[nfbwatlk] thoughts on the NFB of Washington convention

Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Thu Oct 27 20:46:24 UTC 2016

Hello Marci and Listers,

Well, I blew it. I wanted to be the first to put a report on the convention on this list, but events and travel got in the way, and I just haven't posted about our most recent NFB of Washington convention until now. When these reports get to be late by more than a week, some would say the item is stale, but not in this case. I may be late, but I wanted to enthusiastically say that this year's convention was one for the record books. Not only did we have more registrants this year than we have in modern times, but we had more meetings, and energy than we have in many years. This isn't to disparage any of the leaders of past conventions, (me included), but the fact that there were more active, vibrant participants is a testament to our growth and, yes, popularity of purpose in recent days, weeks and months. Those on this list that missed the convention might want to redouble your efforts to attend the convention run by Marci Carpenter as President. Friday afternoon was full of exhibiters, showing us the exciting technology available for the blind this year. The state board meeting was held earlier in the convention this year, and was quite well attended. We heard highlights from conference call board meetings now held monthly by the board, and Ever Lee Hairston was introduced as our national representative and Marci has already reported. On both Friday and Saturday evening, after the formal meetings were finished, the Seattle chapter opened a tremendously successful hospitality room, where many of us really enjoyed talking with old friends, meeting new ones, singing all kinds of songs hosted by our own homegrown musicians and sharing wine, beer and other spirits along with the sodas and snacks aplenty. 

The innovative aspects of this convention kept us all involved and energized this  year. The Saturday afternoon breakout sessions showed that we have many aspects in the NFB of Washington. The parents of blind children, the diabetic Action network, the blind parents and blind students as well provided opportunities for a lot of information sharing and even suggestions for future activities.   A group of folks met to work on revitalizing the Tacoma chapter, and many of the attendees met to discuss the future of technology for the blind.
The formal  morning sessions on Saturday and Sunday, as well as the banquet had a number of new and different presentations as well as some activities that are part of the institution of the NFB of Washington. Jacob Struiskma talked about goalball teams and the excitement of playing this game designed particularly for blind participants. I particularly enjoyed auctioning items  at various points of the sessions. As a matter of historic fact, several items were sold at the banquet,  and for the first time ever, my daughter Elizabeth attended and helped the fund raiser run smoothly. Gary Mackenstadt was the master of ceremonies at the Saturday night dinner, and as Marci mentioned, we were all treated to a classic speech about civil rights and the National Federation of the Blind by Ever Lee Hairston. She even recited a poem accompanied by recorded music toward the end of her speech, which really added a new dimension to the emotions felt at the banquet.  

The Sunday morning session featured presentations, roll playing and as Marci said, table discussions concerning NFB legislation, legislator education and how to pass bills and ordinances. This State is going to push hard for all the NFB national legislation during the coming year, partly powered by the feeling of renewal and commitment experienced at this year's convention.

Marci, this was an outstanding convention, and I think you have shown that new and innovative agendas work. I can't wait to see what happens during the year, and am even more excited about what might happen at next year's convention.


Bennett Prows
-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Marci Carpenter via nfbwatlk
Sent: Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:07 AM
To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List' List'
Cc: Marci Carpenter
Subject: [nfbwatlk] thoughts on the NFB of Washington convention

The weather might have been damp and stormy last weekend but the love and spirit of the Federation shown brightly at our NFB of Washington state convention!

I want to thank all of the members of the NFBW for your help in making the convention run smoothly and for welcoming all of the new convention attendees. We were very pleased to have ten students of DSB’s Orientation and Training Center attending our convention. 

We changed the agenda this year from having mostly presenters and speakers to devoting much time to interactive discussions and learning experiences. Our first-timers orientation was very well attended and helped rookies get to know our veteran members. Our National Representative, Ever Lee Hairston, was friendly and engaging and gave a very moving banquet address. As I walked around the breakout sessions on Saturday afternoon I heard people sharing ideas, learning new things and making connections. Our table discussions about legislation on Sunday morning were full of teaching people about our issues and how to access information about them. There was a hot Uno game at the early hospitality session on Friday night and the hospitality suite was packed with people enjoying the weekend. New parents of blind children learned about our programs and the support we can provide them and their children. Blind children found new friends. Blind students, diabetics and guide dog users held informative discussions. LouOma Durand (DSB), Scott McCallum (WSSB) and Danielle Miller (WTBBL) all joined us for the weekend and participated in discussions.

We broke recent attendance records at this convention with 117 in attendance and 101 at the banquet. Congratulations to our 2016 scholarship winners; Nerie Garcia ($2,000) and Courtney Cole ($3,000). Both were very involved in the weekend’s activities and I have no doubt that they will continue to e involved in the Federation. Thank you to the Lillian S. Edelstein Trust for providing funds  our scholarships this year.

Elections were held last weekend and the following people were elected or re-elected to our NFBW Board of Directors:
President; Marci Carpenter
1st Vice President; Mike Mello
2nd Vice President; Maria Bradford
Secretary; Andrea Travis
Treasurer; Corey Grandstaff
Board Position #1; Noel Nightingale
Board Position #2; Doug Trimble
Congratulations to all!

These are some of my thoughts and feelings as I reflect on our convention. If you attended the convention, whether for the first time or the thirty-sixth time, I invite you to share your thoughts on this list. You may also contact me privately with your thoughts and ideas for our affiliate. 

Now our task is to carry the energy of our convention forward into our chapters and divisions, to bring our message of hope and possibility to new blind people around the state, to continue to participate actively in our national events and programs and to build the Federation here in Washington state and across the country!

Marci Carpenter, President
National Federation of the Blind
 of washington
mjc59 at comcast.net <mailto:mjc59 at comcast.net>
(206) 604-5507

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