If you attended 4 Trimesters' conference in 2017, you know that we collected a lot of feedback by way of evaluation forms, both on the individual workshops, and the day itself.
I'm so glad we did, because it gave us the opportunity to hear how much you loved the event, and also a bunch of things to improve on. I'll be sharing quotes from the positive words we got over social media in the next couple months, and in the meantime, tell you about what changes have been made to better suit everyone's needs.
But first, let me announce the five winners of the eval-submitting draws (please keep your eye out for an email from me with a code):
And now, for a rundown on all the improvements that have been made for this year:
The number one complaint from the conference last year was that a few of the rooms were squishy, and the open workshop areas made it hard to hear. So, as much as I loved being at the Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex, we have found a new home this time at the gorgeous Artscape Youngplace building, slightly west and south from our former venue. The workshop rooms are spread out in the building though, so we'll have more volunteers to usher people around without a hitch. (Note, the venue is still accessible, with both stairs and elevators running between the lower level and the second floor.)
It was not lost on me that our team of presenters, as skilled and multi-disciplined as they were, were an overwhelmingly white group. This was not ethnically representative of our participant base, or that of young families in Toronto as a whole, and representation such a big part of inclusion. Inclusion being central to the 4 Trimesters mission, I made even more of a point for the 2018 conference to connect with perinatal practitioners of colour. I'm very grateful to the folks who responded to my call for applications, and of our new presenters this year, 50% are BIPOC. Still not as representative as I'd like it to be, but moving in a direction better aligned with our values.
Also, some presenters where not as familiar with addressing families with the most inclusive language, so I have been sharing this fantastic piece of Tynan's on gender-neutral birth terms all over the place.
Further emphasis on Community Building
We have extended the whole conference by an hour, and the in-house lunch break by a bit so you don't have to feel so rushed or cut your conversations over good food short, and we have some fun plans in the works to help you get to know your fellow attendees and hopefully carry on social connections beyond conference day.
Encouraging partners to attend
This year we are offering special pricing for pregnant and recently-birthed folks who want to bring their partners, or maybe even better to say, for partners who would also like to take an active role in learning about parenting on this day. You can take workshops together, or divide and conquer your individual learning needs! Some of the workshops I imagine will be especially popular with partners are Parenthood Awakening, Food Prep, Green at Home, Coping Techniques for Labour, The Art & Science of Infant Sleep, Babywearing Basics, Attachment & Fostering Connection, Pleasure after Kids, Superfood Babies, and of course, the panel discussion at the start of the day on Supporting the Pregnant/Postpartum Person you Love.
How you define partner is flexible - for example, if you are a sole parent, bringing one of your parents or a dedicated friend would be fantastic! Non-romantic co-parents, same deal! These tickets are not, however, available for two pregnant or parenting friends, as the intention is to support couples in sharing the parenting work (and joy!) load. "Couples" tickets come with one swag bag per couple.