By Ms. Caroline N Keyser (Irwin)April 29, 2011
Women across Fort Irwin gathered to "rediscover" themselves during the post's Women's Conference April 28 at Reggie's.
The theme of this year's conference, sponsored by the Military and Civilian Spouses' Club, was "Rediscovering You." The event featured workshops and classes on topics including skin care, digital photography, resume preparation and parenting. More than 150 people turned out for the conference, nearly three times as many as last year, said Michelle Howard, women's conference co-chair.
Conference organizers focused on providing programming in four areas - education and employment, hobbies, lifestyle and beauty - in an effort to help facilitate balance between different parts of women's lives, Howard said.
"We try to offer things for the mind and for the body," Howard said. "It's important to give them the things they need at this conference so that their cup is full, so to speak."
The guest speaker at this year's conference was Ali Vincent, winner of the fifth season of TV's "The Biggest Loser." Vincent lost 112 pounds to become the show's first female winner. She spoke about her experiences auditioning and participating in the show. Vincent said having the support of family and friends was crucial to achieving her weight loss goals, and she encouraged Fort Irwin women to support one another as they strive to achieve goals in their lives.
"Being a military spouse, you have so many changes and challenges that I think it's really important to have that support system," Vincent said. "In any given moment, we can choose to control certain things in our lives, and that's really everybody's story, not just mine."
Many spouses of Fort Irwin Soldiers spent much of the day at the women's conference.
"I wanted to make some time for myself and hang out with women with similar interests," said Anita Ceballos, spouse of a Fort Irwin Soldier. Ceballos spent most of the day at the women's conference and said she especially enjoyed the jewelry making workshop and Vincent's talk.