Are you familiar with the Oley Foundation? If not, and you rely on nutrition support in any way, they’re a great organization to get to know. I love the way they state who they are on their website, “…the Oley Foundation is a national, independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that strives to enrich the lives of patients dependent on home intravenous nutrition (parenteral) and tube feeding (enteral) through education, advocacy, and networking.” Learn more about Oley here.
They put on several conferences throughout the year, but their big annual one is the hot topic for discussion today. While I’ve only been to one conference in 2016, it was absolutely life changing and I cannot wait for this summer’s conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Here are my top fifteen reasons you should go to the Oley Annual Conference this June.
1) Develop existing and discover new friendships — Honestly, this is my favorite part of this conference. The nutrition support community is a pretty tight knit crew on the Internet. But being able to see those people you’ve talked to, helped, and who have helped you along the way is life changing. There’s quite a bit of free time throughout the conference, so there is plenty of time to build those friendships that might last a lifetime.
2) Learning you’re not alone — To add to the magic of seeing old friends and meeting new ones, there’s something magical about being in a huge group of humans who also walk around with backpacks filled with TPN and/or feeding formula. I even went down to an early presentation with my TPN still running and wasn’t even embarrassed of the loud beeping when my infusion finished. Feeling understood and knowing there are numerous people surrounding you who walk a similar life is an amazing feeling that is hard to describe with words.
3) Exceptional Education — The Oley Conference is chock-full of education. They bring in experts from various places who specialize in things all over the map relating to nutrition support and specific diagnoses of majority groups who attend the conferences. You’ll learn so much, you’ll definitely need to pack a notebook to jot some notes down!
4) Intimate break-out sessions — While I love the main big session of the day, I must say, I love the small break-out sessions even more. Like I said, I love getting to chat with those in the community and bounce ideas off one another. These small groups are great for just that. There are several that happen all at once and you’re able to pick which you’d like to attend. I think that’s the hardest part of it, trying to pick which one you want to go to! There are so many great topics of discussion it’s hard to choose.
5) Award Ceremony — On the opening night of the conference, there are awards given out to several people who fit different categories and exemplify special qualities pertinent to specific awards. It’s so much fun to get to cheer on those who are making a difference in the nutrition support community while they get recognized for their actions.
6) Silent Auction — There is a fun silent auction night where there are dozens of donated items up for bid to raise funds for the Oley Foundation. It’s a great way to score some awesome goodies while supporting a great cause.
7) Walkathon — On the last day of the conference, there is a Walkathon that also raises funds for the Oley Foundation and all of their efforts. T-shirts will be provided to those who raise at least $20.
8) Meeting the Oley Staff — At the heart of it all are some of the most amazing humans in the world. The Oley staff work so hard to make this event beyond amazing, and they totally nail it! It is such an honor to meet them and get to see all of their hard work come to fruition over the four days of the conference. Truly amazing.
9) Meeting pharmacies from all over — There are booths set up all over the place where you can meet with tons of different infusion pharmacies from all over the US. Even if you’re not on the hunt for a new pharmacy, it’s fun to see what they’re all about! I loved getting to meet different dietitians, nurses, and pharmacists from all over the country who have a heart for and specialize in those of us who depend on nutrition support.
10) Learn about new and upcoming products — Interested in checking out the newest news in the Enfit transition in the enteral world? Or maybe wanting a hands-on feel of some feeding tubes if you’re in the market for seeing what’s out there? And don’t forget about possible new portable IV pumps (which I’m very hopeful to see this year) that might be coming to the market! There are all kinds of booths sharing their latest and greatest in IV and enteral nutrition products. It’s always fun to see what is coming to the market next.
11) Great Food — I know this is hard for some of us, but I’ve got to share about it because it’s so amazing. The food is outstanding (at least the year I went it was!) And I’m looking forward to some yummy eats while we are in Memphis. There is lunch served on days of sessions. On evenings I’m looking forward to exploring some new fun places in Memphis. Does anyone have suggestions?
12) Kid Friendly — You might be all on board, but wondering what to do with your kiddos during this conference. Well guess what? The kids are totally welcome, and will be entertained nearly the entire time! They do all kinds of fun things from getting to watch magic shows, movie nights, to getting to hangout with slithery reptiles brought in by some wildlife experts. The activities change from year to year, and I’m sure this year with the brand new “Kidz Club” they won’t disappoint.
13) Visiting a new city — Each year, the location of the conference changes. Which is great for those who have a hard time traveling. Some years it might be out of reach, but there is always hope that it might be closer to home next year. In 2016, it was in Newport Beach, California. In 2017, it was in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. I always love getting to visit new cities. This year, I’m beyond pumped to get to visit the Civil Rights Museum, Graceland, and hopefully try some local eats while in Memphis for the conference. What are your favorite spots in Memphis?
14) It’s just plain fun and free to attend — If you’re looking for a reason to get out and meet an amazing group of humans who you can relate to (assuming you’re on nutrition support) and just have an amazing little get away, this conference is for you. You’ll be able to participate in all that I’ve listed here and more, because they’re always doing more fun things than I could ever count! To top it all off, the conference is free to attend. All you have to do is get there and pay for your hotel room. There are great group rates to make this more affordable too. Oley works hard to get sponsors support so that they’re able to offer all of what I said above at no cost to the participants!
15) *BONUS* This is pertinent to this year in particular, but this year’s conference is being held at the Peabody Hotel. Not to be overly excited, but THEY HAVE DUCKS. Check out the hotel’s site here to see what I’m talking about. My dad stayed at a Peabody once when I was little, and when I connected the dots that this hotel was like the one my dad told me about all those years ago, I nearly cried. I’m beyond pumped to see their little performance every day at 11am and 5pm.
Are you already planning on going to the Oley Conference in Memphis this summer? If so, let’s chat and plan on meeting face to face there!
Is this all news to you? I’d love to chat about ways to make this trip easier for you if you’re interested. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.
Here’s the gist of this conference:
Where? The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee
When? June 24-27, 2018
For full details on all things Oley Annual Conference and to register to attend, visit this page.
I can’t wait to see you there!
Note* Several photos from this post courtesy of the Oley website with permission.