ACB Conference and Convention 2012: Full Steam Ahead!

by Janet Dickelman

Louisville is built on the banks of the Ohio River, and steamboats were integral to its development. The program committee selected "ACB: Full Steam Ahead" as the theme for the 2012 conference and convention. As we move into our next 50 years, this is a very appropriate theme.

We expect this convention to be bigger and better than ever! If the calls and e-mails I've received are any indication, we should have a banner year in Louisville.
Here are the answers to the questions I have been receiving.

Convention Registration

A card will be sent in mid-May to "The Braille Forum" list, announcing that registration is about to begin; the information will also be posted on the ACBconvention, leadership, and ACB-L e-mail lists. The announcement will contain an estimated date that registration will be live on-line and a toll-free number for those who wish to register by phone. We WILL NOT send paper forms to the entire mailing list. If you would like a paper form, contact Sharon Lovering at the ACB national office before May 1. Forms will be sent via first-class mail when pre-registration opens at the end of May.

** Conference and Convention Programs

Programs are not mailed out prior to the convention. You may pick up the program, in the format of your choice, at the convention.  The program will be available on ACB's web site in late June. A message will be sent to the ACB lists advising you when the program is available for download.


** Tours

Our first tour will be Friday morning, July 6th. You must have your tickets to attend any tours, so be sure to allow enough time to pick up your registration packet at the Galt House Thursday evening. Registration closes at 9 p.m. Thursday evening. The Thursday, July 5th registration is open only for pre-registration pick-up.  Our final tour will be Saturday, July 14th.

Full tour descriptions will be shown on the registration form.  Here is the tour schedule.

** Friday, July 6, 2012

1. Churchill Downs Backstretch Breakfast & Behind the Scenes Tour
2. Kentucky Bourbon Trail w/ lunch
3. Waverly Hills Sanatorium (ghost tour)
4. Stephen Foster, the musical

** Saturday, July 7, 2012

1. Kentucky Horse Park & Ride For Hope, lunch included
2. City Bus Tour
3. My Old Kentucky Lunch Train

** Sunday, July 8, 2012

1. City Bus Tours (morning and afternoon)
2. Joe Huber Family Farm (lunch included)

** Monday, July 9, 2012

1. Schimpff's Confectionery
2. Glassworks
3. American Printing House

** Tuesday, July 10, 2012

1. Schimpff's Confectionery and Bussmann's Bakery
2. American Printing House
3. Louisville Mega Caverns

** Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1. Schimpff's Confectionery and Bussmann's Bakery
2. American Printing House
3. Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

** Thursday, July 12, 2012

1. Canoe Kentucky (a 3-mile canoe trip)
2. Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History
3. Toyota Plant Tour
4. Louisville Bats Game (Join president Mitch Pomerantz as he throws out the first pitch)

** Saturday, July 14, 2012

1. Amish Country Tour, lunch included
2. Spirit of Jefferson Dinner Cruise

Yes, candy lovers, you have three opportunities this year to visit Schimpff's to buy their delicious candy. There are also several chances to visit the American Printing House.

** Youth Activities

Children ages 6 to 17 are invited to come and join the fun Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. until 5 p.m. While the adults are busy attending meetings and seminars, you can have a great time going on field trips and enjoying fun projects in the YAC room. You must register each child and indicate on the registration form that they plan to attend YAC.

** Conference and Convention Programming

Beginning Saturday, July 7th through Thursday, July 12th, there are a myriad of workshops, meetings, and speakers. ACB affiliates, special-interest groups and tech sessions are held each afternoon and evening.  Speakers and presenters for break-out meetings are published in the conference program.

** General Sessions

Our opening session is Sunday evening, July 8th. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Tuck Tinsley III, the president of APH.  Monday through Thursday (morning) and all day Friday, attend general sessions brimming with ACB business and speakers regarding various topics of interest. The full schedule will be printed in the program. All I can say right now is there are some very exciting presentations!

