by Kenneth Semien Sr.

It is with great pleasure and tremendous gratitude that I share highlights of a terrific series of events and explorations encountered as I attended the 49th annual ACB conference and convention in Phoenix, Ariz.

The exploration began when I received encouragement from ACB of Texas president Carol Edwards to apply for the Durward K. McDaniel First-Timers Award. I was reluctant, but I submitted a narrative of my personal endeavors and initiatives. When I learned that I'd been selected as one of the recipients of the DKM First-Timers Award through a telephone conversation with DKM chairman Carol Ewing, I realized that it was time to begin asking more questions in regard to necessary steps to plan for the expected adventure which I was about to embark upon. It turned out to be one of the best educational experiences that I have ever had. I am elated to report that I had the time of my life meeting new friends and others who shared similar personal challenges and abilities.

From day one I witnessed so many independent travelers who were excited to be convention attendees and receive a full week of informative and broad range of meaningful opportunities. My first enlightening experience was to observe the ACB board's pre-convention meeting it ran for about six hours! I will never forget the numerous options ACB members are presented with to choose from during the convention. I decided to participate in every event that would enhance my level of knowledge about the organization.

It was truly invigorating to participate and receive documents to reflect on once I returned home. I participated in activities such as Keys to the Convention, daily general sessions, public relations training, the legislative seminar, paratransit training, the Lions Club visit, the membership seminar, the affiliate presidents' meeting, the DKM reception, a fantastic banquet and more. I am thrilled with my ACB experience and look forward to the 2011 conference and convention, at which I will celebrate 50 years of life as ACB celebrates 50 years of existence. Let's celebrate together!

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