Highlights from the National Conference
In August, the Amputee Coalition welcomed nearly 1,000 members, caregivers and supporters of the limb loss and limb difference community from across the country to Orlando, Florida, for the Amputee Coalition National Conference. It was a chance to make new friends and connect with old ones, to learn about some of the newest innovations and technologies on the market and to have FUN!
The theme of this year’s conference was “Elevate: Together Towards Tomorrow,” which was seen live in motion in Orlando. The theme is about elevating yourself: looking at your goals and figuring out how to bring your life to a higher level.
As one of the keynote speakers, Paralympian, businesswoman and motivational speaker Amy Purdy, said, “We are so resourceful. We are so creative. We are so innovative. Because we have to be. And that is a gift. This is how we thrive in adversity–we make adversity our ally. We always have a choice of whether we are going to let our challenges break us down or we’re going to use them to build us up so we can become stronger than we ever were before.”
That’s what the National Conference is all about. Providing people with the information, resources and connections they need to help them elevate and achieve their personal goals.
Some people leave with friends for life or a nugget of inspiration that came out of a keynote, but everyone leaves with their cup full and with new tools for their own personal journey, so that the LLLD community can thrive.
Participant Greg Souser said, “I love mingling with fellow amputees, learning about the latest innovations at the vendor booths and the classes where you get a better insight on how other people are dealing with their reality. You learn a lot. The sense of community you get here, you can’t find it anywhere else.”
There were a number of adjustments to the 2023 conference based on feedback from previous attendees. New features were added, including AC Talks, which provided community members the opportunity to elevate their voices in short talks on innovative topics and storytelling grouped under a theme, along with a full portfolio of workforce development classes designed to help community members with career exploration, transitioning back into the workforce or starting their journey into the workforce.
Participants also did a ton of fun activities. They swam, practiced yoga, played golf, listened to amazing musicians and performers during the opening night celebration and closing night dance gala, and enjoyed everything that the lively city of Orlando has to offer.
Parallel to the conference was the Youth Camp, led by amputee advocates, who encouraged the campers to dream big, set goals and not let anyone get in the way of those dreams.
The core mission at the Amputee Coalition is to ensure that the LLLD community is thriving. Staff and volunteers work every day to help members of the community elevate themselves and elevate all of us. This is a theme for the rest of the year for the organization, not just for the conference.
Stay tuned for more information about the 2024 Amputee Coalition National Conference, which will be held in Atlanta!