Having not been to a convention in quite some time, it was next to impossible for me to compare this convention with anything in my memory. I did not go in with any expectations and really wasn't sure what I would be able to attend considering the state of my health. I made it to about half of the things I registered for. I streamed portions of general sessions while treating arthritis flares. I nurtured a whole lot of relationships and formed some new ones. I got to do what was most important to me: talk with the Treasury people--and this happened in spite of the fact that the forum was moved up a night and I didn't know. It pays to be in the right place at the right time and to be willing to drop what you're doing if the right opportunity presents itself.
It was a deeply personal thing for me to see Doc Bradley get his award. I nearly missed it between almost not going to convention and almost not going to the banquet. I felt like I was sharing in something amazing. I am in the ACB at all because of Doc; and if I had had an opportunity, I would have said so. At the Seeing Eye breakfast, Lukas Franck talked about tracing who trained dog guide ttrainers... Sitting there in the banquet, I wondered who else was there because of Doc or because of some other person who has been instrumental in my life... Who are those people? I'd kind of like to meet them
I am at a stage in my life where I am sorting out why I go to convention. I discovered this week that being connected to the blind community in some way is important to me. I'm not sure whether it is through ACB business such as what happens in general sessions or whether it is through the kinds of dialogues that happen outside general sessions and inform the way that I live and work in my community. I certainly benefit from the informational presentations. I respect the fact that we need ACB business. I don't think it is wrong to go to convention for other reasons. Sometimes people begin by coming for other reasons and later find their way into ACB business. The organization is certainly big enough for all kinds of people. I learned that this week, too. I'm a very different person now from the person I was last time I was very active in ACB in any way. I'm finding that I need to locate a bit of a new niche for myself. That is ok with me. It will be a learning process; and perhaps that niche needs to be created.