The AFB Leadership Conference with FAER: Sunburned, Well-Fed, and Educated
by Joe Strechay
...And maybe add "A Few Fruity Drinks!" to that title. I am just getting back in the swing of things after a great AFB Leadership Conference with Florida AER in St. Pete Beach, FL. I can tell you that it was hard to get back behind my desk after returning from our beautiful location at the Tradewinds Island Resort. I would prefer to set up my desk on the white sand beach with the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico in front of me.
Still, I was glad to have the opportunity to connect with a number of friends and colleagues at the conference and I contacted them to get their feedback on preconference and conference highlights. Great partners, sponsors, presenters, attendees, and vendors helped make the conference a success.
Here's a short list of some of the sessions held, as well as a quote I picked up about it:
Tara Annis's (AFB) session on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics): "She spoke with confidence, and brought [a] first-person account of her experiences as a person with vision loss who majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. The session was rich with content."
Ike Presley (AFB) continues to awe the crowds with his passion for technology and spreading the word: "His self-proclaimed son-of-a-preacher style got us all revved up during the session."
Mickey Damelio's (Florida State University) orientation & mobility preconference session on Ability Beyond the Horizon: "Mr. Damelio got me excited about the training that he and others are providing in India and developing nations. The project is so impressive, and I look forward to hearing more."
Amy Guerette's (Florida State University) session on the State of Professional Preparation in the U.S.: "The session really highlighted what is happening with our professional preparation programs. I am encouraged by the work that her program and others are doing to prepare future professionals. We need to make an effort to support these programs!"
Darren Burton's (AFB) and Morgan Blubaugh's (AFB) preconference workshop on Apple iDevices was a huge hit: "I was laughing and learning — what a great presentation! I am already using the skills I learned from them."
Dr. Karen Wolffe's (international employment consultant) preconference keynote: "This session jump-started the conference. It reminded me why transition is an area of passion for me." There was also high praise for Dr. Wolffe's session on social skills.
Kevin O'Connor's keynote: "Kevin gave practical information on how to work with a variety of people as a leader." This session received overwhelming recognition from the persons I connected with during and following the conference.
The 2012 Access Award winners were NV Access for their free open-source screenreader, NVDA; Leader Dogs for their Accelerated Mobility Program (a free one-week orientation and mobility in-depth training program for persons with vision loss); Lauren Lieberman for founding Camp Abilities and efforts to create opportunities in sports and in training professionals; and Major League Baseball for providing greater access to America's favorite pastime, baseball, through their MLB.com MLB At Bat app and streaming broadcasts.
Continuing Education Credits
Did you attend and want CEUs (ACVREP or CRCC) for the session you attended? Have you already provided us with your verification sheet with the code words included? Then your next step is filling out your evaluation of the conference and the CEU evaluation.
Join Us Next Year!
Although Darren Burton and I didn't get our chance to fly via the resort's Jetlev-Flyer (a jet pack-like device that uses water propulsion to launch participants up to three stories into the air), we still had a great time at the conference. I hope you'll mark your calendars for the 2013 AFB Leadership Conference, to be held April 18-20 in Chicago, at the Renaissance Downtown. AFB is looking forward to our partnership with Illinois AER. I know I'll be there, and I hope to see you there, too!
Laptop on the beach photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
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