2017 NFB Idaho Convention
Our 2017 state convention will be held March 24-25 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, 6300 Vista Ave in Boise. Our 2015 convention was held in this location, which, at the time, was the Boise Hotel and Convention Center. All the remodeling has been completed and I believe this location will meet our needs. I have signed the contract. Jan Gawith was instrumental in contacting this location and I greatly appreciate her help. Room rates are $83 for singles, doubles, triples and quads. There is a 13% tax in addition. All persons staying in the hotel will be entitled to a complimentary hot breakfast as part of the registration. As you can tell by the dates, the convention will be two days in length. Business items which have been addressed on our Sunday business meeting will be included in the two day convention schedule. This will make the banquet the high point of the convention, and allow those traveling to get an earlier start. The convention committee will be working on the schedule beginning at our meeting Tuesday, August 16. Stay tuned for the next report for more details.
ICBVI College DAys
June and July have been very busy and exciting for me as your president. In mid-June, I participated in the ICBVI College Days program by hosting an NFB booth at their expo held at BSU. I provided copies of the NABS student packet, information on NFB divisions, copies of the new NFB brochure, and other information. In addition to my presentation to the group, I was able to talk individually to the students. That evening I lead a session for the students on communication using the Toastmaster meeting model. I just completed working with the ICBVI SWEP students on communication skills using the Interpersonal Communications series Toastmaster materials. I and two other members of Toastmasters met with the students each Monday night of SWEP. At the last meeting, students were divided into teams for a debate. This was followed by an ice cream social where the students voted on the ice cream and toppings that would be served.
On July 23, the SWEP and Boise BELL Academy students met for a Saturday morning of sports activities at Ivywild Park in Boise. We had beepball, soccer, kick ball, tandem bike riding, and a corn toss game. Students were able to participate in all activities. Chapter members prepared and served lunch to all of the participants following the event. Students were assigned to sit with specific chapter members who served as mentors during lunch. I appreciate the hard work of the Treasure Valley chapter as well as the members of the community who made this event a success.
Demonstrating Tools to Assist with Mobility
In June, I was asked to participate with a group of blind people demonstrating GPS systems to blind children involved in a science camp in Boise. Students learned that my Trekker Breeze is a tool to help in travel, but it is not a replacement for good orientation and mobility skills.
2016 Idaho NFB BELL program
Idaho had three BELL Academies this summer in Idaho Falls, Boise and Coeur d’Alene. I taught braille writing in Boise’s program. Becky Sherman and I also facilitated a parents’ group discussion during the BELL program. Through these great programs, we share our positive NFB philosophy and beliefs about blindness to students, parents, and teachers alike. We got news coverage for all BELL programs, thanks in large part to the work of Sean Malone of the Snake River Valley Chapter. This coverage spreads our positive message about blindness even farther in our communities.
New Issue of the Idaho Gems Newsletter
Speaking of news, I hope everyone has seen and read our newest Gem state Milestones newsletter. Al Schneider is doing a Steller job with the newsletter including beautiful pictures in the print edition. We will be able to distribute it to doctors’ offices and other places so that blind people and their families and friends can learn our message that blindness does not have to define you or your future. You can live the life you want. Blindness is not what holds you back.
A Word About the 2016 NFB National Convention
Our seventy-sixth National Convention was held in Orlando Florida June 30- July 5. This is the most exciting time of the federation year and an opportunity to see how vibrant and diverse our organization has become. I was impressed by the energy of the youth at this convention. We had several speakers who have participated in our NFB science events. These individuals were confident and self-assured. Getting started with the positive attitude and training that NFB provides will result in success for our youth. One of the highlights of the convention for me was seeing a young woman from Indiana in our 2016 scholarship class. She had attended guide dog school when I received my fourth dog, Shawnee. I told her to apply for an NFB scholarship because I knew she had the confidence and skill to be a winner. She is beginning her senior year in college studying to be a special education teacher. We had many thought provoking speeches by our national leaders, as well as updates on state of the art technology.
I attended a health and fitness fair sponsored by the NFB sports and recreation division. I enjoyed participating in an introductory class on blind tennis, enjoyed a cardio drumming experience, and purchased a described cd for using my exercise ball. Julie and her son Carver Andersen attended the convention funded in part by a Jernigan scholarship. I urge anyone who has never attended the convention to apply for a Jernigan scholarship for next year’s convention. The scholarship doesn’t cover everything, but it certainly can help. Nothing will teach you about the NFB like a national convention. We must work to help more people attend.
Idaho NFB Growth
Our work in the NFB never stops. I am working with two student leaders to get the student division up and running. Also plans are being made to organize a new chapter in Pocatello on September 10. We are working to increase our visibility on social media and planning some new fundraising strategies.
Dana Ard, President
National Federation of the Blind of Idaho
Phone (208) 345-3906
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