Highlights from the Celebrants Training College Conference

Highlights from the Celebrants Training College Conference

I’m thrilled to share that I had the incredible opportunity to attend Holding Space – Celebrating the Circle of Life, the 2023 conference from Celebrants Training College in beautiful New Zealand.

The conference kicked off on Friday. I set up Preparing the Way’s table and went to the meet-and-greet; it’s always fun to connect with like-minded professionals and learn more about the fantastic work everyone is doing.

Day one, on Saturday, was designed for celebrants and focused mainly on weddings. I popped in for afternoon tea and Yvonne Adele’s session, 5 Pillars of Online Marketing: Build an Army of Advocates. Are you among the doulas that struggles with digitally marketing your business? You’re not alone! Remember that at Preparing the Way, we’ve got masterclasses, workshops, and special offers to help you along.

Day two, on Sunday, was designed for anyone working or interested in end of life. I got to attend Conversations About Death, a session by Elisabeth Price, a doctoral student at the University of Auckland. She discussed her fascinating research on classroom conversations and preparing primary-aged students for encounters with death.

Little has been written about preparing children for future encounters with death. The study aims to identify the current situation, explore how teachers feel about talking to students about death, and investigate approaches to support children in coming to terms with death and grief. I have no doubt that will significantly contribute to the voices calling for death and grief literacy in schools in New Zealand. Watch this space!

Treza Gallogly and Tilly Stevens at the Celebrants Training Conference.

Treza Gallogly and Tilly Stevens at the Celebrants Training Conference.

Our dazzling doula legend Treza Gallogly gave a beautiful presentation, Introducing the Doulaverse, on how doulas can make a difference in someone’s end of life journey. She asked us to consider how end of life doulas and celebrants can work together. Following Treza’s presentation, several people were curious about the end of life doula role and asked for more information.

End of life doula training can benefit celebrants in a variety of ways. It can enhance their understanding of the end of life process and the emotional needs of individuals and those close to them, hone communication skills, expand their service offerings, foster a holistic approach to end of life, and create collaborative opportunities. By incorporating end of life doula training, celebrants can expand their skills, offer comprehensive support, and create truly memorable ceremonies that honour the entire spectrum of life’s journey.

All the presentations were excellent, and Yvonne, the MC, was great at encouraging people to take an action point from each and consider how to implement it. There’s no doubt that learnings will last long beyond the conference weekend. That’s what I loved the most–an actionable to-do list that is unique and specific to my work.

Thank you to our friend and colleague Sally Cant, pictured above, and the entire team at Celebrants Training College for organising this fabulous event! I look forward to next year’s!

For more information about the Celebrants Training College and the 2024 conference, visit celebranttraining.co.nz.

Portrait of Tilly Stevens.

Tilly Stevens

Trainer and Administration Support & End of Life Doula

Tilly’s primary area of end of life doula work is on helping to raise awareness around end of life planning and the importance of conversations so that individuals and their families feel supported and empowered to plan and prepare well for end of life.