Lessons I Learned from the Cincinnati SparkPeople Convention

By , SparkPeople Blogger
What a wonderful weekend it was to spend with so many inspirational members . The conventions are becoming the highlight of my life in ways many of you may understand. For those non-SparkPeople members this may be hard for them to appreciate, but trust me, I walked away with more friends this past weekend than I did when I arrived. Life doesn't get any better than that! I was so touched and moved by everyone who has had the courage to walk this journey. We are more than just members of an internet site, WE ARE A FAMILY!

So I decided to come up with a list of lessons I learned from our members and I would like to share them with you.
  • We are never alone on this journey. We all came to SparkPeople with our own baggage but what I have discovered is with GREAT community support we are NEVER alone is this journey. My new friend Laurie5658 and I shared our love of running and I will always know her as Laurie the RUNNER!

  • We can inspire others even when we don't expect to. I was so honored to meet ~IndyGirl! Wow, talk about a beautiful lady. She is quite funny and I think she may have found a calling for public speaking. I hung on every word she had to say and as you would expect lots of HAPPY tears. What a true delight. Same is true for beautiful Laura AKA BLAZEGRRL. Wow what a fantastic story she shared about her own healthy lifestyle journey. When we accomplish our goals, the doors to our life are opened wide.

  • We are more than members, we are true friends. Friday night at the impromptu 'Meet and Greet' I met three awesome women, two from Louisville--SUZYSPARKLES and SUNFLOWER , one sweet lady Melissa AKA SURFIE from South Carolina and a great guy named Mike, AKA MIKEEO also from Louisville. This team was AWESOME. They made their own 'SparkPeople' shirts with their usernames on the back. Talk about spreading the SPARK. And hey, Mike is like a giant teddy bear who never stopped smiling and gave me some AWESOME bear hugs. Would you all consider adopting me?

  • It's OK to cry tears of joy. I just love to see how our members take on the challenges in their lives. My new friends Heather and Jessica did just that as they took on the Teddy Bear 5K Sunday morning. What an honor it was to be there to see these ladies meet their goals and while they never expected a medal, they each got one! Can I get a WOO HOO? WOO HOO!

  • Smiles are contagious! I met my friend Lynn on the elevator at the hotel after working out at the gym. Each time our paths crossed I couldn't help but smile back. What a joy to have seen her at the convention, but also at the Teddy Bear 5K on Sunday! And without Spark members IT-IS-WHATITIS and GOT2BME1's reassuring smiles during my presentation, I am not sure it would have gone as well as it did. Thank you ladies.

  • People are who they are! Bobby and Anne and Dani were members I have known for quite some time from the Rookie Running Group SparkTeam and I must say they are as every bit as genuine as they come. The friendships were only solidified even more so by meeting these wonderful people in person.

  • We share a common bond. Sharing our life's ups and downs as well as our hopes and dreams is what connects us to one another. I had the joy of sharing a meal with Deb and her sister Gerry and 7 other members Friday night. It was so wonderful to share our own journey but more importantly connect as friends. I even walked away with an invitation to come to Michigan!!! WOO HOO!

These are just a few lessons of many I learned this weekend. This journey is such an incredible adventure that having others to share it with me makes my life the best it's ever been. THANK YOU ALL!!!

What have you learned from other members that has allowed you to stay on this journey? Have you met any members in person, if so, was it everything you expected? What lessons can you share with others to help them on their own personal journey?

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come to Florida!!! Report
How is the info on the convention communicated??
I would have loved to go and I live locally to Cincinnati. Report
As always, great article by Nancy. Our Raleigh Spark Team has meet-ups and I have gotten to three of them. Awesome to meet your teammates in person!!! But isn't it funny how you feel so connected to so many people whom you have never met. Love it! Report
I also would love a convention in Canada, West coast to be precise. Smile. I have met another Sparker in person, Greygrannie, when I visited the Oregon coast. We spent a wonderful afternoon, had lunch and walked Beverly Beach.
Great lady, she is. A convention here in B C Canada would probably bring lots of Sparkers from the west coast of USA as well as many Canadian Sparkers. Think on that, Will you? Smile. Report
I think these conventions look absolutely fun and very informative. I wish we could have one in Canada!! Report
Thanks for sharing this article; looks like everyone had a great time!!!

When is Dallas' turn? Report
I love my spark sisters and brothers! We truly are family, and unless you've experienced it I don't think you can full grasp the level of support in sparkpeople.

That said - Nancy -I hope you are eating right and getting the rest you need,cause you are going to be awesome in Chicago! Report
Nancy...what can I say...you are the best! I left that convention feeling so wonderful! To have met such wonderful people and learned so much was more than I bargained for. You are truly a great friend! (But I knew that even before we met in person). Anne Report
I would love to make it to a spark convention sometime (esp if it is in Cincy since i live here)!!! Report
Big Time (((BEAR HUGS))) to ALL the wonderful peeps I met and plan on meeting in the future.

And there's plenty more where that came from.

PS. Nancy, consider yourself adopted. Report
I would love to make it to a Spark convention in the future. I hope you keep having them! Report
I agree with the family comment. After meeting everyone TAMZ and I feel strongly about the whole Spark concept. I've met several Spark-friends over the past year and have made some great friends. I've met AMCG2002 (Anne) who has become my best cycling friend who completed our first century ride together. I've met other friends who all hold a special place in my heart and I love that we can all share our stories and good/bad days with each other.

