Our theme this year is based on 3 John 1:4: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." The dates are March 26-28th, 2020, so please take note that it is two weeks earlier than normal as we had a conflict with Easter during our normal April time. We are really thrilled to announce that our Keynote Speakers for this convention are:
Steve & Megan Sheibner and Sonya Shafer, with Daniel Craig coming to speak to the youth!
Did you know that Steve was originally the pilot scheduled to fly the plane that crashed into one of the New York twin towers but the schedule was changed at the last minute? He will be sharing this compelling story in one of his talks. Megan is a gifted writer and teacher who has written 11 books on a wide variety of topics ranging from marriage to character-building to devotions. It is a great privilege to have them come, as they are on a speaking sabbatical, and ours is the only homeschool convention they will be speaking at in the 2020 year. Both of them have much insight to share after having homeschooled their 8 children.
Sonya Shafer has researched Charlotte Mason's educational ideas for 20+ years. She does an exceptional job of explaining how it can be worked practically into home education. Requested by our membership many times, we're excited to host her! She is sure to draw those who love this method.
Daniel Craig came to our convention in 2015 and is excited to be back again to minister to our young people. He has a heart for mentoring them and will be speaking to both the Youth and College & Career. He has thought provoking sessions that will challenge and encourage all these ages. We are also thrilled that John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms will be back to run a model parliament that was so popular, informative and fun for the Youth Track a couple of years ago. Look for a lower price per Youth Track participant this year, which should be of help to all, and especially those with a vehicle full of excited teens!
The Children's Program was wildly successful last year. Early registration is suggested as there will be a limited number of spaces. Running for two days, this program allows your children aged 5 -12 to really enjoy being ministered to and have an exceptionally fun time while you take in the convention speakers and get a little shopping done. Connecting at meal time will allow you to see how they are doing and will give the hard-working volunteers a break. This is one of our largest programs and we count on volunteers of all ages to support parents by serving in this program. For those too young to attend, there is a Mother's Room available to keep you involved in the convention and still meet the needs of your family's littlest ones.
Our amazing team is in the midst of planning a great convention for you! You will find some changes to our convention which have been a result of much contemplation and evaluation jointly by the AHEA Board and C-Team. Our reasoning can be understood in terms of the "rocks, pebbles, and sand" analogy commonly used to help prioritize. All the rocks, pebbles, and sand fit in a jar perfectly IF the rocks are placed in first, then pebbles, and lastly sand. However, if the order is reversed, then the big priority rocks do not fit into the jar.
The rocks represent the foundations or priorities of our convention: a unified message for AHEA families, equipping them from a biblical perspective that keeps God central, and valuing quality over quantity. We want to refocus on unifying over what is most important. As a result, you'll notice on the schedule (available online later) that adults and youth will attend joint opening and closing keynotes on Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. Then there will be five speaking tracks to choose from for the adults and college and career ages while the youth attend their own track. The AGM is one of the main reasons we gather, and we hope that the membership will plan to attend it as their considered investment in the future direction of AHEA. Take the time to read about the returning Board or new nominees, review the finances, and vote on motions that will be presented. AHEA depends on its volunteers, from the Board all the way to the person faithfully refilling the water jugs. Please consider how God may call you to use your gifts!
Now, the pebbles represent the activities or decisions that give the convention meaning but are not as crucial as the rocks. We want to put our best foot forward for the Thursday night Introduction For New Homeschoolers since it is a key opportunity for AHEA and its members to shine! We are very excited to add a College & Career event on Friday night as they deserve the opportunity to mingle and enjoy some focused fellowship. To ensure accessibility, we have lowered the registration rate for the C&C. They can purchase an associate membership to support AHEA at this time of their life, as it may be a good investment in their future plans. We truly appreciate all those who take the time to volunteer and hope you turn to the Volunteers ad in this magazine to check out serving opportunities. You'll see the new perks that come with volunteering during the convention!
Lastly, the sand represents fun but optional events or programming details. Examples include time to connect with the home education community by networking and visiting. In light of this, we have designated a room with tables and chairs for families to meet together during Friday's lunch. There will also be something on Friday night that non-members, associate members and children can participate in while the AGM is on. Keep your eyes open for this and make a plan that allows the adults to attend the AGM!!
Due to rising costs in overhead over the last several years - which has meant the convention was running at a loss - the AHEA Board and C-team have had to make some very difficult decisions and necessary changes, such as giving up some of the Westerner Park buildings that exceeded our evaluated needs and budget. We will be moving the location of registration in order to increase the capacity of a speaking room, so look for that change before you arrive. It also means putting programs on hold that were running at a loss for several years as we could not justify continuing to finance them. Though we are sorry to see some loss of choices, we had to focus on the primary duty that we have and the main reasons for the convention. We know that many of our families have to face similar decisions in their lives, so we hope that everyone will understand our reasoning.
One of the hard decisions we had to make was to put the Used Curriculum Sale on hold. Though we know it has been a tremendous service to many of you, it had several side effects that were unanticipated. Unbeknownst to many, the material that flooded in was not limited to convention attendees and the space requirement turned out to be a very high expense for AHEA. We could not ignore how many of the exhibit hall vendors who contacted us, even our largest and long-standing ones, to share how the UCS impacted them, to the degree they could not afford to return if things continued to run in this direction. We also understand that this is a service that can be duplicated in your own circles and thereby contribute to a sense of community and opportunity to connect in a more meaningful way.
Our Exhibit Hall vendors bring a welcome and hands-on shopping experience to our convention. The Shop Only option makes the hall accessible to all, but for a limited time compared to our convention attendees! Without curriculum to see and touch, coupled by the expertise that vendors provide to our families, our convention wouldn't be the same. AHEA understands that their sales offset their significant investment in coming to our convention with all of their resources. While we all know that is a cost of doing business, they also need to do business at our convention, which is the largest home education convention in Canada. Their success at our convention allows them to attend smaller conventions elsewhere in Canada throughout the year. Our collective ability to keep newer information flowing in the home education circles is more helpful than many may realize.
So, on behalf of the AHEA Board and the C-team, thank you for taking the time to read and understand all that is happening. We truly appreciate your commitment to the convention over the years and look forward to seeing you again in March 2020! Please contact me if you have any questions about the convention via our contact form.
In His service,
Supin Hachey & the AHEA Board