by Allen Casey
Year in and year out the message is the same: The Durward K. McDaniel First-Timers program offers ACB members the opportunity to participate in the national conference and convention, learn more about ACB’s work in the national and international arenas and experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. How then can the impact of selection as a First-Timer be measured? Consider, for example, the experience of Kenneth Semien Sr., president of ACB Texas, a 2010 DKM First-Timer. “Being selected as … a DKM First-Timer,” Kenneth asserts, “gave me an access pass to an adventure and grand exploration of the history of ACB, its mission, purpose and the dynamic impact it has made and continues to make in the lives of Americans who are blind, have low vision and those who may join this population during adulthood, as I did.” And, Kenneth continues, “I have discovered a renewed purpose for living through my involvement in serving on all levels as state, special-interest affiliate and chapter president in addition to being an active participant on committees that work to keep ACB thriving. …”
The culmination of the annual DKM selection process is the naming of two ACB members — one from east and one from west of the Mississippi River — to attend the national conference and convention in Reno as guests of ACB and the DKM committee. The DKM program will fund round-trip air travel and supporting transportation, hotel accommodations (double occupancy), per diem allowance for meals and incidentals, reception and banquet tickets and convention registration fee. The cost of optional tours and similar activities will be borne by the individual. The responsibilities of each recipient include but are not limited to attending the full week of conference and convention activities; participating in daily general sessions, the ACB Leadership Institute and special-interest seminars; and interacting with ACB leaders and fellow members.
To be eligible for consideration and selection, each applicant must complete a three-step process. First, the applicant will satisfy the basic eligibility requirements: be age 18 or older; blind or visually impaired; member in good standing of ACB; never have attended a previous ACB national conference and convention. Second, each applicant must submit two letters to the committee — a letter of application and a letter of recommendation. The former will introduce the applicant to the committee and include, among other things, the objectives in applying for the award, a brief summary of education and related experience and an assessment of the importance of the First-Timers award to the applicant’s career development as well as benefits to his or her affiliate and community. The latter must be submitted by the president of the applicant’s ACB state or special-interest affiliate and should assess the applicant’s leadership contributions and potential. Third, eligible applicants will be interviewed by DKM committee members.
All application materials should be forwarded to Kelly Gasque, [email protected], and must be received in the ACB national office no later than April 3. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Telephone interviews will be scheduled for mid-April. The committee will select the 2017 First-Timers in late April. Eligible applicants will be notified at that time. Direct your questions to DKM chair Kenneth Semien at [email protected].
Join Kenneth Semien and more than 40 other ACB members and share the adventure of a lifetime as a Durward K. McDaniel First-Timer.