by Kenneth Semien Sr., Durward K. McDaniel Fund Committee Chair
Come along with us on a new leadership journey as we take things higher in 2021! We’re making exciting plans to join in solidarity to celebrate together throughout the 60th annual ACB conference and convention in a virtual setting. If you are an ACB member who has never attended an in-person ACB convention and you meet the criteria below, we invite you to elevate your commitment and participate in ACB’s primary leadership development program. You have the opportunity to attend virtually in 2021 and meet us in person at the ACB conference and convention in Omaha in 2022. Continue reading to get the scoop on how to apply to be considered.
To be eligible for consideration, each applicant must meet specific requirements, which include being age 18 or older; blind or visually impaired; an ACB member in good standing (current on membership dues), and never have attended a previous in-person ACB national conference and convention. Another step of eligibility for applicants will be the expectation of undergoing a 30-minute interview with a team of DKM committee members during mid-April. In addition, two letters must be submitted for each applicant — a letter of application from the interested member and a letter of recommendation from a state or special-interest affiliate president. Applicants are encouraged to be sure that they meet the award criteria before requesting that their affiliate president write and submit a letter of recommendation on their behalf. Your letter of application should begin with your complete name, physical address, email address containing the applicant’s name, along with a home and cell number; then introduce yourself to the committee and include reasons for applying for the award, a brief summary of education and experience related to your community service, contributions to the respective affiliate and/or chapter, and the significance of the First-Timers award to your personal or career development. The letter of recommendation should include the applicant’s leadership contributions and potential.
During 2021, the DKM First-Timers program and ACB will honor recipients by funding the general registration fee, leadership institute, reception, banquet tickets and other activities determined by the committee and ACB’s board of directors. Optional tours and other fun activities are not covered by the program. The responsibilities of each recipient include but are not limited to attending the full week of conference and convention activities from Friday, July 16 through Friday, July 23; participating in daily general sessions and the Keys to the Convention seminar, along with special-interest and committee seminars, while interacting with ACB leaders and fellow members.
The application and supporting letter should be submitted separately (the applicant submits his/her letter of application and the affiliate president submits her/his letter of recommendation) to Kelly Gasque, [email protected], and must be received in the ACB national office no later than April 5th. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The DKM Committee will select the 2021 First-Timers during the latter part of April. Eligible applicants will be notified shortly thereafter. The selection process will conclude with two recipients being awarded as DKM First-Timers — one from east and one from west of the Mississippi River. The DKM Committee reserves the right to recognize two recipients from the east or west if there are no qualified applicants from one of the specified areas. All questions should be sent to DKM Chair Kenneth Semien Sr., [email protected], or dial (409) 866-5838. We look forward to offering support to every applicant in an effort to ensure a rewarding experience.