Fall Forum to begin work on Children’s Legislative Agenda
OKLAHOMA CITY – We are now less than one month away from the 2021 Fall Forum, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s annual conference which develops our legislative agenda.
This gathering of our members and advocates from across the state will be Wednesday, October 20 through Friday, October 22, and carried over to Monday, October 25. The annual event helps shape the policy changes which we pursue within the legislature and at all levels of government. The theme, “There is no ‘I’ in Quaran-team,” is based on the continuing ordeal we face across the world and the resilience of those working to raise awareness and continue our respective missions to help children and families. You can see the agenda and sign up to attend at https://oica.org/event/2021-oica-fall-forum/.
Our great partner Paycom is sponsoring 100 registrations for youth organizations to attend Fall Forum, as is the Arnall Family Foundation. These generous donations will allow many youth organizations who might not have been able to attend Fall Forum to now be a part of the conversation. Other great supporters include the Schusterman Family Foundation and the Merrick Family Foundation. Like last year, our meeting will be an all-virtual event, but with a few creative modifications. We will have workshops on various youth issues, and breakout sessions allowing advocates in attendance to share their knowledge and recommend suggestions for better policy relating to children. These meetings will be held on Zoom for just a few hours each morning to prevent burnout from being on a computer for too long.
What is one of the special parts of the conference is that state lawmakers often join panels and policy breakouts with the advocates. This helps advocates get to know senators and representatives while allowing policymakers the opportunity to meet advocates who are subject matter experts.
We are combining our annual Political Hacks Chili Cook-off with Fall Forum, but we will not hold the in-person gathering for the first time in many years. Instead, chili contestants will prepare their chili at home, put their samples in cups with lids that we will provide, and deliver their entries the morning of Monday, October 25. Our staff will assemble the samples into “to go” packages for chili fans to pick up at lunchtime from a drive-thru spot at our office. Our judges will do their work over the lunch hour, and we will have the ability for people to vote for their favorites on our website.
Sponsors will still be able to have their names listed on chili cook-off collectible T-shirts; we are grateful to our sponsors for continuing their support with this new format. To register for chili samples, or to become a sponsor and support our mission, please go to oica.org.
If it were not for creative events like this, OICA and many other nonprofits likely would have to shut their doors. For those of you who are generous donors to nonprofit organizations, please continue to do what you can to help, especially in these times.
If you have ever wanted to learn more about children’s issues, engage with lawmakers about policy, meet others who share a passion for improving our state for children, or simply want to be a part of making a positive difference for Oklahoma, I encourage you to go to oica.org and learn more about and be a part of 2021 Fall Forum.