On two long weekends in July and August, families will descend on the desert in Phoenix, Arizona and the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 National Juvenile Arthritis Conferences. The JA Conference is an unforgettable annual family event, where more than 2,000 kids, teens, young adults, siblings, parents and caretakers come together to meet, learn and play.
Visit and bookmark our Things You Should Know page, where information about the JA Conference will be updated!
Learn more and sign up for the inaugural Parent Buddy Program, where families that are new to the conference will be paired up with veteran families.
Get in the spirit by participating in Conference Theme days! Learn more about what to pack to represent your home state and Walk to Cure Arthritis or Jingle Bell Run team!
Save time on Opening Night by filling out consent forms for your children or teens.
Every day we are constantly in awe of the children, siblings, parents, families and caregivers we meet, who face and overcome the everyday challenges of living with arthritis. It’s never one thing in particular, and individually or collectively, we can celebrate these victories. Continue reading We Want to Know How You Are #StrongerThanJA!→
The Arthritis Foundation was just awarded a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) award to develop a program to further educate families about research at both 2016 National JA Conference locations.
Arthritis doesn’t define us. We are stronger than arthritis – we won’t let it change our lives, change our future and change our course. We are smarter and we are bolder than arthritis. And we are thrilled to announce the 2016 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference theme: Stronger Than Arthritis.
At each of the Arthritis Foundation’s National Juvenile Arthritis Conference, we meet children and their families that are participating in the conference for the first time. Different milestones are achieved – whether it’s meeting another family with the same diagnosis or seeing their kids play all day. Along with our veteran returning families, this makes for a truly amazing experience for all in attendance.
2015 Thank You Recap Video
In 2015, we received hundreds of thank you cards, notes and pictures from conference kids and their families. And while we are graciously humbled by their gratitude, these words continue to drive and inspire us here at the Arthritis Foundation more each year.
That’s a wrap, folks! After four incredible days of educational sessions, networking opportunities, tears, joy and tears of joy, the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference is officially in the books!
The Opening Dinner was truly spectacular, as the room filled with 1,700 parents, kids and caregivers eager to greet old friends and meet new ones. When Ana Villafañe took the stage, she wowed everybody in the room – her amazing talent and true passion for kids with JA were spellbinding.
The official programming kicked off Friday morning in grand style, with an overview of the new Arthritis Foundation brand and some amazing JA success stories by Ann Palmer, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation and Board Chairman, Michael Ortman. Mark Durand’s Optimistic Parenting presentation gave all parents tangible ideas for using positive self-talk to improve parenting effectiveness and create happier lives! Friday Fun Night provided different activities for all age groups ranging from a glow party to poolside fun!
Saturday kicked off early with a wonderful opening session recognizing some amazing individuals. Ann Palmer and Michael Ortman presented Awards of Excellence to both youth and adult leaders, along with professional and medical leadership recognition. Saturday’s General Session gave us all an educational introduction to our new research partner, the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), and the important role parents can play in research going forward. More breakouts gave parents, young adults and kids a chance to learn about research, advocacy and more! Continue reading Hope Grows Here: Highlights from the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference→
Day 3 in the books! Another full day of informative breakout sessions for parents and our YA groups. Thank you to all of our great speakers and volunteer leadership for so many great sessions. The Food Truck Rally was an awesome opportunity to hang out with new friends and families and sample some of Orlando’s finest.
Have you added your message of hope to the tree? And have you, your child and/or your family snapped your Green Shirt Selfie?! Don’t forget to tag us and #yes4hope! We are LOVING all the selfies so far! You could win registration to next year’s conference, so get snappin’!
Each year as the Juvenile Arthritis Conference commences; another group also comes together at the conference. While there are over 700 kids in attendance with their families, the Young Adult Program, or “YA” as it’s affectionately known, are for attendees 18 and older. Many YA participants previously attended JA Conferences as a kid, while some are coming for the first time this year!
Day 2 of the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference was jam-packed full of informational breakout sessions for parents and care givers. The morning featured disease-specific round tables, while the afternoon got into other topics such as educational rights and seeing JA through siblings’ eyes.
Kids and teens enjoyed their first full day of program activities that included a visit from the Orlando Zoo, Canine Companions and arts and crafts.
The 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference is off to a great start! On Thursday, we had a busy day of registration, orientation, and a bustling hall full of informational booths. Later that evening, families dressed in their finest gear to champion their state. 47 states were represented!
Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Ann Palmer, along with Board Chairman Michael Ortman, welcomed over 1,700 attendees. Ana Villafañe wowed the crowd and sang a medley of songs while talking about her experiences growing up going to JA Camps, Walks and other Arthritis Foundation activities. Ana was amazing and so inspiring to all of the families here! After some networking sessions, the first day was officially in the books!
Friday will be a full day of disease-specific and other informational breakout sessions for parents, while the YA program will feature a special panel led by successful young adults. The kids are enjoying a full day of activities – from Canine Companions to Scavenger Hunts – and having a good time seeing old friends and meeting new ones! Here are some highlights from our first day of the conference in the video below!