Rock out in Chicago! Report
I have never met any members, although, I feel like I really know them, and they are my friends. I have learned so many things from them. I love this site. Report
I would love to make it to a Spark convention in the future. I hope you keep having them! Report
MIKEEO is a great guy -- I'm glad you got to know him the same way us Louisvillians have. :) I was scrolling through the pics and said "Hey that guy looks like Mike"...read below it and it was. I wanted to go to this convention but couldn't swing it time or money wise...glad to see you all had a great time. Report
I've got some great motivators, supporters, and accomplices who I am glad to call my friends from this site. I look forward to seeing what every one is up to daily. I don't feel alone in the least (even though no one in my family or immediate circle of local friends is on this lifestyle change journey with me). I always have my Spark Buddies! Thanks for starting this site and Thanks for keeping it FREE! Report
WOW! Where to start. Your talk was wonderful. I am glad to know you are part of the spark team! I wish there was a way to spend 8- 10 hours on spark sharing, meeting, greeting, but then I would run out of spark goodie points! LOL

I have met one spark friend in SC. I met a few and made a few more at convention, although I am still working on post convetion connections! I spread out my convention goodies to help everyone remember.

I am going to meet Meme102 in 12 days!!!

I have made it a goal to become more active in local events to help keep the spark alive in person. I have until the end of the week to finish October in case you are looking for it!

My favorite thing to share on this site is goodies! Everyone loves those!! Report
Wow - this sounds like it was so much fun and inspirational!!! Hopefully I will get to do this one day. Report
I would absolutely love to go to one of these. Unfortunately, I just can't afford to fly anywhere and the hotel fees, etc. etc. One day I will be able to save up the money because it sounds like a truly life-changing experience. Report
one of my all-time, rave-fave sparkfriends is blazegrrl. she rocks my sparkworld! what she has accomplished is incredible. to say that she's an inspiration and valuable asset to sp is an understatement. she is a walking, living, breathing "posterchild" for sp's positive effects and motivation towards healthy living. i'm so glad other people are seeing how wonderful she is, too! Report
I've got to make it to one of these! Report
Thank you for sharing with us. Awesome. Report
This sounds like it blesses so many people!! How do we find out when/where upcoming events are? Report
Sounds like I missed a great event! I really do wish I could have gone, too many miles in between :-(

Hey Sparkpeople, there are many great cities here in Iowa ;-) Report
Awww what a great blog!!! I'm 100% going next year!!! There's no way I'm going to miss the bonding that takes place at the conventions! It's an electrical energy that *sparks* throughout the convention and I absolutely love it!

Violet Report
I wish I would have been able to go! Maybe next time! Looks like everyone had a great time. Report
Nancy- I brought my sister along with me to the convention. She was a non spark person but went to support me. She said her life has changed in so many ways thanks to the spark convention. She was going to support me and didn't expect to gain anything but she walked away with so much and she thinks of the spark convention daily b/c she had never been to such a postive event. Thank you so much for sharing your journey-- you did an amazing job and thanks for feeding that inner spark in me.

Timberlee Report
How true all of this is!! We had such a great time meeting and talking with you as well!! It truly was a family affair:) It's a great feeling to have such supportive, motivated friends on SPARK!! I love SP!! Report
I'd love a convention in Ottawa, Canada. Report
It was a wonderful weekend! (But that one picture with me in it needs to go in the files of "before" pictures...) Report
What great stories!
I wanted to drive down, but I had the flu.
Maybe next year. :D Report
It was like I was there. Thanks for the great update. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
thanks for sharin. Report
Someday maybe you can all come to Idaho or some place close so more of us can get involved. Report
You are very right... I never ever expected to get a medal! I'm glad you were there, too! :D Report
Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for shring. Report
Great story! Thanks for sharing!!! Report
Than you for sharing. Report
I haven't met another Sparker in person yet, but I will later this month, and I can't WAIT! They are people who share this journey with me and have the same hopes and dreams we are working towards reaching and continue to inspire me to be the best person I can be. Thank you for the wonderful convention blog - it is so great to share the feeling of cameraderie and fellowship in the Spark Family! Report
Thank you for sharing
Hi Nancy!
Thank you for sharing this blog. It inspired me to post it to my facebook account. Have a blessed day! Report
Hey Nancy...can tell you had a wonderful time. It's always great meeting the 'face behind the name'.
Yesterday I was on a walk with members from the 'SPARK New Jersey - The Official Team' - Leader HOTTIPPY / Chrissy arranged the meeting and I met new people...and connected with folks in my immediate area. Small World.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all. Sounded like a super great timel.
EV1 Have a great day!!!

Thanks for sharing your lessons and your fun. It sounds as though you had a ball. Report
it is always good to share good times and positive experience Report
Sounds like so much fun... hopefully one day I can go to a SparkPeople Convention :) Report
just another gentle reminder...WE WANT ANOTHER ONE SO WE CAN ENJOY THE FUN!!!---i figure the more it gets mentioned, the better chance one might be scheduled sooner than was initially planned...hint, hint Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
Hang in there and dont give up to meet your goals. Report
Nancy, you are so welcome to join the Louisville Losers team and become an honorary member. In fact, I insist!

It was so great meeting you. Thanks for writing this blog. It gave me another reason to think back on the convention and how many wonderful people I met and how our paths would have never crossed if it wasn't for SP. You definitely put a smile on my face! Report