VIC Conference 2012

24 September 2012 defines a conference as: a meeting for consultation, exchange of information, or discussion, esp one with a formal agenda.

Well, the Victorian State conference certainly had an agenda, but I’m not sure you could use the word ‘formal’ to describe what went on there.

Jillian Ross, Marg Sanders, Gabriel Norris and Rochelle Spargo.


A crazy fish lady, tubs of slime and people plunging their hands into ice-cold water made for plenty of frivolity, laughter and fun!

The conference began with a luau, where attendees could head to the (plastic) beach (scene) and find shelter under the (tiny, inflatable) palm trees, but not before gathering our treasure on the way in. I believe these are usually referred to as ‘welcome packs’, but ‘showbag’ was a more appropriate term for the booty we all got to take home and I certainly felt like a kid rifling through the contents (and I can barely get to the end of my Better Mum magazine before I am looking forward to the next edition!)

The team from one2one in Ballarat did an amazing job of introducing the Plunge theme to us with some real life interviews with MOPS mums and a brilliant presentation from the hesitant Laurinder Coulter. I think we all related to the mums as they shared about taking Plunges by going back to work, having a 2nd child or developing deeper relationships with their extended families.

There was many a bruised rib from the laughing that followed the numerous give-aways and presentations from the gregarious MC.

And plenty of tears as Alison and Liz shared their stories of hope and the love and support they received from their MOPS groups!

Its always an honour and an inspiration to hear from Margaret Sanders. We were all challenged as she encourage us to swim out to where we can’t see what’s beneath us and take some risks to deepen our relationships with eachother, our MOPS mums and friends and family.

But the highlight of MOPS Conference for me is the chance to catch up with the MOPS leaders I haven’t seen since last year- who’s pregnant? How’s that baby that you brought to conference last year? Who’s new and how are they feeling about their new role? Who has returned to work since you last caught up? I love the chance to develop those long term relationships and to make new friends who share a passion for MOPS, Mums and Christ!

A week or so before conference a woman attended our MOPS group for the first time. Within minutes she was at the front of the room participating in an ice-breaker. I looked across at her and said ‘Welcome to MOPS… there’s no warm up’ 😉

Just like MOPS, there is no warm-up for motherhood. We are Plunged into it and left to hope we can keep our heads above water. Fortunately, we are able to reach out and grab onto our life-savers- family, friends, professionals and, of course, MOPS.

I hope you are all inspired to ‘Go Deeper’ as we Plunge into MOPS in 2013.

Gabriel Norris

Regional Co-ordinator & Conference MC, VIC

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