From the Editor: A NABS member shares their experience at the 55th annual Missouri State Convention.
I believe the 55th annual state convention of the national Federation of the Blind of Missouri was a success. I enjoyed the fellowship that convention always brings. It was wonderful to catch up with friends, as well as meet other Federation family members. It was great to have so many Federationists who serve on the national level give presentations. One of the highlights of the convention weekend was getting the opportunity to celebrate Gary Wunder, our immediate past president, who held the office for thirty-seven years. Many people shared their favorite memories of Gary and thanked him for his service. Our banquet was also themed to honor Gary. He has acquired the taste for donuts, so the two hosting chapters decided to create doughnut-themed centerpieces. The banquet speech, given by the national representative, Ron Brown, was entertaining an encouraging.
Another highlight of convention was having the opportunity to attend a one-touch seminar. One-touch is a self defense course designed to empower those with disabilities. We learned basic techniques for defending ourselves. The instructors clearly explained the techniques and gave us scenarios we may encounter where they would be useful. One skill we learned was what to do in the event that someone attempts to assist us in a street crossing when we do not wish to have assistance. I left the session feeling more confident and armed with valuable knowledge.
I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar for blind parents. The committee discussed techniques for caring for children of all ages. We were also given the opportunity to look at items such as thermometers for infants. We were able to practice tools such as pulling a stroller behind us. The committee put a lot of thought into this seminar. I learned many skills and feel more confident in my parenting abilities should I choose to have children.
The convention was a great experience. The speeches and sessions were filled with positive information that reflects the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind. We heard from the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, and individuals from Congress. There was also someone representing each of the three NFB training centers. We had two interesting and thought provoking presentations. A Federationist, who works for the FBI, talked about his career and how a blind person could go about getting a job with the FBI. We had another Federationist, who shared memories of him turkey hunting without vision. The speakers were well prepared. When it came time to hold elections, there were quite a few positions open. I believe the Missouri Affiliate has a very bright future. We have a strong leadership in our state with many mentors. In the next few years, we will see a lot of growth in this affiliate. We have some newer members who have extraordinary ideas and older members who know the ins and outs of the organization and are open to implementing new initiatives. If everyone works together, we will be building the Federation and reaching more blind people with our positive philosophy about blindness.