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Women’s symposium to be bigger, better

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Plans are well underway for the second-annual Women’s Health Symposium, and the hopes are that this year’s event will surpass the first.

“The expectation is it will be a bigger success than last year,” said Dr. Elaine Spencer, who sits on the organizing committee. “The planning is going really well.

“It’s a fun group to work with,” she added.

“I think it’s coming along really well,” echoed Renate Winkler, a doctor of natural medicine and local pharmacist who also sits on the committee.

Winkler is helping organize the exhibits and booths that will be on display at the symposium, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 12—the day before Mother’s Day—at Fort Frances High School.

“We are getting our booth registrations in,” she said, noting they have received about 45 forms and are expecting a few more.

“We’ll have a few more booths than last year.

“We’re going to start working on the floor plan by the end of this week,” she added.

Winkler noted there are some new exhibitors this year, and many of the returning ones will have different material available from last year.

“Aside from all the great speakers, there’s new booths for [women] to look for,” she remarked.

The goal of the event is to offer information about various aspects of women’s health and wellness through speakers, small group sessions, and exhibits.

This year’s theme is “Women of All Seasons” and the organizing committee is hoping to attract women of all ages—from young teens to seniors.

The symposium will be set up in the school atrium, main hall, as well as in both the large and small gyms and the Townshend Theatre.

The format will be slightly different from last year, with fewer speakers in the Townshend Theatre and four concurrent sessions for small groups.

Confirmed to speak are Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, oncologist and president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba, Olympic hockey gold-medalist Cheryl Pounder, and Jo-Ann Waytowich, a playwright and performer from Thunder Bay who will be performing as her comedic alter-ego “Ivanka.”

Returning this year is Linda Moore, a trainer for the Canadian Centre for Leadership and Human Values.

Last year, Moore touched her audience with her talk entitled “Women and Spirituality: Discovering the Power Within.”

Among the presenters for the concurrent sessions are Dr. Bruce Lidkea who will discuss the latest trends in optometry, and Nancy Daley, who will address eating disorders.

The many exhibitors will offer different things from pamphlets to free demonstrations and services to draws for prizes.

Last year, the aestheticians from “Bombshell” offered free manicures and eyebrow waxing for women who had never had it done before.

Members of the Fine Line Art Gallery are expected to give some artistic demonstrations while Kate Woods will offer a lesson in jewellery-making.

The first 250 women to arrive at the symposium received free gift bags last year with their $2 entry fee, and the committee is hoping to do the same thing this time around.

The admission price also includes a free lunch and snacks.

The committee already has received a number of sponsorships, but is always looking for more to make the event a success.

As well, district women are invited to submit photographs that will be used to decorate the halls of Fort High.

Photos must feature women, and be taken by women, be in black-and-white, and measure no larger than 5x7.

They can be dropped off with Nancy Daley at the Canadian Mental Health Association office (612 Portage Ave.) or with Pam Hawley at the Fort Frances Museum.

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