"advocating independence, equality and opportunity for the blind"
Western Regional Leadership Conference
October 31 - November 1, 2008
"TAKING THE REINS OF LEADERSHIP"
On October 31, 2008, 27 individuals nominated by their leaders from different ACB state affiliates in the Western Region of the United States gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Washington to attend the Western Regional Leadership Conference. Hawaii delegation was composed of Filo Tu, Myles Tamashiro, Norman Ota and Ronald Flormata. (Warren and Julie Toyama, unfortunately, were unable to attend due to unexpected family tragedy.) Washington Council of the Blind, headed by Cindy Van Winkle and Sue Ammeter organized the conference with the help of some ACB officers as facilitators, notably Mitch Pomerantz and Chris Gray. Members of ACB affilitates fro Alaska, California, Idaho, Hawaii, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Washington particiapted in the Conference. The idea of bringing potential future ACB leaders together for a leadership training was first announced by Warren Toyama during the 2007 Hawaii Association of the Blind Annual Convention. Meticulous planning and preparations took almost two years which culminated in this successful event. HAB President Warren Toyama pitched in $3000 seed money to kick start the Conference.
So, what was discussed at the Conference? WCB, having done this leadership training a number of times in Washington state in the past, spearheaded the preparations and organization. Topics covered advocacy for the blind, history of the blind movement, specifically the ACB, in the country, importance of national conventions, fund raising and promotions. The highlight of the Conference was when the body was divided into 4 groups eash assigned a specific task which an ACB affiliate undertakes. And these were: 1) Preparing Convention Agenda, 2) Public Relations, 3) Membership Brochure, and 4) Preparing a Board Resolution. Each group was supervised by an ACB officer to moderate and guide the group in coming up with the desired output. Results? Each of the 4 groups was able to draft practical and useful documents - something which can actually be implemented when members return to their respective areas. The Resolutions group, for instance, submitted a draft resolution calling for ACB to provide ACB publications in DAISY format, among its currently varied accessible formats. Not only is it timely but also economical as it will save some ACB funds.
Overall, the Conference was a huge success, even surpassing participants' expectations. Pacing was reasobly fast - never giving participants an excuse to doze off even during unholy hours. Discussions were always lively and well participated in. Everybody was ready to voice out his or her opinion just demonsttrating a thriving democracy within the ACB ranks. The true spirit of fellowship was pervasive during all discussions where participants easily and unhesitatingly voiced out comments and suggestions.
This is a precedent ACB activity that should be replicated in the future, perhaps in another region of the country. While we attempt to publish this report on the HAB website, it is never our intent to replace the actual holding of the Conference. You can never substitute the actual dynamics, fellowship, exchange of ideas, networking one can experience by being there yourself. The Web just cannot provide these attributes. What it does is provide an insight on how we were able to conduct a very successful regional leadership seminar where other ACB members would pick up points. For those who were there, this is a great opportunity to go back to the Conference and review the presentations, such as the Fund-raising programs.
Listen to Presentations / Discussion: