by Sara Erling
“Thanks again for the wonderful time during the NACD Rendezvous! Your hard work did not go unnoticed!”
—Steve and Lori Lane
“My husband and I also want to extend a BIG THANK YOU to everyone there for the great times and opportunities you presented for the NACD families. What a joy it was to get to meet all of you. You all are so precious! One thing that was really conveyed to me while with you all is your genuine care and devotion to our kiddos. Thank you for your dedication to enrich their lives as well as support us, the parents. It was an awesome experience for us, and we are sooo glad we came.”
—Buck and Michelle Crawford
“We had a very good time. We learned a lot, had fun, were “stimulated”,
and had time to relax. You guys did a great job putting this together.”
“It was great meeting you at the NACD Rendezvous! We got some good
information during these couple of days, and it was great to meet other
“We loved Utah and will be back next year!!!”
These are only a few of the comments that parents have made about the NACD Rendezvous, held the last week of June in beautiful Ogden valley.
We had roughly 30 families travel from all over the United States, Canada, even Spain, to participate in this year’s rendezvous. Some of our NACD families brought their entire crew and made it their family vacation for the year. Others just brought their child who is on program; and even a few moms simply came by themselves to get refreshed!
The purpose of the Rendezvous is to permit the NACD families and the NACD staff and their families to interact, share, learn, have fun, and support each other. We love seeing the NACD Family grow and watch the children flourish. All of the NACD staff feels honored to be able to share in the lives and development of these great children and their families.
We had a great line-up of activities planned for our NACD families. This year we decided to spend a lot of time at the pool at the Moose Hollow Condominiums. Our families enjoyed meeting each other, talking, sharing ideas, as well as visiting with the staff. During the evenings, we had free group activities planned due to the thoughtfulness of Ogden valley merchants. Our first night was spent at Moose Hollow as a ‘meet and greet’ night. This was complete with Frisbees, blowing bubbles, and lots of water guns! Our second night was spent riding horses at a nearby ranch, followed by hayrides to a large fire pit. Then we brought out the marshmallows, graham crackers, and Hershey bars!!! (Dr. Neil was not there yet!) I handed a marshmallow to Courtney…she was so excited, she popped the whole thing in her mouth! She loved them!!!! On the way back to our cars, we all got to see an Elk in the pasture. The scenery in the valley is truly remarkable!
On night three, we all met at Wolf Mountain Resort for free chair lift rides up and down the mountain, followed by a night concert. There were face paintings, little carnival games for kids, and lots of food, beverages, and relaxed fun! The kids were able to run around and release some energy while the parents sat back and listened to the big band music and jazz. On Sunday night we had our barbecue again at the Anderson Campground on Pineview Reservoir. The menu consisted of barbecued Salmon, chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, salads, chips, and yummy grilled bananas with chocolate and caramel!! (Dr. Neil had to leave that afternoon!) One of our moms’s admitted to eating 4 of those things…shhhhh–I promise I won’t tell! One of the highlights for the families was being able to go on boat rides and tube rides on the lake. The kids loved driving the boat while the parents and staff members were able to get to know each other better.
The Rendezvous is not only fun and games; we also spend a lot of time discussing with the parents various topics. On Friday, Bob spoke about Autism and other sensory issues. Carol and Alison spoke to the families on funding sources for program and help, hiring help, finding volunteers to do program, as well as schools that are participating in the program and our Project 9+/-2. That afternoon, Dr. Neil spoke about nutrition and how Diet Coke is just not good for you! Imagine that!
On Saturday, Bob started the morning on the topic of Down Syndrome. Lyn, Ellen, and I discussed program implementation with the families. Lyn and Ellen talked with the families later in the day regarding Math and Reading and our approach. On Sunday Bob had the floor the entire morning, discussing brain injury with our families along with the importance and significance of processing and motivating our kids! Finally, on Monday, we talked about the schools, IEP’s, homeschooling, therapies – what to use and when. This one didn’t start promptly at 9am! After a long full weekend, all of us slowly made it to the shady area where we spent a majority of our time at Moose Hollow! What was so great about our discussion groups is that a majority of the families went to all of them. It didn’t matter whether they had a child with Down Syndrome or a brain injury….they came to learn, support each other, and be able to take that information and share it with others.
A few notables this year….Pearl, Alex, and Jack were back – and as cute as ever! Sumner, even though he has a body that doesn’t always want to cooperate, rode that horse like a champ! Arianna, along with her sister and mother, traveled all the way from Spain to see us. I have worked with Arianna since she was one year old through telephone/video evaluations. Now that she is at the age of 9, I have finally been able to give her a hug! And finally, Bob won most everyone’s heart on Sunday by bringing a case of wine to the barbecue!!!
One desired outcome of the Rendezvous last year was the development of the chapter support groups. As everyone experienced, joining together with other families who share similar problems, goals, and dedication to their children is not only heart warming, but also empowering. We hope that each of the NACD families will become active participants in their local chapters and help develop and build the NACD Family.
A big thank you goes out to Alison, Jennifer, and the rest of the staff for putting all this together. While it does take a lot of time and effort, what a pleasure it is to see our families come together, and most importantly, to make our kids happy! Isn’t that what we as parents strive to do?!
Hope to see you all next year!!!