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After seeing the updated schedule of events, I've come to realize there is no pin exchange as there was last year.

 

Last year there was a parade of champions followed by a pin exchange at which each champion child had their own booth. The crowds to see each kid were dense, but it was worth it - we got to talk with almost all of them, shared many hugs and tears.

 

This year, I've got something special for the champion kids. We have time with them on Thursday's gaming night, which will be amazing, but it won't be as structured as before. The medal ceremony the next morning doesn't really allow us to interact with the kids other than cheer them on - you can certainly go and find a few of them before and after the ceremony but the chance of meeting every kid and doing an exchange appears less likely due to this year's schedule.

 

If you weren't going to get things to give each of the kids, please do not feel you have to! I got lucky and got a business to sponsor my gifts, so they were basically free. Plus I got extra so I will use them to assist in my fundraising this year.

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:o OH NO! That's really disappointing.

 

So i looked it up and the pin exchange is apparently on Wednesday evening before ELU even gets started. I guess I can understand that it's logistically easier to exclude us, but the exchange always been the highlight of the whole thing for me... 

 

:(

 

I has a sad now. 

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Yep i saw that. I heard that on Thursday all the champions are going to a Disney Park,  i'm afraid that most of them will be tired that night to go and play with us. I'm hoping to be very wrong about it. :-(

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Aw, Geez. That's a good point too, @Filitustrein

This probably doesn't even need to be said because I'm sure most ELU alums feel the same, but it's not really the gaming that keeps me coming back every year; It's those precious few moments we get to spend with the kids.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's a valid reason to do what they've done. It's probably exhausting for the kids to deal with the additional crowd ELU brings. Furthermore, if I had to guess, I bet at least a few paying attendees of Momentum complained about all the extra people clogging up the pin exchange.

 

By the same token it still feels a little unfair. Sure there are ELU attendees whose hospitals send them, (which I'd like to clarify doesn't make their opinions on this any less valid than mine) but I'm one of many who is always there on my own dime. I pay for flight and hotel out of my own pocket, not to mention the vacation days I spend to take time off work. That being the case, if this trend of cutting our interaction with the kids is going to continue, ELU will no longer be worth my time. And that prospect makes me incredibly depressed. :(

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I'm with you @K8Morosky last year pin exchange was too crowded plus they got dance marathon same night. My favorite things were the parade of champions and the pin exchange. Like you i know the have a good reason for do that but still i can't wait to meet with you all again.

 

I'm going with mi wife again this year and we pay for our flight and hotel too. 

 

 

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I didn't even realize this.  Somehow I thought it was on Thursday evening.  This makes me very sad as I was going to have one of my EL shirts signed by all the Champions.  I'm glad you posted this, Sean so I can save myself the embarrassment of asking at the event.  If I had known it was on Wednesday, I may have changed my mind about my travel dates.

 

As for them going on Thursday to Disney: they did this last year too.  The Disney day was the same day as the pinning and game night and they all showed up.  So I am hopeful there will still be some kids around.  I agree: seeing the kids is the best part.  It allows me to finally put a face to all my work and it's the literal best.  Playing games is great, meeting ELers is great, winning $$$ is great...but it's all about the kids.  At least we can still see them get their medals and cheer them on!!

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Yeah after a day at Disney, a parade and then signing for a couple hours exhausts the kids. You want them to have energy for the next day! I can see some of them needing to skip Thursday night, totally understandable.

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