[Nfbc-info] 2009 NFB Youth Slam

Mary Willows mwillows at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 30 02:22:46 UTC 2009

Hey Hoby,
Will you tell the story of your experience at Youth Slam in a panel of 
mentors at the state convention?  It will probably be on Sunday morning.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Henry Wedler" <hobywedler at gmail.com>
To: "NFB of California List" <nfbc-info at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 04, 2009 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: [Nfbc-info] 2009 NFB Youth Slam

> Hi folks,
> I agree completely with what Serena and Bryan said about the 2009 Youth 
> Slam.
> As a mentor, I can honestly say that I witnessed many students grow and 
> realize that the idea that blind people can't do math, science, or 
> engineering is wrong. I talked to a few individuals who told me that 
> before the Youth Slam, they were unsure about majoring in a science in 
> college. At the end of the week, they were excited and ready to compete in 
> the college setting as science and mathematics majors. To me, this 
> embodies the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind.
> I also witnessed students come into the Youth Slam viewing various 
> situations as a burden. These include travel, getting food in the dining 
> hall, and solving some engineering problems. After the Youth Slam, the 
> majority of these students did not see these tasks as burdens but as 
> challenges. This is what makes me confident that the Youth Slam was a 
> success.
> Take care and I hope to see you all at convention!
> Best regards,
> Hoby Wedler
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Bryan Bashin" <bashin at calweb.com>
> To: "NFB of California List" <nfbc-info at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 12:48 PM
> Subject: Re: [Nfbc-info] 2009 NFB Youth Slam
>>I enthusiastically second everything Serena has written about the slam.  I 
>>found that through hard work and imagination we made it bigger and better 
>>than ever.  Kudos to all Californians who volunteered their week to make 
>>this happen.  And let's be very sure that the three young California girls 
>>who were students get invited personally to their local chapters and to 
>>our Newark convention.
>> Best,
>> Bryan
>> At 11:48 AM 8/2/2009, you wrote:
>>>Hello my fellow Californians,
>>>I am a little worse for wear, but my heart is full of pride and my
>>>spirits are high in the wake of this year's NFB Youth Slam at the
>>>University of Maryland.
>>>After two layovers and two separate delays, I returned to Santa
>>>Barbara late last night, five hours late and thoroughly exhausted
>>>after at least eight consecutive days of minimal sleep and all day
>>>activities that kept us constantly on the move.  I rested pretty well
>>>last night and have a little coffee now, so I wanted to share a little
>>>about how it went for those of you that weren't there.
>>>I am happy to report that we had about 8 Californians as mentors and
>>>instructors and three very lovely young ladies from our state, bright,
>>>outgoing, and an asset to our great state and student division!
>>>I was assigned to the Robotics track with two fantastic gals from
>>>Texas and a darling member of the vast Georgia delegation that was
>>>present.  In this track, students learned to program hi-tech Lego
>>>robots with code that would move them in all directions and utilize
>>>their light, sonar, and touch sensors.  Might I add also that of all
>>>five pods on this track, my girls were the sole representatives of the
>>>female of the species.  Not only were they engaged in blind science,
>>>but they are pushing gender stereotypes as well...GO GIRLS!!
>>>In other tracks, students were engaged in Green Living, water
>>>conservation, architecture and design, journalism and media,
>>>self-driving cars, solving crime with forensic science, sports and the
>>>science of body movement and much more!
>>>In the evenings, there was dancing, games, star gazing, yoga, and
>>>more.  One night we all got to try a variety of extreme activities
>>>such as riding a mechanical bull, a bungee trampoline, a tall
>>>waterslide, a velcro sticky wall, a rock climbing wall, and a dunk
>>>tank.  On Wednesday, we spent a day at the National Center for the
>>>Blind in Baltimore, enjoying a press conference regarding litigation
>>>being filed against Baltimore's school districts for failing to
>>>accommodate their blind students, exhibits, workshops, tours of the
>>>Center, trips to the NFB Store, and a showcase of some of our talented
>>>youth.  The week culminated with a gathering at the Lincoln memorial
>>>on Friday to kick off the first-ever Youth March for Independence,
>>>including an address by Ever Lee Harriston, who was in the very same
>>>spot with Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement.  It
>>>poured down rain for a few minutes and everyone got thoroughly soaked,
>>>but it didn't dampen our spirits or deter us from making history--the
>>>sun began to shine brightly as we began the 2 mile march past the
>>>Washington Monument to the Capitol building for a gathering at the
>>>Capitol Visitors Center.  That evening back at the dorms, the students
>>>got a pizza party and danced their booties off with a DJ.  We were all
>>>exhausted, but riding high on an extremely fun and successful week.
>>>By early Saturday morning, the airport shuttle buses began to fill and
>>>the dorms began to empty, bringing another Youth Slam to a successful
>>>close.  By 6:41 AM, Amy Phelps had cried four times, she told me.  All
>>>of us were looking forward to long periods of rest, but without the
>>>tireless efforts of all the staff and coordinators, the drive and
>>>motivation of mentors, the knowledge of instructors and
>>>participitation of the students, it just wouldn't have been so great.
>>>My heartfelt gratitude goes out to each and every one of us that made
>>>it so special--staff, coordinators, mentors, instructors, and students
>>>Dr. Z would be extremely proud of how we have continued to fulfill her
>>>vision of empowering blind youth and developing the next generation of
>>>leaders for our movement.  I strongly encourage you to visit
>>>www.nfbyouthslam.org or www.blindscience.org to learn more.  The Slam
>>>Media track did a fantastic job of reporting on the events and people
>>>of the Slam and at the websites, you'll find blogs, podcasts, and
>>>more, including interviews with me and Chris Downey, an architect from
>>>the East Bay.
>>>Youth Slam 2011 is undoubtedly already in the planning phase, so
>>>please give consideration to sharing your time and energy as a mentor,
>>>instructor, or volunteer at the next Slam, and by all means, if you or
>>>someone you know will be a high school student in summer of 2011,
>>>please come be a part of history, where when people say blind students
>>>are told they can't be engineers, scientists, and athletes, we say
>>>"SLAM THAT!!"
>>>Serena Olsen, MAIPS
>>>Braille Institute, volunteer
>>>National Federation of the Blind, representative
>>>Find me on Facebook!
>>>Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
>>>arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather
>>>to skid in sideways, Grigio in one hand, strawberries in the other,
>>>body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, "Wah Hoo!
>>>What a ride!"
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