~ Announcing the 28th Annual SOFT Conference in Norfolk, VA ~
Get ready for “Rollin’ on the River”…the Elizabeth River, that is.
July 9-13, 2014
<< Registration for the conference has not yet begun, and not all the details are set, but it’s not too early to make your plans! You can reserve your hotel room any time, including now. We expect to begin registering for the conference about March 1st, 2014 – watch this page as we add more information and announce the opening of registration. Items below that are left blank are pending final information. >>
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Hotel Accommodations: The 2014 SOFT Conference will be held during July 9-13, 2014, at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel, Norfolk, VA, 23510. This is Norfolk’s only waterfront hotel, located on the Elizabeth river, with nearby attractions and easy access to downtown and 2.25 miles from the hospital where clinics will be held. Reservations can be made by calling 757-622-6664. Our special SOFT rate is $115 plus tax, per night, including complimentary in-room internet service. An entire suite can also be had for $250. If you want a refrigerator or microwave, ask for these at the time of registration and these should be put in your room at no extra cost. Here is the link for attendees to use to register for a hotel room. The SOFT special rate code is built into this link:
If registering by phone, be sure to ask for the SOFT Group Rate when making a reservation to get our special rate. Our special rate and room block ends June 8, 2014. Self-parking is $7 per day. These hotel photos provide a hotel overview:
Airports: Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is about 9.5 miles (20 minutes) away and rental cars are available there. The airport is served by American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, and US Airways.
Travel by Auto: Norfolk is served by Interstate 64; the area beltway is Interstate 264. Click here for distances and times, by auto, from many cities.
Medical Clinics: The SOFT Medical Clinics, for families attending the conference with a living SOFT child, will be held at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. If there is a sub-specialty you are particularly interested in, please register early as the clinics fill up fast. Please indicate your need for busing on the registration form. For those who choose to drive, the hospital is about 2.25 miles from the hotel. The different clinics are listed on the conference brochure.
Memory Room: A special quiet room will be provided for families to share the memories of those we have lost. Please bring photos, photo albums, scrapbooks or any other mementos to share. The Memory Room will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00am-10:00pm and after the picnic from 6:00-10:00pm.
Auction: The annual Auction will be held on Saturday evening at 6:30pm. Please bring auction items to donate as well as your cash, checkbook and credit cards! A cash bar and light refreshments will be served. Please consider bringing handmade items, baskets of treats from your area, small antiques and home décor, art work, SOFT-related items, jewelry, gift certificates, and signed sports memorabilia. Regift, we won’t tell!
Sibling Outing: There will be sibling outings for younger (6-11) and older (12+) siblings. Younger Siblings will go to the Children’s Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth, with a ferry boat ride across the Elizabeth River. The fee for the ferry, t-shirt, lunch and museum is $25. Older siblings will go to the Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach. The fee for the Waterpark, Chaperones, transportation, lunch and t-shirts will be set soon – watch this space! Children must be pre-registered – see the registration form for details.
Optional Friday Night Outing: This year the Friday Night Outing will be a Norfolk Tides minor leage dinner and ball game. The cost is $17 per adult and $15 per child, which includes dinner and game admittance. The stadium is 1/2 mile from the hotel so you can walk right to it. Details are on the registration form.
SOFTwear: The style, sizes, and cost of SOFTwear offered this year are listed on the Conference registration Form and can be previewed here, before you complete the registration form (insert link here). Please indicate your order on the registration form so that we will have what you want. All SOFTwear orders must be placed by midnight 6/15/2014. Some extra shirts in common sizes may be available, but do not depend on this. Order your shirts, wear the logo and announce that you are “Rollin’ on the River”!
Picnic and Balloon Celebration Information: SOFT’s Annual Balloon Celebration, in Memory of Ryan Cantrell, occurs during the Saturday picnic, and is the special event held each year to pay tribute to our SOFT children who have received their angel wings. You do not need to attend the conference to include your child’s name in the ceremony. You may choose to attend only the picnic and balloon celebration, and you may release the balloon when your child’s name is called. Whether you attend the conference or not, request that a balloon be released by completing the special Balloon Celebration Form, after registration begins March 1st. The balloons will have attached a special tag that will travel with the balloon. Our picnic and balloon release will be held at a site that is handicapped-accessible.
SOFT Stroll for Hope Fundraiser: The Cook Family will sponsor the annual SOFT Stroll for Hope, in Memory of Jonathan Cook. There will be prizes for the best dressed family, most pledges raised, best decorated wheelchair and stroller awarded by the Cook Family. All teams will then walk from the hotel to Town Point Park on the waterfront walkway, with many cheering us on. You may even see some newspaper and TV crews there too. You can make your pledge page and get started by logging onto https://www.firstgiving.com/softstrollforhope/norfolk. Come dressed in your favorite team attire. The Cooks will be Jonathan’s Fans, all decked out in rainbow, of course. For questions, please email Cindy Cook at email@example.com. Note: the First Giving feature will be active soon!
SOFT Video Montage: Be a part of the “SOFT FRIENDS VIDEO,” created every year by Kris and Hal Holladay in memory of their daughter Kari. It features our children and families! Please submit 2-3 pictures by May 31, 2014. Upload your photos at www.softannualvideo.com or email them to Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org or send by mail to: Kris Holladay, 1522 E. Garnet Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85204. Please make sure your pictures are less than 1MB each. Note: Pictures will not be returned, so do not send your original, one of a kind picture! Please include the following information: 1) Parent names 2) Child’s name and diagnosis 3) birth date and death date 4) May we reuse your pictures in the future videos? (yes/no) 5) Are you attending the conference (yes/no) 6) Additional information to share: touching, funny, sweet, heartwarming, etc. Questions? Email Kris at the email address provided above.
Registration Fee: While the fees are not yet set, the registration fee includes a great deal more than just the conference events. Meals included in the registration fee would typically cost considerably more than the registration fee and we make up the difference from donations. It usually includes the following meals at no additional cost:
Wednesday night welcome reception
Full hot breakfast on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Thursday evening banquet
Saturday Picnic, a full meal
Snacks during the Saturday evening auction event
Continental breakfast on Sunday
The full conference and picnic is $_____ for adults & children age 12+, and $_____ for children less than 12 years. There is no charge for your child with trisomy. Registration for the picnic only is $____ for adults and children age 12+ and $_____ for children less than 12 years. Fees for outings will be added as they become known and outing details are in the conference brochure and on the registration form.
Questions? You can send an email to the Conference Chair Person by clicking here.