Future Reflections Convention Report 1997, Vol. 16 No. 3


NOPBC 1997 Annual Meeting

[PICTURE] Barbara Cheadle convenes the 1997 Annual Meeting of the NOPBC.
[PICTURE] The 1997 NOPBC Annual Meeting

NOPBC Officers and Board
President: Barbara Cheadle (Maryland)
First Vice President: Ruby Ryles (Louisiana)
Second Vice President: Carol Castellano (New Jersey)
Secretary: Martin Greiser (Montana)
Treasurer: Julie Hunter (Colorado)
Board Positions: John Salka (New York)
Pat Jones (Tennessee)
Carolyn Sasser (Louisiana)
Crystal McClain (Ohio)

It's so tempting to try and find a different title for the NOPBC Annual Meeting. "Annual Meeting" sounds so stuffy and dull, and that simply doesn't fit the exciting, fast-paced, information-packed, fun-filled, and emotion-charged reality of NOPBC meetings.

Sure, sure, you think. Informative, maybe, but exciting? Fast-paced? Fun!? That's right—the 1997 Annual Meeting was all that, and here's the report to prove it!

Let's begin with fast-paced. In a little over four hours we packed in:

* a key-note presentation by Deborah Prost, the 1997 Teacher of Blind Children Award winner (see page 13);

* guest speakers from Safari International regarding their hands-on wildlife Sensory Safari program (see page 28);

* a presentation about our new NOPBC publication, The Bridge to Braille;

* a viewing of the new NFB video, "White Canes for Blind Kids";

* reports from about 30 NOPBC committees, networks, and state parents divisions (see state reports in this issue);

* a report on the 1996-1997 Braille Readers are Leaders Contest (see page 54);

* greetings and a report from the newly organized Canadian parents organization;

* a report on the year's activities—the Parent's Seminar in Washington D.C., the Southeast Parent Leadership Conference at the Rocky Bottom Camp of the Blind in South Carolina, and the trips made by President Cheadle to revitalize old, and organize new, parent chapters; and, of course,

* a business meeting complete with elections.

Although we had a tight agenda, we found time to draw for numerous door prizes (such as children's books and baby quilts donated by the Maryland Parents of Blind Children) throughout the afternoon. The membership was also treated to a surprise "bootie break" led by Daniel Lemons of "Blind Ambition." This children's musician and entertainer (who also happens to be blind) soon had us standing up, singing, stomping, clapping, and making some other most peculiar noises. After a lively 10 minutes of song and laughter, we returned to the business of the day refreshed and a little less numb you-know-where.

The meeting concluded with a report from the nominating committee and elections. The nominating committee members were:

Chairman, Marty Greiser (Montana), Loretta White (Maryland), and Myra Lesser (Pennsylvania). Those elected to the NOPBC board for one-year terms were: John Salka (New York), Pat Jones (Tennessee), Carolyn Sasser (Louisiana), and Crystal McClain (Ohio).

Appreciation was expressed for the hard work and creative leadership of the two members going off the board this year: Joe Larson (Nebraska) and Barbara Freeman (Washington).

It would be hard to pick one highlight of the meeting. All of the presentations were excellent, and all provided wonderful information. But if I had to choose, I think I would choose the state parent division reports. It was truely exciting to hear about the many creative projects and programs implemented by our state level parent chapters. About half of those reports are reprinted in this article, and others will appear in later issues. Please read them. The reports demonstrate how much can be accomplished when parents of blind children join in partnership with the organized blind—the National Federation of the Blind—to bring about equal opportunity and integration for blind children throughout the nation.

Here are the division reports from California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virgina: