People from near and far flew, drove, and caravanned, (one person even bicycled) to join the 4th Meet at the Mountain Conference in Sun River, OR on April 5th-6th 2017.  Meet at the Mountain was a collaborative effort between representatives from the Oregon Employment First Office, Office of Developmental Disabilities Services, Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Resource Association, Oregon Self Advocacy Coalition, Full Access High Desert, Rocco’s Family Network, and Wise. The conference was an opportunity for Employment Consultants, Self-advocates activists, Transition teachers, YTP Specialist, Families, Case Managers, Personal Agents, VR Counselors, State Employees, Transition Network Facilitators, and Employment First teams to come to together in a space focused on equitable employment opportunities in the state of Oregon.

The conference highlighted six mountain themed tracks:

  • Base Camp: Legislative Advocacy, Peer to Peer, Family Networks 
  • Mapping the Route: Transition, Transformation, VR
  • Mountain Guides: Direct Service (Job Development, Job Coaching, Systematic Instruction)
  • Expedition Teams: Pilot Projects (Project Search, TMPP, Transformation)
  • Higher Elevations: Systems, Policy, Sticky Wickets
  • Summit Stories: Success Stories

Conference attendees enjoyed sessions from skilled presenters from across the Pacific Northwest ranging from Job Development 101, Project Search, Public Sector Job Development, WIOA, and much more. Click here to a link for a full list of presenters, breakout sessions and training resources.

The event kicked off with a great opening keynote with Roberta and Todd Dunn, and Karen and Sam McKinney. Roberta and Karen (both of FACT Oregon) and their sons who are friends and roommates, discussed the value of living normal everyday community lives. The group discussed the importance of community mapping for building relationships, employment, and shared stories about living with your friends.

A noted highlight for many conference goers was the keynote presentation by Jason Quick “the One-Armed Juggler.” Jason dazzled the crowd with feats of plunger throwing, egg standing, bowling ball juggling, all while telling jokes, and inspiring the masses.  Jason reminded us anything is possible, with perseverance and tenacity, our impossible goals of juggling everything are not only doable, they’re possible and fun.

Conference goers had the opportunity to participate in a Meet at the Mountain Video booth that highlighted their takeaways of the conference. Video booth participant were prompted to answer “what was your meet at the mountain moment?” and “what do you intend to do as a follow up?”  Please enjoy the video by clicking the link below:

Meet at the Mountain Moment Booth Video

We have met at the mountain, and look forward to meeting at the mountain again in the future. Go forth, get jobs, reach out to your new networks, and continue share the success stories of your hard work.