Countdown to Convention

by Janet Dickelman

By the time you read this, there will be approximately 60 days until the 2012 conference and convention. I hope you are looking forward to Louisville as much as I am.  Have you made your plans yet?

Join the fun beginning Friday, July 6th and ending with our final tour on Saturday, July 14th.  There are two towers at the Galt House: the Suites (east) Tower and the Rivue (west) Tower with standard rooms. Suites are $105 per night; standard rooms are $85. This does not include applicable taxes. When you make your reservation, one night's stay will be charged to your credit card.  Reservations for the 2012 convention can be made via phone or online. To make your reservations via phone, call 1-800-843-4258. Make sure to mention you are with the ACB convention.  You can also reserve a room online at

General sessions and exhibits are located on the second floor of the Suites Tower. Approximately 75 percent of the meeting space is also in this tower. The west tower has meeting space on the first and third floors. There is a walkway between the towers.

During convention week you can enjoy an endless array of workshops, seminars and programs.  If you are a teacher or rehabilitation counselor, if you are looking for a new job, if you use technology or can use new tips and ideas to improve your professional or everyday life, the 2012 ACB conference and convention is where you want to be. Check with your employer regarding continuing education credits or financial assistance to attend the conference and convention.

Below is a sampling of what each day will offer.  Program information is not yet complete as I write this, so please keep in mind that this information is subject to change.
To save space, most groups are mentioned only on the first day of their programming; additional days are shown in parentheses.

** Friday, July 6th

ACB Leadership Institute
Churchill Downs Backstretch Breakfast & Behind the Scenes Tour
Kentucky Bourbon Trail (lunch included)
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Stephen Foster Story

** Saturday, July 7

Exhibits open 1 p.m. (through Thursday, July 12th at 1 p.m.)
ACB pre-convention board meeting
Tour of the Kentucky Horse Park & Ride for Hope (lunch included)
City Bus Tour (repeats Sunday morning and afternoon)
My Old Kentucky Lunch Train
ACB Information Access seminar
Keys to the Convention seminar (repeated on Sunday)
Welcome to Louisville Party
Student welcome party (more student activities throughout the week)
Milly's Place Pin Swap (Lions)
(other Lions activities on Wednesday and Thursday)

** Sunday, July 8th

ACB Walk
NABT breakfast and meeting (teachers have other activities through Wednesday)
Special meetings and activities for attorneys (through Tuesday), vendors (also Monday and Tuesday), information technology specialists (through Wednesday), people with low vision (through Wednesday), braille users and supporters of braille (other activities throughout the week)
ACB board of publications meeting
Diabetics lunch and workshop (other activities on Wednesday and Thursday)
ACB environmental access and public relations seminars
ACB opening general session
Mixers for: Government employees (luncheon on Thursday); CCLVI, FIA, and Blind LGBT Pride (all hold events through Thursday)

** Monday, July 9th

IVIE breakfast meeting (entrepreneurs; luncheon on Wednesday, business expo on Thursday)
General session (every morning all week)
ACB Youth Activity Center (all-day fun for kids and teens - through Friday)
Audio Description Project institute and training (through Saturday)
Multicultural lunch and program (Mid-week Jam on Wednesday)
Special meetings and activities for library users (also Wednesday), guide dog users (through Wednesday), musicians (through Wednesday)
Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss lunch and program (also Wednesday session)
ACB Women's Concerns (activities during the week culminating with a breakfast on Friday)
ACB seminars (TBA)
ACB Recreation Zone (through Thursday; healthy and fun options)
ACB afternoon tours (different venues every day; see April "Braille Forum" article for a listing of daily tours)
Tech user groups and product spotlights (through Wednesday)
Evening activities (CCLVI game night, RSVA auction and karaoke, FIA prose and poetry reading, SASI, etc.)

** Tuesday, July 10th

Meetings and activities for people with hearing loss and blind veterans
ACB transportation, schools for the blind, and legislative workshops
International relations workshop and reception
FIA Performing Arts Showcase

** Wednesday, July 11th

ACB employment seminar
ACB auction

** Thursday, July 12th

ACB membership seminar and other workshops
Affiliate presidents' meeting

** Friday, July 13

ACB all-day business session
ACB banquet

** Saturday, July 14th

ACB post-convention board meeting
ACB tours


The ACB conference and convention is a great chance to tell people from all over the country and around the world about your company's products and services. Let us help you customize a package that fits your budget and reaches your audience. You might select advertising in the official program, placing information or promotional items in our registration bags, targeting specific groups with conference newspaper ads, meeting your audience face to face in the exhibit hall, or sponsoring a special service or event.  In order to have your information shown in the convention program, it must be received by May 15th. Contact Margarine Beaman at (512) 921-1625 or via e-mail, The exhibit hall will be one of the most popular places at the 2012 ACB conference and convention. 

As an exhibitor, you will give people from across the United States and from many foreign countries the opportunity to learn about your products and services.  Turn browsers into buyers as attendees give technology a trial run, check out new tutorials or crafts, or shop for products for home, school, work and play.

Are you a company that sells adaptive equipment for the blind or visually impaired? Are you an agency or entity with resources or information of particular interest to ACB members?  Do you represent a guide dog school? Do you operate a business that sells items that would be of interest to our members? Are you an ACB affiliate or special-interest group with items to sell?

Premium booths, tabletop booths, and limited three-day booth packages are available. There are also discounted booth options for visually impaired entrepreneurs and ACB affiliates as well as rebates for vendors that exhibit the entire time the exhibit hall is open. Visit our web site to register, or contact Michael Smitherman, exhibit coordinator, by e-mail,, or by phone at (601) 331-7740. Exhibitor information must also be received by May 15th for inclusion in our program.


Don't forget our newest opportunity, Marketplace.  Are you an entertainer or author with CDs or books to sell?  Do you sell crafts, cosmetics, toys, etc.? Is your affiliate looking for a fundraiser? Do you have information to distribute before a specific general session? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, but just can't handle the long hours in the Exhibit Hall, or you will only be at the convention for one or two days, ACB's new Marketplace is just for you!

Located near the ACB Café and general session, Marketplace is in one of the highest traffic areas in the conference and convention.  Open before each general session begins, Marketplace will be filled with something new and exciting every day. Space is limited; tables will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables are $25 each, and you may reserve space for one or two days only. Sorry, but no food items may be sold at Marketplace. To register for Marketplace, contact Michael Smitherman, or (601) 331-7740.


Share the accomplishments of special people in your local chapter or state or special-interest affiliate by participating in the ACB Heroes section of the 2012 conference and convention program. Information for honoring that special person can be found in my April article or on our web site.

Pre-registration information was provided in the last issue. I'm pleased to announce that Pam Cox will be handling the telephone registrations this year. When pre-registration is up and running, just leave a message on the toll-free number and cheerful and capable Pam will call you back.


Special-interest groups, ACB committees, and others wishing to sponsor programs or activities at the conference and convention should submit all information for the pre-registration form IMMEDIATELY. Program details need to be submitted by May 15. Make all arrangements related to events (reserving space, ordering food or A/V equipment, etc.) with Janet Dickelman.


Keep up with all the latest announcements. Join the acbconvention e-mail list by sending a blank message to

For convention questions or special concerns, contact Janet Dickelman, ACB convention committee chair, at (651) 428-5059, or by e-mail at Or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.