In 2008 I attended my first First Place event. Not wanting to attend alone, I invited my sister Cyndi. We hatched a plan. We convinced our spouses that they could handle our rambunctious sons without us for the weekend. We booked our hotel, registered, and planned our drives to Williamsport, PA. We each drove over four hours from different directions.
At the hotel, I stood star-struck in an elevator, stammering as I introduced myself to Carole Lewis (then the National Director). Instantly we felt welcomed. We soon realized we were with our people. People who understood us. We were with our fellow First Placers. Years later, Monique Johnson and I realized we were both at the same event in the same elevator.
2010 brought a new challenge. I wanted to attend the Summit in Houston. No one in my group wanted to go. My sister couldn’t go. Do I go by myself? I wanted to go. Yes, I should go.
Do you have any idea the size of the Houston airport? Everything is big in Texas, including the airports. As I made my way to baggage, I am pleasantly surprised by a smiling face. Monique is waiting at the bottom of the escalator. I hardly knew Monique, yet we recognized each other. When we are with First Placers, we are not alone. Monique had been to Houston before and was glad to show me the way.
2020 marks the eleventh year I’ve attended Summit. Each year, I try to bring someone new, a member of my group, a fellow leader, and even my husband. I love watching as they experience firsthand the love, acceptance, and understanding of the First Place family. Many will point to Summit as the first time they met a now life-long friend. When I look at our Success Stories page, so many are friends I met for the first time at Summit.
This year, Summit 2020 – The Joy Adventure, is like no Summit before. The virtual Summit allows for a power-packed speaker line-up, of which all, I repeat, all have their own First Place story to share. Are you ready for open and honest dialogue from speakers who are walking their own wellness journey?
This 2-day virtual conference, July 24-25th, includes 30-days of unlimited access to all the recordings (3 Keynote sessions, 2 workouts, and 9 Seminar sessions). We also have planned times to meet and talk with each other in our online café. I can’t wait to hear about the new friendships made.
Helen Baratta, Director of Development for First Place for Health. She facilitates the Level 3 Membership Level. She is the author of My Place for Leadership included in the My Place Leader’s Kit and Restored! Embracing Weight Loss God’s Way available at our online bookstore. Helen encourages everyone to embrace change and say “Yes” to all God has planned.