Our 46th annual convention started Friday November 1 with a Parents of Blind Children Seminar chaired by Marie Couthoofd. This seminar took place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
At 3:30 the Board of Directors of the Affiliate held the board meeting. After a break, the Hospitality Night hosted by the Capital District chapter's president and vice-president, Charlie Richardson and Craig Hedgecock, was a relaxing and entertaining night of music, auction, Karaoke and refreshments. Many items were auctioned, lots of songs were sung and the coveted $50 bill progressive auctioned was won by Dave Hoskinson of the Capital district Chapter for a $26 bid.
Saturday morning started with the annual meeting of the New York Association of Blind Merchants. The meeting was a great success. We were privileged to have Associate Commissioner Thomas Robertson and National Association of Blind Merchants President Kevan Worley as our guest speakers. Mr. Robertson gave us some assurances that he is totally behind the Business Enterprise Program and that he would do anything necessary to help promote it and its membership. Mr. Worley spoke about the upcoming BLAST II conference in Nashville. He encouraged us all to attend and take part in the various activities that our division will be holding in the coming year. We had several new members in attendance this year, and had a banner year in fundraising for the annual scholarships. We look forward to doing even more and better things in the year to come.
Our General Session started at 9 a.m. with an invocation by Laura Herman of the Niagara Chapter. Charlie Richardson of the Capital district Chapter briefly greeted conventioneers. Ray Wayne, Scholarship Committee chair, introduced the 2002 scholarship winners.
Carl Jacobsen then gave the 2002 Presidential Report. Carl then introduced our national representative, Kevan Worley.
Jesse from Bookshare.org talked about their service and a promotional offer to New Yorkers.
Johanna Harrison from Blind Industries of Maryland addressed "Who we are and what we do".
We then had greetings from the administration of the Commission for the Blind's Associate Commissioner Thomas Robertson.
We then had a report from the libraries for the blind.
We then had a choice of two luncheon seminars. The Student's Division and Guide Dog division. The main event of the Student's Division was its reformation and newly elected officers. The Guide Dog Division reported that Guiding Eyes is no longer NAC accredited.
We returned to General Session with Debbie Lomma of the Business Enterprise Program. She talked briefly of the state of the program and answered questions from the floor.
We then had a presentation from Marie Couthoofd, Michael Robinson, Lori Zucker and Gary Grassman entitled, "The high partial". Living as a high partial blind person.
Charlie Richardson then gave a presentation on promoting your chapter and getting the word out on what we do in the federation.
Our final presentation of the General Session was given by Barry Berberich of the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany. He reported the many positive changes in NABA since he has become the director 14 months prior.
Our banquet started at 7 p.m. and was reeling over the exciting time that was had since the start of the convention. Our invocation of the banquet was given by David Stayer followed by Tracy Carcione. Our newest chapter was chartered at this convention. Carl Jacobsen presented Elaine Rink with the Southern Tier charter. Our keynote speech given by our national representative Kevan Worley entitled, "Dwell in Possibility". Our scholarships were awarded and a busy day was adjourned.
Sunday morning brought the convention together again for affiliate business. A Communications Committee was formed in order to develop our newsletter and website.