Dear Oregon homeschool families,
After prayer and careful consideration, the OCEANetwork board has determined that the most prudent course of action is to cancel the 2020 Oregon Christian Home Education Conference.
After offering the conference for 25 years straight, suffice it to say that this decision did not come easily. Here are the three main points that contributed to the process:
- Stewardship – Although we anticipate and pray that the current crisis will have been resolved in time for our conference dates, this is still not certain. With the amount of advance planning, work, and expenses that must go into the annual event between now and June, it seems unwise to continue to pour resources into the event if we may be forced to cancel it in the end. As a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that depends on donations, we especially want to be good stewards of those resources.
- Logistics –With homeschool conferences across the nation cancelling, many vendors and some speakers have decided they also will not be doing conferences this year or are unsure at this point what they will be able to do. Therefore, if we did choose to continue with it, what is offered at the conference could potentially be significantly less than it has been in past years.
- Opportunity – The Lord has a way of taking challenging circumstances and using them for His glory. We see in this less-than-ideal situation a great chance to invest in different ways in the Oregon homeschool community, especially new and potential homeschool families. We are already working on some exciting new opportunities and events for OCEANetwork Supporting Families, Support Group Leaders, and homeschoolers across Oregon.
We know that news of the conference cancellation will be a disappointment to families who have been attending for years and those who were looking forward to this upcoming conference. We appreciate your understanding and support!
What Will Happen Instead of the Conference?
We believe that the Lord is providing a chance for us to focus our efforts on building up the network of Oregon Christian homeschoolers. Things are moving fast and we’ll announce opportunities as they are solidified.
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Here are just a few of things we are considering:
- Providing a “Getting Started Homeschooling in Oregon” online event for new and potential homeschool families.
- Extra perks and opportunities for existing and new OCEANetwork Supporting Families, such as deep discounts and freebies.
- Online networking opportunities for Affiliated Support Group Leaders.
- Social media campaigns and events to reach new homeschoolers and bless existing Oregon homeschool families.
- And more! Look for exciting announcements in the coming weeks.
As always, we welcome your ideas and suggestions as well.
Will There Be a 2021 Conference?
Yes, Lord willing. The Linn County Expo Center is already reserved for June 18 -19, 2021.
Will There Still Be a 2020 Graduate Recognition Event?
For now the graduate event is still on. As it is a much smaller event than the conference, we are currently evaluating the logistics and potential cost of canceling later if it becomes necessary. We will keep you informed.
What About the Sponsors, Vendors, & Speakers Impacted by the Cancellation?
OCEANetwork strongly supports homeschool sponsors, vendors, and speakers. They sacrifice a lot of time and expense every year to serve homeschool families across the nation. All the cancellations are already impacting many of them.
We encourage you to pray for the families behind your favorite vendors, speakers, and sponsors, and share about their resources with friends and online communities throughout the year.
Here are a few ways OCEANetwork will help:
- We are giving a full refund to the vendors who are already registered for the 2020 conference.
- 2020 conference speakers will be invited to join us for the 2021 conference, and honorariums promised for this year will be paid in advance for next year to help offset some of the losses speakers are experiencing as a result of event cancellations.
- We will be inviting homeschool vendors, sponsors, and speakers to partner with us for special promotions as well as in the new events and opportunities we are planning, as mentioned above.
- A resource page will be added to the OCEANetwork web site where families can shop to support homeschool vendors, sponsors, and speakers.
How Can We Help?
As you know, OCEANetwork is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. We need your support as much as ever as we put together new events and opportunities to reach new homeschool families and to serve existing homeschoolers!
Since the conference and donations made during that time provide a significant portion of our financial support for the year, please consider helping us continue the work that we do year-round by becoming a Supporting Family or renewing your Supporting Family status.
We anticipate that the potential influx of independent homeschoolers due to this national crisis may increase attempts at further regulating homeschooling. As usual, OCEANetwork will be there to go to bat for Oregon homeschool families.
Here’s how you can help:
- Become an OCEANetwork Supporting Family! Not only will you get a print magazine and a discount for HSLDA membership, but we’ll be announcing more great perks that you won’t want to miss.
- Donate to OCEANetwork anytime to help us continue our important work on behalf of Oregon homeschoolers. Your donations are tax-deductible.
- Volunteer to help! We still need volunteers for a variety of opportunities depending on your availability and interest.
- Pray for us! Please be in prayer for the OCEANetwork team as we shift gears and follow the Lord’s leading in this unique situation. You can also sign up for our prayer team email list.
What if We Have More Questions?
We are always open to questions and suggestions! Feel free to contact us by calling (503) 288-1285 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for your continued support for OCEANetwork and homeschooling families in Oregon. We are praying for you as well as for our state, our nation, and our world during these challenging times.
The OCEANetwork Board