The night the lights went out in San Diego we were attending the 2nd annual Good Vibration's Unschooling Conference in Del Mar, San Diego. The first one was 2009, with a hiatus in 2010, but to be continued annually going forward. It ended up being very eventful! Earlier in the week we had some very uncommon for September, wet, humid weather. Then, on the first afternoon of the conference was a blackout that affected almost all of San Diego, and parts of AZ. It lasted 9 hours at the Del Mar Doubletree hotel, where we were staying. The following days resulted in a sewage spill caused by the outage which closed the local beaches. Then, my dear little Olivia slipped, hit her head and had a concussion!
You would think it was a very bad week indeed......
However, being the amazing unschooling community that we are, the conference continued, in fact thrived and became one of the most memorable conferences that I'm aware of. While most were at the hotel when it happened, many continued to swim in the pool, hang out in the lounge and playrooms, hula-hoop by the pool, and continued with nerf gun and light saber play. Once it got dark, the hotel had handed out flashlights, the generator allowed the hall lights to stay on and some of us had beeswax candles we made from the art supplies room. So, many continued to play, hangout in the halls with neighbors, making new friends and making the most of an otherwise bad situation!
Before the power went out, Olivia had a Ninjago Funshop. For those not familiar with Unschooling Conferences and Funshops, prior to the conference, in fact many months prior, the conference organizer takes requests for Funshops. Usually someone will offer to do a funshop that involves something they are very much interested in such as Pokemon, an arts or crafts project (ATCs-Artist Trading Cards, Recycled material tutus, Sponge Art), Legos, Nerf Gun Wars, etc. That person would be responsible for the supplies or letting conference goers know what they need to bring for the Funshop. It's really just "strewing" your own interests and sharing it with others to enjoy and possible pick up a new interest.
The Lego Ninjago Funshop went really well. We had brought Ninjago Lego spinners and Ninjago spin-jitsus. We made arena boards to spin and battle them on. We brought some chopsticks for chopstick races, ninja swords, as well as light sabers, made ninja headbands, rice in a bowl-to pick lego pieces out of with chopsticks and some origami paper for ninja stars....and other fun origami ideas.
Olivia had a great time, and Violet helped out with the organizing and assisting in getting the games going.
Prior to the Funshop was a Knights, Armor and codes in Chivalry and an International Candy Tasting Funshop. The Knights Funshop was presented by Scott Farrell of Chivalry Today and he showed us his knight's armor, wearing it, showed us swords and other weaponry and displayed how it was used. It was really interesting stuff. The kids all enjoyed it immensely and had many terrific questions about it. Afterwards, some of the kids tried the armor on. It was so heavy!!! I'm amazed Olivia could hold it up without crumbling to the ground!
The International Candy Tasting was hosted by our friend Gardenia. It was such a hit last conference that she decided to do it again. There was so many wonderful treats, the kids as well as adults were enjoying trying all of the different flavors and textures, some from as far away as Japan & Turkey!
Later, there was the Pool Party and BBQ. Despite the blackout at that time, there was some delicious food waiting for us after a fun swim in the pool.
It was after the BBQ that Olivia hurt herself. She was over by the jacuzzi and slipped and fell back and hit the back of her head. She got a rather large gooseegg and was crying incessantly. I could tell it was serious. I took her back to the room and gave her ice and some pain relievers. It helped a bit and she was able to get some sleep for the night. The following morning she was still in pain and feeling nauseaus. So, I ended up taking her to ER and had her checked out and CT scanned. Everything checked out negative and she was diagnosed with a mild concussion. It is only now, a week later that she is finally feeling her back to normal self. She missed much of the conference, but had a really good time while there. Dan cheered her up with a new Ninjago lego set and lots of one-on-one daddy time.
Dan took Olivia home and took good care of her and I took Violet back to the conference so that she wouldn't miss out. I was able to attend the speakers talks and some of the chat circles. I kept in constant contact with Dan and Olivia via text and calls. The next day I went home for a few hours to help out and just sit and be with her. She mostly slept for the first 1/2 of the week home. While at the conference I really missed her and Dan but Violet really enjoyed herself and it was nice that we were so close to home (1/2 hour) if needed.
The rest of the conference included more funshops, more speakers, round table discussions and just being around good friends. Many of the San Diegans there were friends from our local unschooling group. I'm glad so many were there and that they enjoyed themselves and missed those that couldn't make it. Also missed those dear friends from afar that didn't make it this year (& looking forward to seeing you next month!!!)
During the conference there was a great space for non-stop art, it was the Nature of Art Creative Space hosted by my dear friend Spramani E'Laun. There was lots of art supplies available, some available for purchase, recycled art projects, mixed media, and a beautifully created Collaborative art project that was presented to the Conference Organizer, Flo Gascon.
Another part of the conference I really enjoyed was the Untrepreneurial Artisian Bazaar. Unschoolers brought their home-made creations and sold them during most of the conference. Adults and children alike made available some very creative products; crocheted earrings, pottery, bottlecap magnets, duct tape flowers, fiber dolls and so much more. I came home with a few goodies from both the bazaar and the Nature of Art Space shop.
Some of the funshops that Violet enjoyed were the Ace of Cakes Funshop, Upcycled Tutus, "Stone" Statues (made of sponges), Geocaching, TShirt Surgery, Rock Star Drama Camp with Amy Steinberg (which was sooo much fun!), and Nature Journaling. I was so glad she was able to stay and I appreciate the help that I recieved from friends who kept an eye out for her when I went home to be with Livie.
Violet and I also enjoyed Amy Steinberg's concert under the stars on the Conference's last night on Sunday. She sang many of our favorites, Exactly, Round and Round, as well as some new stuff off her newest album, Love Divine. It was such a lovely, evening outside. Dancing, singing being with good friends, seeing the little ones run around, hula hooping as background to Amy's singing. Singing Happy Birthday to our little confence baby Lena. Perfect end to an unforgettable conference.
We missed out on the after conference park day where they made nitrogen ice cream and hula hooped and had many hugs and other fun. Sorry if we didn't get to say goodbye, but I know we'll see you again at the next GVC and possible sooner to those of you closer by!
Thanks to my dear friend Flo for taking this on again this year and allowing my family and I to be a part of it. We're really looking forward to next year, can't wait to see how you top this memorable year!!!