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NYSRA’s Rehabilitation Summit 2016 was held on September 21 – 22 in Saratoga Springs, New York.  The Summit carried a theme of Trends for Transition that was not only observable in the sessions that were offered but evident in how the event was structured. 

This year’s two-day conference kicked off with four (4) Pre-Summit sessions on topics covering the evolution of day supports, empowerment strategies, DOL definitions of volunteerism and internships, and managed care value proposition. 

The Keynote Speaker Dr. Stephen Birchak, an author and educator, told us how to tap into our best with his insightful look at skills that enhance effective living and allow us to build powerful shock absorbers.  Dr. Birchak shared his three principles of “I am free”, “I like my best me” and “I see the good.”  To see more about this awe-inspiring presentation visit NYSRA’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

NYSRA’s Summit welcomed approximately 275 conference attendees and over 50 presenters who journeyed through more than 20 Summit sessions formatted as general sessions, concurrent sessions, all of which were  approved to provide upto 12.0 Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credits and a day-long workshop within Summit for social workers seeking to earn up to 6.0 Social Work continuing education hours.  This 3-part workshop was broadcast LIVE to registered attendees throughout New York, and internationally to a Social Worker in Switzerland.

Summit saluted recipients of the Martha Fitzpatrick Citizen Advocate Award, Thomas A. Maul Self-Advocacy Award, Adrian Levy Professional Leadership Award and Public Official of the Year Award.  NYSRA’s Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon concluded with a special presentation of the NYSRA Systems Advocacy Award presented posthumously to NYSRA’s friend and former leader, Jeff Wise, JD.  In a heartwarming tribute filled with memories of yesterday and a legacy of today, NYSRA’s Board of Directors were on hand to present the award. 

Day 1 of NYSRA’s Summit concluded with a fun new feature dubbed Pitch Tank. Offering Summit attendees a dessert fare complete with chocolate covered potato chips, soft pretzels and an assortment of ice cream favorites, NYSRA presented its very own version of the well-known television show Shark Tank, with NYSRA’s Pitch Tank.   During Pitch Tank, NYSRA members pitched their business ideas on transforming workcenters to a team of experts in the business and manufacturing fields, who then provided them valuable nuggets of strategic information to assist their agencies to transition to a profitable business.

Pitch Tank not only created a path to success for candidates and conference attendees, but it ignited the way to the next sessions offered on day 2 which were NYSRA’s Ignite Talks

Ignite Talks gave conference goers four track options with four different presentation topics presented in one short hour!  Presentations were robust and filled with need to know information specific to Trends in Transition for nonprofit organizations.  Presenters of these sessions encouraged their audiences to visit their vendor tables during the Exhibitor tradeshow that hosted 19 Exhibitors. A special feature of the Exhibitor Tradeshow included a book signing with Fran Wishnick, author of “Craig Climbed a Tree: His Lifelong Struggle

Day 2 came to a close with sessions on an innovative eLearning tool called BRAINSHARK, building capacity for student IEPs, path to employment and hiring resources.  Summit 2016 was a whirlwind of new experiences and trends for transitions. 

Although Summit 2016 has ended, we are looking forward to SUMMIT 2017: KEEP CALM AND CLIMB ON. Summit 2017 is tentatively scheduled for September 27, 28 & 29, 2017.


Camelot Print & Copy Centers
The Bonadio Group
Barclay Damon LLP
Center Information Services
Loeb & Troper LLP
EOS Technologies
Millin Associates
NBT Bank
NYSARC Trust Services


Audrey's Art Ltd

The Bonadio Group

Camelot Print & Copy Centers

Center Information Services

Center for Human Services Education

EOS Technologies

eVero Corporation

Foothold Technology

Millin Associates


Mountain Weavers' Fiber Arts Guild


NYSARC Trust Services


PrecisionCare Software

SafeGuard Protective Apparel


The NYSRA Events App with available handouts and other resources from the conference is available to you year-round! Feel free to access by downloading the app onto your smartphone or tablet OR Click Here to View the app contents in your web browser


More details coming soon!