by Carla Ruschival

... We'll be waiting. The 49th annual conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind is getting bigger and better every day, and it will be good to have you and your entire family with us in the land of sand and sun and fun.

Our fantastic week of programs, exhibits, tours, and fun gets under way on Friday, July 9 with a tour of the Grand Canyon (leaving early that morning) and a delicious dinner and lots of fun at Pinnacle Peak (arrive by late afternoon and still make the tour).

If you live in the Eastern or Central time zone, you can really s-t-r-e-t-c-h time and save money. Since Phoenix is three hours behind East Coast time in the summer, you can hop a flight early in the day and still arrive at the conference and convention in time for early afternoon tours and seminars.

The serious side of the 2010 ACB conference and convention is packed with outstanding workshops, seminars, exhibits, 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 2010 ACB conference and convention is where you want to be.

Begin planning your week with ACB. Below is a sketch of the week's schedule; there's much, much more to come. Pre-registration and the acbconvention e-mail list will include many more events and details. Please note: to save space, most groups are mentioned only on the first day of their programming; additional days are shown in parentheses.

Saturday, July 10

* Exhibits open (through Thursday, July 15)

* ACB Walk

* ACB pre-convention board meeting

* Information technology, seminar

* City tour of Phoenix and at least one more great tour

* Grant-writing seminar (repeated on Tuesday)

* Keys to the Convention seminar (repeated on Sunday)

* Welcome to Phoenix Party

* Milly's Place Pin Swap (blind Lions)

Sunday, July 11

* NABT breakfast and meeting (teachers)

* Special meetings and activities for attorneys (through Tuesday), vendors (also Monday and Tuesday), information technology specialists (through Wednesday), and people with low vision (through Wednesday)

* ACB Board of Publications meeting

* student and scholarship winners lunch (student activities throughout the week)

* Diabetes workshop, women's concerns program (all week), and ACB environmental access seminar

* Diamondbacks baseball game and Phoenix city tour

* Governmental employees, CCLVI, FIA, Newsreelers, and Blind LGBT Pride mixers

* ACB opening keynote general session

Monday, July 12

* IVIE breakfast meeting (entrepreneurs)

* General session (every morning all week)

* ACB Youth Activity Center (all-day fun for kids and teens - through Friday)

* ACB public relations seminar

* ACB Audio Description Project workshop (through Wednesday)

* Multicultural lunch and program (mid-week jam on Wednesday)

* Special meetings and activities for library users (also Wednesday), guide dog users (through Thursday), musicians (through Wednesday), and lesbians and gays (all week)

* AAVL lunch and program (also Wednesday session)

* ACB Recreation Zone (through Thursday; healthy and fun options)

* Hall of Flame and rock-climbing tours

Tuesday, July 13

* ACB transportation and legislative seminars

* Meetings and activities for people with hearing loss

* Stuffington Bear Factory tour

* Special programming for braille users and supporters of braille (also on Thursday), blind veterans, and human service professionals

* International reception

* FIA Performing Arts Showcase

Wednesday, July 14

* ACB employment seminar

* Sweet Tooth candy company tour

* ACB auction

Thursday, July 15

* ACB membership seminar and affiliate presidents' meeting

* ACB Job Fair

* Lions and government employees lunches and business meetings

* ACB Audio Description Project training (through Saturday)

Friday, July 16

* ACB all-day business session

* ACB banquet

Saturday, July 17

* ACB post-convention board meeting

* Late morning/afternoon casino tour

* Dinner theater ("Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat")

Exhibits, Advertising, and Sponsorships: The ACB conference and convention is a great chance to let people from all over the country and around the world know 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 and convention newspaper ads, meeting your audience face to face in the exhibit hall, or sponsoring a special service or event.

Early-bird exhibit discounts close on May 15. Convention sponsorships and advertising must also be received by that date in order to appear in the official program.

For more information on exhibit, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, visit our web site at; or contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 968-4164, or Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625.

ACB Heroes: Remember to share the accomplishments of the special people in your local chapter or state or special-interest affiliate by participating in the ACB Heroes section of the 2010 conference and convention program. Heroes pages will be printed on high-quality paper; pages can include a color photograph of your special person and a short caption about his or her accomplishments. What a wonderful way to honor or memorialize that special person!

Heroes pages must be reserved by May 15. For more information, contact Margarine Beaman at (512) 921-1625, or visit

Scheduling Events: 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 Carla Ruschival.

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

Hotel Reservations: Room rates are $89 per night plus tax. Call the Phoenix Downtown Sheraton Hotel reservations at 1-800-325-3535.

For questions or special concerns, contact Carla Ruschival, ACB conference and convention committee chair, at (502) 897-1472 or by e-mail at, or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.

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