I write this post 5 months after we set out on our 10,000 mile journey. Since returning from the trip, it has been so powerful for us to share with our friends and families the lessons and stories of Sibs’ Journey. I definitely miss waking up to Renee and Ellie’s smiling faces each day and am still adjusting to not being able to see a new state every day.
I’ve also had the chance to take many steps back and think critically about the value of our summer. Since it was such an amorphous thing, it would be easy to simply label it as “my awesome summer road trip” and move on with my life and my homework and everything else. But, perhaps, what I’ve realized most is how powerful an experience the trip truly was. Not only did it allow my team and I to explore so many of our own thoughts about this issue, it empowered the siblings we interviewed to know that people wanted to hear their story, that their story mattered.
I now write to you all, not just to reflect but to fill you in on our next big idea. After much talk and ideas bounced back and forth, we’ve decided to channel our energy towards planning a conference for 18-25 year old sibs in Boston this upcoming summer. So why a conference and why this age group?
Conferences are a way to gather and share resources that will help sibs navigate important future milestones with their siblings. We also believe that conferences are a powerful way to build a network of sibling support across the country for sibs that may be experiencing the same challenges. We want to bring in a variety of folks from different specialty areas to provide a space for sibling to ask as many questions as they want about how to help their family plan for their sibling’s future. The goal of our conference will be to help sibs get from where they are now with their sibling to where they want to be.
We also think it’s really important to engage sibs of this age group. During our summer, we realized that while there was a certain level of support available to younger children through SibShop groups and that online forums existed for older sibs experiencing difficulties, there was a major gap for people in the 18-25 range. We hope this conference will be a first step to developing and providing resources to the young adult sib crowd.
Conference planning is a new thing for us and we’d love as much support as possible in planning this event. We are currently working with a small team but we’d love as much input as we can get. Have you been to a lot of conferences and have general feedback on what makes them better or worse? Do you have ideas of how we could recruit sibs to attend? If you’re an older sib, what would you have wanted access to as a 20 something year old?
If you have any interest at all in helping out with any aspect of this conference, please either comment on this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.