Dads at the WPA Conference
Workshops of Special Interest to Dads
Anyone 18 or older can purchase a $10 day pass to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Use the cardio exercise equipment; jogging/walking track; basketball, volleyball, and indoor soccer courts; golf simulators; etc. Details at recreation.uwosh.edu.
A Letter To Dads (and Moms) About the Conference
Take a break from the “honey-dos” at home and join the dads like me who have already discovered the family fun and education at the Conference in Oshkosh! Yes – I’m keenly aware that the conference coincides with opening day of fishing season, but I attend anyway, because it’s important for my family.
Check the schedule closely for the Family Activity workshops that my son and I especially enjoy, while mom goes to the “quieter” (more important?) sessions. There’s just no way my energetic 8 year old will ever sit still for an hour, so we are on the move all day, making things, tearing them apart, competing for speed and/or distance with what we’ve made. As the years have passed, we find ourselves looking more forward to it and find this conference an excuse for a great day to do things we don’t normally get to do at home and have some undistracted “guy” time. I’ve also heard that there’s plenty for dads and daughters to do, too, although I don’t have personal experience in that area. Or if your kids don’t need you during workshop times, check out some of the exciting workshops for parents, including some especially for dads. Perhaps you’re wondering about college; there are excellent workshops on that and other topics.
Perhaps you’re not as involved in the daily homeschooling activities as your spouse, but this event is guaranteed to get you involved, give you some new ideas, and kindle your confidence in your homeschooling endeavors. Everywhere you look, there’s something to see or do, and the day goes quickly.
If this will be your first WPA conference, there are a few basics you should know:
- If your work schedule allows, consider arriving late Friday afternoon. The Meet n’ Greet will put you in touch with other conference goers right from the start. Or swim in the campus pool. Friday evening workshops are followed by the Family Folk Dance with live music, enthusiastic participants, and onlookers chatting and munching on snacks.
- You can stay Friday night in the conference center. It’s, well, a college dorm with narrow beds, shared bathrooms, and all, but the location is convenient and the price is right. The checkout time is not until10 PM Saturday evening, so many families use their rooms for breaks, snacks, and meals on Saturday. (Each room has a fridge and a microwave.) Or you can stay in a hotel in the area.
- Even if you’re coming for Saturday only, the conference starts fairly early in the morning, so depending on how far you have to drive, you may want to consider an overnight stay. We used to drive from Milwaukee the day of but over the years have decided it’s better for us if we overnight in Oshkosh the night before. There are many fun things to see and do in Oshkosh.
- There’s easy/free parking and access to the buildings where workshops are held.
- Please don’t dress up in business attire; you’ll raise the bar on those of us that wear ironed clothes during the week and crave to be casual all weekend. Skip shaving that morning; razor stubble is encouraged.
- Divide and conquer, my wife and I have NEVER attended the same workshop. But then I know some couples prefer to stick together.
- If you’re used to going to conferences for your job, where you sit for hours and hours in a large room, listening to various speakers, THIS IS NOT THAT. We’re always on the move, and time flies here! Depending on the workshops, you might spend the entire day in one building, or you might be walking a few blocks between buildings, and the weather in May in Oshkosh can be well, “weird!” Dress for the climate and bring an umbrella.
- Everyone seems to be carrying a backpack, diaper or ditty bag that contains all of their day long essentials. An empty bottle of water can refilled at any drinking fountain (bubbler). There are also some soft drink vending machines as in any college dorm building.
- If you’re expecting to sit in tiny plastic school kid chairs THERE ARE NONE. This is a college campus and the seating is fine for most grown men.
- If you are expecting a fancy hotel-type luncheon, served with coffee or iced tea, THIS IS NOT THAT. You are on your own with your family for food and drink. The campus cafeteria’s all-you-can-eat buffets for breakfast and lunch are reasonable options. However, my family always chooses to bring our own lunch. You can eat food from home anyplace except the campus dining hall.
In summary, it’s a “must do” for moms and dads. I’m nearly certain during your ride home in the car that evening when you’re comparing notes and sharing stories of what you did and saw all day, you’ll realize you’re already looking forward to 2015’s conference.