[nfbmi-talk] {Spam?} Opportunities Unlimited for the BlindTheBlind Planet

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Fri Feb 21 20:03:00 UTC 2014

Hi AAmy,

Here are just some payments to OUB from LARA/BSBP last fiscal year.

I have no real issues with anyone in OUB one way or another but when a state 
employee is on the Board of Directors he or she, if a state employee cannot 
steer any money in to that outfit and simply shouldn't be on the Board.

It is patently unethical and in fact goes against LARA's and other state 
agency conflict of interest policies.

Note that most of the state funding comes from education to OUB and they 
don't have anyone from education on the board to my knoledge which is simply 
as it should be.

REGULATORY AFFAIRS for fiscal year 2013

Table with 4 columns and 5 rows
Agency Name
Category Description
Warrant Date
Payments Total
Contractual Services Supplies and Materials
Contractual Services Supplies and Materials
Contractual Services Supplies and Materials
Contractual Services Supplies and Materials
table end

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Amy Shepherd" <amyshepherd at mpvi.org>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 2:36 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] {Spam?} Opportunities Unlimited for the 
BlindTheBlind Planet

> OUB does not receive funding from the BSBP. In the past couple of years 
> they have had Blind students who were placed at Camp T as counselors as 
> part of the BSBP job training/placement program. Their salaries were paid 
> by the BSBP.  It is a valuable collaboration and a good opportunity for 
> Transition aged students to get on the job training and work experience 
> they need.
> Amy Shepherd
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Feb 21, 2014, at 1:58 PM, "joe harcz Comcast" <joeharcz at comcast.net> 
> wrote:
>> He is a state employee on the board of an outfit that is funded in part 
>> by BSBP
>> That is why it is relevent. It is a conflict of interest.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "J.J. Meddaugh" <jj at bestmidi.com>
>> To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 1:44 PM
>> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] {Spam?} Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind 
>> TheBlind Planet
>>> How is this relevant?
>>> Best regards,
>>> J.J.
>>> On 2/17/2014 5:15 PM, joe harcz Comcast wrote:
>>>> Is Essenberg and are other BSBP employees still members of the OUB 
>>>> Board?
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Larry Posont" 
>>>> <president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>
>>>> To: "nfbmi List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>>> Sent: Monday, February 17, 2014 4:47 PM
>>>> Subject: [nfbmi-talk] {Spam?} Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind 
>>>> TheBlind Planet
>>>>> The Blind Planet
>>>>> February 2014
>>>>> OUB is a charitable nonprofit organization under Section 501c3. We
>>>>> gladly accept your generous donations!
>>>>> Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind's mission is to enrich the
>>>>> quality of life of people who are blind and visually impaired through
>>>>> lifelong education and recreation.
>>>>> Breaking News!
>>>>> Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind is now partnering with four
>>>>> organizations to provide great experiences for children, youth and
>>>>> adults with blindness or visual impairment!  Our new camp home is
>>>>> Indian Trails Camp in Grand Rapids, and we are working with Michigan
>>>>> Parents of Children with Visual Impairments, the Association for the
>>>>> Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Rapids, and Running Blind, who is
>>>>> sponsoring our fabulous Adventure Trip!  See inside for more details!
>>>>> From your Executive Director, Gwen Botting
>>>>> Happy February, everyone!  Who knew that we were going to have record
>>>>> weather all over the country this winter?
>>>>> If you are having trouble coping with this season's challenges, it
>>>>> might help to imagine our Spring and Summer events and camps, coming
>>>>> very soon!  All of our camps in 2014 are being offered through some
>>>>> great partnerships with Indian Trails Camp (our new camp home),
>>>>> Michigan Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (MPVI), the
>>>>> Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), and Running
>>>>> Blind.
>>>>> Our Spring Fling will be a lovely weekend at ITC spent in nature,
>>>>> enjoying each other and the music of our feathered friends and blind
>>>>> and visually impaired campers!  So find your dancing shoes and come on
>>>>> out for a great time!  Also coming soon is our Michigan Parents of
>>>>> Children with Visual Impairments (MPVI) Family Camp weekend, where one
>>>>> of our activities will be to install our new garden - requiring
>>>>> woodworking as well as gardening, and we want everyone to have a
>>>>> chance with a hammer and a shovel!  Previous experience not required!
>>>>> We also have a completely new camp, Blindness Immersion, that is a
