Lots to See and Do in The Show Me State

by Janet Dickelman

 
As you prepare for your visit to St. Louis for the 2018 conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind, here are some fun facts about the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri. The state bird of Missouri is the eastern bluebird; the state flower is the white hawthorne blossom. Missouri’s nickname is the “Show Me State”; you will definitely see a lot and learn many new things during convention week. The state motto, adopted in 1822, is “Salus populi suprema lex esto,” which translates to, “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.”
 
Pierre Laclède, recipient of a land grant from the king of France, and his 13-year-old scout, Auguste Chouteau, selected the site of St. Louis in 1764 as a fur trading post. Named for Louis IX of France, the site was chosen because it was not subject to flooding and was near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Hear all about St. Louis’ rich history during general session on Sunday morning, July 1st, when Charlie Brennan, broadcaster for radio station KMOX, regales us with stories from his book, “Amazing St. Louis: 250 Years of Great Tales and Curiosities.”
 
Dates and Details
 
Convention dates are Friday, June 29th through Friday, July 6th. Note: the January 2018 issue lists our 2018 tours. Opening general session will be held Saturday evening, June 30th. It will feature local entertainment, the color guard ceremony and singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” plus welcomes by ACB president Kim Charlson and the president of the Missouri Council of the Blind. This is your opportunity to hear from some of our major corporate sponsors and be introduced to the 2018 Durward K. McDaniel First-Timers and the Leadership Fellows recipients. 
 
Daily general sessions will continue Sunday through Thursday. During these sessions, you’ll meet our talking book narrator, hear from a young man who has worked to make appliances accessible, learn about the latest updates on advocacy, and hear the always inspiring stories from our scholarship recipients. You won’t want to miss our banquet Thursday evening. Michael Cleveland, nominated for his bluegrass record, “Fiddler’s Dream,” and his fellow musician Brian Allen will perform for banquet attendees and talk about life on the road as a blind musician.
 
The exhibit hall will open on Saturday, June 30th, and will remain open through Wednesday, July 4th.
There will be approximately 60 vendors featuring cutting-edge technology for blind and visually impaired users, items for daily living, recreation and personal items such as jewelry, items for guide dogs, and so much more.
 
Special-interest affiliates and committees will hold programs, seminars and workshops beginning on Saturday, June 30th and running through Wednesday, July 4th. Teachers, students, families, attorneys, entrepreneurs, the LGBT community, and individuals who are losing their sight will hold approximately 200 sessions during convention week. In addition, many of our sponsors and business partners will present programs, workshops and focus groups.
 
Career Development
 
If you are a first-time convention attendee, if you haven’t joined us in several years, or if you are a veteran conventioneer, visit www.acb.org and review the 2017 convention program.
 
Every conference and convention features unique opportunities to learn new skills, tips and techniques on a wide range of topics. This will give you an idea of what to expect.
 
This year, for the first time, ACB is offering continuing education credits. We are working with ACVREP to obtain certification for many of our convention sessions. There will be additional information in the March issue about this exciting opportunity.
 
Staying in Touch
 
Want to get the latest scoop on convention news? Subscribe to the convention announce list! To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to acbconvention-subscribe@acblists.org. If you received updates for the 2017 convention, you need not re-subscribe.
 
Hotel Details
 
Room rates at Union Station are $89; this rate applies for up to 2 people in a king room and up to 4 guests in a room with two queen beds.  Room tax is currently 18.435%. You may make reservations by calling (314) 231-1234. Be sure to mention you are with the American Council of the Blind to obtain the convention room rate. To make reservations online, go to www.acb.org and follow the 2018 convention link.
 
Convention Contacts
 
2018 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740, amduo@bellsouth.net
 
2018 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625, oleo50@hotmail.com
 
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via e-mail, janet.dickelman@gmail.com.