** Banquet

Friday evening, July 13th, join us at the 51st annual banquet. Our banquet speaker will be Micheal Hudson, director of the APH museum.


** Sponsorships:

Many outstanding opportunities are available to let attendees and folks at home know about your products and services. Color and black-and-white program pages, newspaper advertising, and ACB Radio spots and features are great ways to get the word out to potential customers. Conference sponsors (our gems) have a unique opportunity to add their logos and names to workshops, seminars, educational and leisure activities, youth programs, and convention services. High visibility; lots of extras such as program and newspaper ads, listings on the official convention T-shirt and sponsor board in general session, and features on ACB Radio. Great for businesses and affiliates; pearls ($1,000) to diamonds ($20,000), and all gems in between.

** Heroes:

Every state and every affiliate have special people who have played significant roles in the lives of blind and visually impaired people. Often these outstanding individuals go unheralded on the national scene. Now you can share the accomplishments of these special people by participating in the ACB Heroes section of the 2012 conference and convention program. Heroes pages will be printed on high-quality paper; pages can include a photograph of your special person and a short caption about his or her accomplishments. What a wonderful way to honor or memorialize that special person!

Heroes pages must be reserved by May. For more information on advertising and sponsorship opportunities, visit our web site at, or contact
Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625.

** Exhibits

The exhibit hall opens Saturday afternoon, July 8th, and is open for six days, closing Thursday, July 12th at 1 p.m.

Are you a company that sells adaptive equipment for the blind or visually impaired?  Are you an agency or entity with resources or information of particular interest to ACB members?  Do you represent a guide dog school?  Do you operate a business that sells items that would be of interest to our members?  Are you an ACB affiliate or special-interest group with items to sell? 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, consider being a vendor at the 2012 ACB Conference and Convention at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky.  The exhibit hall will be one of the most popular places at the conference and convention. As an exhibitor, you will give people from across the United States and from many foreign countries the opportunity to learn about your products and services.  Turn browsers into buyers as attendees give technology a trial run, check out new tutorials or crafts, or shop for products for home, school, work and play.

Premium booths, tabletop booths, and limited three-day booth packages are available. There are also discounted booth options for visually impaired  entrepreneurs and ACB affiliates as well as rebates for vendors who exhibit the entire time the exhibit hall is open. Visit our web site to register, or contact Michael Smitherman, exhibit coordinator, by e-mail,, or by phone at (601) 331-7740.

** Scheduling Events

Breakfasts begin at 7:00, lunches at 12:15. There are four afternoon sessions (1:15 to 2:30; reserved exclusively for special-interest groups); the next two sessions, 2:45 to 4:00 and 4:15 to 5:30, are open to special-interest affiliates and ACB committees. The fourth session, 5:45 to 7:00, is available to affiliates, committees and others not affiliated with ACB.  Anyone wishing to schedule programs or activities in Louisville needs to submit all information for the pre-registration form by April 15. Program details must be received by May 1. Make all arrangements related to conference and convention events (reserve meeting rooms, order food or A/V equipment, etc.) through me via phone, (651) 428-5059, or e-mail

** Attending the 2012 Conference and Convention

Reservations for the 2012 convention can be made via phone or online. To make your reservations via phone, call 1-800-843-4258.  Be sure to mention you are with the ACB convention.  If you'd like to make your reservations online, go to Standard rooms in the west tower are $85; suites in the east tower are $105. These prices do not include applicable taxes. When you make a reservation, the Galt House will charge one night's stay to your credit card as a deposit.

Sandollar shuttle has agreed to provide ACB with a round-trip fare of $20 from the airport to the hotel. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance at their web site, You may also call them at (502) 561-4022.

It is only necessary to make your inbound flight reservation. Sandollar has assured me that they have vehicles that can transport individuals with wheelchairs, including lift-equipped buses. When making a reservation, indicate that you are with ACB. If you use a wheelchair, also indicate that on the reservation, and let me know directly.

For up-to-date information pertaining to the ACB conference and convention, subscribe to the convention list by sending a blank e-mail to