visit with a time of relaxation and meditation with a pre-conference excursion on Thursday, July 19 to the Huntington Library, art collection and botanical gardens, plus Monday, post-conference transportation to Disneyland (special discounted tickets available to purchase online direct from Disneyland).
- And at the Conference -Don’t miss the Meditation Room; Fully stocked Bookstore; the Butterfly Boutique; Hospitality Suites; and the silent auction/raffle.
TCF has also arranged with American Airlines to provide those attending the conference a 5% discount available on all American Airlines, American Eagle, and American Connection. The valid travel dates for the discount are July 14-27, 2012. To take advantage of this discount, go to www.aa.com to book your flight and use the Promotional Code 2372DJ and your discount will be automatically calculated. Flights eligible include any arriving at John Wayne Santa Anna Airport (SNA), LAX, and Ontario (ONT) Airports.
For more information on the conference including online registration – www.compassionatefriends.orgÂ News and Events TCF 2012 National Conference and 5th International GatheringÂ or call 877-969-0010.â™¥