From the Rearview Mirror. Lessons learned at FLAF Camp.


As I write this, I am sitting in Concourse C at the Birmingham Airport. My flight’s first delayed for weather reasons in Houston, then mechanical issues grounding the flight here in Birmingham. In between finding a new flight, first through Chicago—yep, another weather delay, then back through Houston with an arrival to Denver around 1 AM.  Delays can be aggravating or fortuitous; I am choosing the fortuitous option. We will see how it plays out. Either way, I have a break, time for some BBQ in an airport restaurant along with a healthy serving of curly fries and a light beer.


While I don’t have a rearview mirror like the one I spoke of in my first presentation, I do have the mirror behind the bar. It is where I chose to sit, waiting for a flight, and to reflect on the FLAF Camp weekend at Children’s Harbor. Reflecting back over the weekend, I realized it is all about the choices we make as parents of special needs children.

I knew lives changed over the weekend. I could see it in the eyes of mothers who saw hope in the future and realized they had a future too. I saw fathers engaged and witnessed new ideas spinning around their heads as the formulated new plans. Alabama ABLE accounts can serve as launch funds, much like college funds. Both mothers and fathers recognizing SmartHome technology, iPads, and inexpensive apps could liberate the future from the confines of the 20th Century.

The Power of Stories

EvanNew dreams are born and with it, new stories. Together, we all learned the power of storytelling. We rejected the labels of limitation for labeling what we want and the power of our stories to engage others and find new resources within our communities.

We learned their stories need not be complicated, but simple if these key elements can add needed structure. All we need to do is answer the following questions first.  What is….

  • The Wound
  • The Want
  • The Challenge
  • The Ask

Our stories offer up opportunities for our community to get involved, join the circle of love and provide ideas and solutions to our challenges. Just like we did at FLAF Camp.

High Tech and High Touch

1969118613 (2)If there were a theme to this summer’s camp, it would be High Tech/High Touch.

Alright, maybe I borrowed that from Microsoft’s Bill Gates. As we shared how technology will shape our lives through 3D Printing, Robotics and increased universal accessibility like iBeacons, we saw opportunities blossom under the hot Alabama summer sun.

We squeezed a lot in between boat rides, marshmallow roasts and ice cream cones.

Yes, looking back at FLAF Camp, one can only smile for magic happened as it usually does at a FLAF camp.

From where I sit, here at the Birmingham Airport, the view is filled with love and hope.

And, a heartfelt SHOUTOUT to the many volunteers and the Alabama DD Council for making it all possible. Thank you.