A Path to the Future: The DKM First-Timer Program

by Allen J. Casey

Developing new leaders is a key objective of any organization committed to growth, success and survival. In volunteer organizations, individuals step forward without regard to compensation and similar rewards or public recognition. They bring their unique talents and willingness to serve to the table for the good of the organization. ACB, its members and its leaders are no different.
Election of members as officers and to the board and appointment of members to standing committees are two manifestations of leadership recognition and development within ACB. But there is still another path to leadership in ACB: the Durward K. McDaniel First-Timer Program, which recognizes at least two individuals annually as rising leaders. Created more than 15 years ago to honor the unique contributions of ACB pioneer Durward McDaniel, the DKM first-timer program offers members the opportunity to experience the week-long panorama of education and fellowship that is ACB's national conference and convention.
The first-timer program is open to any ACB member in good standing who is at least 18 years of age, blind or visually impaired and has never attended the national conference and convention. Each applicant must submit two letters to the ACB national office: (1) a statement of the applicant's interest in the DKM program and a personal narrative describing the benefits of the award to the applicant as well as to the applicant's affiliate and the community at large; and (2) a letter of sponsorship from the president of the applicant's ACB affiliate.
Recipients will attend the 2012 national conference and convention in Louisville as guests of ACB and the DKM committee. Reasonable travel, lodging and conference costs will be covered in addition to a per diem stipend for meals. DKM recipients are expected to be active participants in conference activities. Letters should be directed to Dionne Matthews in the national office and must be received no later than April 1, 2012. Questions regarding the program may be referred to DKM chairman, Allen Casey, at (336) 222-0201 or mahatmaac@aol.com.
Leadership is an asset critical to the survival of all organizations. New leadership nurtures and sustains survival into the future. DKM first-timers are among those new leaders who will assume key roles in organizational affairs at the local, state and national levels.