It’s a week later, and I’m just now feeling coherent enough to type some words about this year’s summit in Washington, DC.
The last few years (and the year it was part of Mom 2.0), I’ve helped the conference by being a live blogger, but this year, Doug asked if I’d like to participate on a panel highlighting military dads, and I was happy to agree. It was like moving from being a production assistant to supporting actor.
Our talk was titled Major Dad: How Military Life Shapes and Challenges Our Parenting. Joining me were 3 current Marine Corps officers (2 dads and a mom), and former Marine and current author/speaker Armin Brott. I moderated.
Our panel was smaller in attendance than most of the others I attended, but there were lots of questions and comments, so it made it fun and interactive. Several guys spoke highly of it afterward, so I’m glad to have been a participant.
Other ways in which this year’s conference differed from previous years:
1- I got to fly a drone (but not where I wanted to fly it, which was the National Mall…instead, we drove like 1.5hrs into what I was sure was Pennsylvania, but was actually just rural Virginia)! It was fun. So was the long bus ride to the location, because I was surrounded by people I haven’t seen in a year.
not pictured: Penn Holderness (of “Christmas Jammies” fame)
3- I finally met Josh Levs (even though we’re in the same city and talk on Facebok from time to time) and told him I enjoyed listening to him on NPR for 10 years. Also, he was kind encough to come to my panel and offer some input!
4- I met the director of Movember for North America, Mark Hedstrom. He gets the “favorite new friend” award for this year. After a party at the Museum of American History, we walked to Old Ebbitt Grill and a rooftop bar at the W with great views of the city, and we were able to enjoy talking about more topics than just men’s health + cancer!
6- I got to meet Derreck Kayongo and tell him how highly I regard the museum for which he has recently been named CEO.
There were also several ways in which this year’s Dad 2.0 Summit was very much like every other year’s Dad 2.0 Summit:
1- I got to spend time with some of my favorite people.
2- I spent an embarrassingly large amount of time wiping away tears. This year was even worse than prior years, however, because Oren‘s widow read some of his unpublished letters/posts right before we announced the addition of a Camp Kesem location at their alma mater, U. of MD, and that we’re all walking Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for the charity this summer.
3- Late night shenanigans were prevalent.
4- I bought next year’s ticket within hours of its going on sale.
I go to a lot of professional conferences, seminars, and trips every year, but I gotta say: I enjoy this one the most. It’s the only one in which the daytime content brings as much anticipation as the after hours adventures do.
And as someone who does a pretty fine job of finding (or creating) the “after hours adventures,” that’s high praise indeed.