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REF Conference 2020: Olympia, Washington

Sport Officials Surrendered is very pleased to announce the date and site of Referees Embracing Faith Conference 2020.

The third annual “REF” Conference presented by Sport Officials Surrendered (“S.O.S”) will take place on August 15-16 in Olympia, Washington with Capital Christian Center serving as the host venue.

“We are tremendously excited to have the date and location confirmed for REF Conference

2020,” said S.O.S. co-founder Dan DiFolco. “We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Capital Christian Center in Olympia, Washington, for partnering with us as the host venue of REF Conference 2020. Officials in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the west coast, as well as our tremendous supporters nationwide can now mark their calendars and begin to make their plans, and our organizing team can move forward with the next phase of planning for what we expect to be a special weekend with our family of officials.” He said.

The formal portion of REF Conference 2020 will take place at the Lacey Campus of the Capital Christian Center in Olympia, Washington on Saturday, August 15. It will run from 9:00 AM until approximately 4:00 PM. Morning and afternoon sessions will be separated by a catered lunch.

The conference will again be anchored by a series of guest speakers, but new format adjustments are being explored to make REF Conference 2020 even more interactive. S.O.S. advisor Josh Koch of Josh Koch Music will lead worship to begin the morning session and periodically throughout the day.

Confirmed speakers include veteran NBA referee Pat Fraher, who is also the founder of REF Conference, along with NCAA Division 1 basketball referees Darron George and Nate Harris, and basketball referee & pastor Alika Arisumi.

Additional speakers and guests will be announced as they are confirmed.

Past REF Conference speakers include Steve Javie, Ed Rush and Homer Drew (2018), as well as Ted Barrett, J.D. Collins and LaMorris Crawford (2019).

This year’s conference theme is “Surrender and Beyond! Going from Trouble to Transformation to Trust.”

Although specifically tailored for sport officials, the gospel-centered message is for everyone. As well, the fellowship available with top officials from multiple sports, S.O.S. believes can be particularly valuable for coaches, athletes, and even parents of athletes to engage in healthy conversation from all different perspectives in sport.

Dave Minton, pastor of Capital Christian Center, said the following.

“Capital Christian Center is so excited to host Referees Embracing Faith Conference 2020. We believe that what Sport Officials Surrendered is doing is much needed, and it is our pleasure to give back to a community who so fervently serves officials across the nation.”

The social component of REF Conference 2020 will feature a wrap up dinner on the evening of August 15, and new this year, a round of golf on Sunday, August 16. These will both be unique opportunities for attendees to socialize with guest speakers and S.O.S. ministry members in a relaxed, informal setting, as well as network with other conference attendees.

Details of the social events will be announced in a future release as soon as they are finalized.

The capital city of Washington state, Olympia is conveniently located a short drive south of Seattle, WA, and SeaTac International Airport.

Registration options will include “Conference Only” or “Weekend Package” options. One hundred percent of registration proceeds will be applied directly towards conference expenses, which are otherwise taken on personally by the organizing team.

If you plan to register, you are asked to please RSVP on the REF Conference 2020 Facebook event page. You will be notified as soon as registration opens.

All further information and news regarding REF Conference 2020 will be published to and the S.O.S. & REF Conference 2020 Facebook pages.

You may also subscribe to the S.O.S. Email Newsletter to receive first notification on news pertaining to REF Conference 2020.

2020 will be the first time that REF Conference will be staged on the west coast. In its first three years, REF Conference has gone to three different regions of the country, giving sport officials across the country an opportunity to participate in this impactful weekend.

Leading into REF Conference 2020, S.O.S. will specifically be reaching out to officiating and umpiring communities, sports ministries, churches, and media outlets up and down the west coast spanning the Pacific Northwest including Washington and Oregon, all the way south into the bay area of California.

An additional objective this year is to be joined by sport officials from the west coast of Canada to make 2020 the first truly international REF Conference.

“We have been blessed to take REF Conference to different regions of the sport officiating family allowing us to plant roots across the country in our first three years, beginning with Texas in 2018, followed by Ohio last year, and now Olympia, Washington,” DiFolco said. “It is our prayer that attendees of REF Conference will be blessed by hearing from the speakers and forming stronger relationships with their colleagues, and will then return to their local officiating families and live out what was talked about at REF Conference to make a tangible difference in the sport officiating community.”


ABOUT REF Conference -

As Sport Officials Surrendered was in its infancy in 2018, co-founders Dan & Alicia DiFolco established a relationship with 20-year veteran NBA referee Pat Fraher, who at the time was also in the planning stages of establishing an officials’ ministry called the Referees Embracing Faith Conference. “REF” Conference would bring together sport officials from across North America for an annual faith-based conference tailored to sport officials, creating a unique opportunity to unite around the gospel of Jesus.

Realizing how well the two visions complimented each other, S.O.S. and REF Conference

agreed to merge, with REF Conference coming under the S.O.S. umbrella as the ministry’s cornerstone annual event. The aim of S.O.S. is to serve sport officials in person at REF Conference and online through website and social media avenues, with the prayer being that officials are encouraged and equipped to serve God wholeheartedly through their example when they step into the profession of sport officiating.

“Just like athletes, sport officials were created with our own unique passion for the same purpose, and that is to glorify God,” Dan DiFolco said. “It is our mission to unite those who call themselves referees, umpires, judges or what have you, as equal parts in the body of Christ, not only for fellowship, but to serve as a foundation of support, which is critical in our profession,” he said.

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