Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Southern Illinois Men's Conference: Responsibility, Commitment, Action

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Since 2008, I've had the pleasure of being the co chairman for the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  It was that summer a group of men came together (thanks to the nudging of the Women for Health and Wellness board) to come up with the concept of a conference.  In March 2009, we had a successful event that featured a key note address by former SIU football coach and now University of Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.  

Part of the exhibits
In the years that followed hundreds of men have come out for a day of blood tests, life saving screenings and countless breakout sessions.  Topics have ranged from prostate health to heart disease to estate planning.  The $45 registration covers hundreds of dollars in screenings and information that I know for a fact have saved men's lives here.

As the 2015 conference started taking shape, some unfortunate obstacles have come along.  A key board member resigned from his spot, one has been sidelined with health issues,  and two others unexpectedly passed away.  It's been an emotional ride, but the conference is just over two weeks away (April 18) and as they say the show must go on.  You can register here until Friday, April 10 or call (618) 985-9210.

The conference has seen other changes.  We've dropped the word "health" from the title, but there will still be health and wellness activities.  The committee decided it was important ramp up the interactive and fun aspect of the conference.  We've added Try Scuba from Mermet Springs, as well as a water aerobics program, more hands on golf activities with a PGA professional Brian Laur.  We're firing up the grill with award winning griller "The Bear on the Air" and we'll raise a glass with a craft brewing session with the folks at Little Egypt Beer.  You can learn how to become a "sharp dressed man" too, thanks to Garber's Men's Wear in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Bring your own tie if you want to learn to tie one.  I'm bringing a bow tie.

Breakfast will be more hearty, so we're calling it brunch.  We have a panel of health care professionals and doctors to answer questions.  You can email if you want to remain anonymous.  After the exhibitors and break out sessions we'll meet to say goodbye and have dessert.  Then men are encouraged to stick around for the John A. Logan College Welding Club's annual car show.  I hope to see you there!

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