compiled by Ardis Bazyn, ACB Membership Committee Chair
In the February and March focus calls about spring state conventions, the following state affiliates participated: Minnesota, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, Mississippi, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Hawaii. We hope you find some new possibilities to consider for conventions in the future. Questions were asked for particular details such as the type of conventions: virtual, in person, or hybrid. Virtual only is likely the most inexpensive. The most expensive is the hybrid convention, since hotels need to be booked with minimum numbers for rooms and meals as well as extra audio-visual equipment to make it happen. Maryland and Arizona held virtual-only conventions, while Massachusetts held most of the conference virtually, with an in-person social event. North Dakota and Mississippi decided to hold in-person-only conventions. Minnesota, California, Illinois, and Florida planned hybrid conventions. However, each convention had its own unique components. Some had exhibitors in person only while others had exhibitors in person and virtually via Zoom. One conference allowed each exhibitor to have their own Zoom line for participants to call during exhibit hours. Other conventions used one Zoom line for all exhibitors with each exhibitor having specific time slots. Exhibitor and sponsor fees varied. California had a special outside display on accessible tactile warnings and specific outdoor accessible announcements for construction. Exhibitors were agencies and organizations for the blind as well as blindness related product companies.
Each convention had a variety of programs and speakers. Many had state agencies for the blind staff describe their classes and educational offerings. Other agencies such as the Area Agency on Aging, schools for the blind, local independent living centers, and other rehabilitation center staff are invited. Other speakers give tips on yoga, defense, crafting, advocacy, and technology like iPhone or computer training. Other invited speakers covered accessible museums, starting or managing a business, legislative matters, and accessible gaming.
Special events at conventions include luncheons, banquets, and tours, as well as dances. Special speakers are invited: ACB leaders, senators or congressmen, well-known authors, and comedians. Paying attention to what other affiliates do may give you some ideas for your next convention. Listen to podcasts of monthly ACB Membership Committee Focus calls for more details.