On October 23, Vinh drove Meridith & I up to Sacramento for the OTAC Conference. It took us about 2 hours to get there, but it wasn't so bad at all. After driving around the area where the conference was held, we decided to have lunch at a little cafe. I shared a clam chowder with Vinh and then had a Asian chicken salad sandwich that tasted like a meatbun, haha! Afterwards, Vinh dropped us off at the Hyatt hotel where the conference was held. We checked in & got our name badge, messenger bag & North Coast catalog. We were waiting around the lobby area & we ran into Dressler [teacher]. She told me that she was going to come observe my group this coming Wednesday [yikes!] & that she was happy to see us at the conference.
Afterwards, we headed to the Capitol building where our advocacy session was being held. We went up to the 4th floor & waited for all the speakers to arrive [3 of 'em being our current teachers]. To our surprise, we actually split up into groups to go talk with a committee staff member of a legislator. Meridith & I decided to go with the developmental disabilities group led by Gigi [teacher] to go talk with Jack Hailey. Basically, Jack Hailey was kind of pointing fingers at the Republicans for the budget & all that, but he's just bitter since the budget has cut a lot of programs he has seen grow over the years. Although very intimidating, it was a very good learning experience :)
After our enlightening experience with a committee staff member, we headed back to the Hyatt to listen to the keynote speaker, the AOTA president. Before heading in to hear the address, Gigi & Schultz-Krohn sold us a $5 ribbon to help support OTAC PAC [political action committee]. The keynote speaker used "Horton Hears A Who" as her theme, but made it OT. It was a pretty empowering speech I must say & it made me super proud to be an OT! Both OTAC & AOTA memberships are at the highest it has ever been & this year's OTAC conference had the biggest turnout!
When the AOTA president was done with her keynote address, all of us headed over to the Sacramento Convention Center for the grand opening of the Exhibit Hall, where a bunch of vendors & employers are to recruit new people & spread the word about their company & products. Meridith & I were pretty Asian & got a load of free goodies as well as a lot of business cards from future employers! I love my free 360 goniometer! My favorite vendor/employer would have to be the home health guy [PT], he pretty much sold it to me & I'm super excited to start working already!
It was pretty hilarious to see our teachers in a context outside of school. We ran into Andonian buying beer from the bar & we saw Schultz-Krohn sipping white wine. It was definitely nice to see them being human though, that's for sure! Afterwards, Vinh picked us up & took us near Old Sacramento to have dinner at Johnny Rockets. Then we drove for another hour & 45 minutes to drop off Meridith before going back to Vinh's for the night. I love how we diagnosed the characters of Winnie the Pooh on the way home. Tigger is bipolar manic, Eeyore is depressed, Rabbit is OCD, Piglet has attachment issues & Pooh has an addiction, lol! Overall, we had a very fun & empowering experience at our first OTAC conference :)