>>>>> 2-week camp, or you can come to just the first week or just the second
>>>>> - whatever fits your life and your schedule.  Blindness Immersion is
>>>>> just that - all things blind!  Music, art, cooking, daily living
>>>>> skills, sports, nature - everything will be offered both weeks of
>>>>> camp.  If you are 14 or older and want to take part in the Association
>>>>> for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Summer in the City program,
>>>>> never fear!  We are currently working things out with ABVI so that you
>>>>> can attend BOTH programs, and making transportation easier for your
>>>>> family!  It's going to be an awesome opportunity!  We end the season
>>>>> with two fantastic camps:  Survivor Art Camp, focusing on survival
>>>>> skills at Camp Optimist and on exploring the art community in Grand
>>>>> Rapids, and our Running Blind Adventure Camp, sponsored by Running
>>>>> Blind, an organization dedicated to fostering athletic endeavors for
>>>>> blind and visually impaired persons.  THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST
>>>>> AWESOME ADVENTURE TRIP EVER!  Sign up soon, because, for only $200 per
>>>>> camper, this trip is available to ONLY the first 15 campers to
>>>>> register!
>>>>> There is a lot coming up, and you can help and have fun by attending
>>>>> our fundraiser, Bowling Blast!  This event will be held this coming
>>>>> Sunday, February 16. See flyer inside for more details!  You can also
>>>>> check out Indian Trails camp this weekend - see flyer for their Snow
>>>>> Ball Dance!
>>>>> Looking forward to seeing YOU at camp!
>>>>> Gwen
>>>>> Winter Bowling Blast
>>>>> Please mark your calendars for this exciting event:
>>>>> Sunday, February 16
>>>>> 2:00pm
>>>>> Park Center Lanes, 2222 28th St SW Wyoming, Michigan
>>>>> For $20 you get to bowl three games, includes shoes, 2 slices of pizza
>>>>> and a pop. If you are not a bowler, join us for the Silent Auction
>>>>> Sponsored by: Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind
>>>>> 2014 Camp and Event Schedule
>>>>> Locations:  Indian Trails Camp, 1859 Lake Michigan Drive, Grand 
>>>>> Rapids, MI
>>>>>         Camp Optimist, 10324 Lovers Lane NW, Grand Rapids, MI
>>>>>         Camp-in-a-Box, Beaver Island and Lake Charlevoix, MI
>>>>> Date Event Location
>>>>> Jan 17-19 Snow Much Fun (family event) Indian Trails
>>>>> April 4-6 Spring Fling (family event) Indian Trails
>>>>> May 16-18 MPVI Family Camp/Open House Indian Trails and Camp O
>>>>> May 27- June 1 Staff Training with ITC staff ITC and Camp O
>>>>> June 4 - 8 Specialized Staff Training for OUB staff ITC and Camp O
>>>>> June 8 - 14 Tech Camp (Adults 18 and over) ITC and Camp O
>>>>> June 15 - 22 Blindness Immersion (Ages 7-HS)* ITC and Camp O
>>>>> June 22 - 28 Blindness Immersion (Ages 7-HS)* ITC and Camp O
>>>>> June 29 -  5 ------off------no camp
>>>>> July 6 - 12 Survivor Art Camp (Ages 12-HS)** Camp O only
>>>>> July 13-23 Running Blind Adventure Camp (Ages 12- HS)** Beaver Is,
>>>>> Lake Charlevoix
>>>>> October 24-26 Harvest Festival (family event) ITC and Camp O
>>>>> *campers may attend either or both weeks of Blindness Immersion Camp.
>>>>> Campers do not need to return home over the weekend between the two
>>>>> weeks of camp.
>>>>> **participants in Survivor Art may stay with us for the Adventure Trip
>>>>> without returning home in between camps - but they will be expected to
>>>>> help us pack!!!
>>>>> Join us for a great experience - fun and learning and friendships
>>>>> all-in-one package:
>>>>> OUB Camps!
>>>>> Camp Descriptions - Everything you want to know!*
>>>>> *if we missed something, please call, email, or check out our website,
>>>>> www.oubmichigan.org
>>>>> Snow Much Fun January 17-19 - This was our first event at Indian
>>>>> Trails Camp and it was SO MUCH FUN!  We "got lost" on a nature walk,
>>>>> made cardboard sleds, creatures out of vegetables and gingerbread
>>>>> houses, played games, ate s'mores and had hot chocolate, sat by the
>>>>> fire and had a great time!  Indian Trails is a great camp for us!
>>>>> Spring Fling April 4-6 - Don't miss this fun family event with nature
>>>>> exploration, music, crafts, dancing, an auction and so much more!
>>>>> Held at Indian Trails Camp.  Cost: $75 per family of 4, $20 each extra
>>>>> person.
>>>>> MPVI Family Camp/ Open House May 16-18 - We love Family Camp! MPVI
>>>>> co-sponsors this camp which will give families a great opportunity to
>>>>> explore both ITC and Camp Optimist, help put in our new garden at Camp
>>>>> O, and just relax and have fun together, play games, do special crafts
>>>>> designed just for you, and learn from each other. Held at ITC and Camp
>>>>> O. Cost: $75 per family of 4, $20 each extra person.
>>>>> Staff Training May 27-June 1 and June 4-8 - for those of you who are
>>>>> considering applying to work as a camp counselor this summer, consider
>>>>> working for OUB!  Staff training will be held with ITC staff May 27 -
>>>>> June 1 and with OUB staff only from June 4-8.  Held at ITC and Camp O.
>>>>> Tech Camp June 8 - 14 - for adults only (18 and over).  This camp is
>>>>> for adults of any age who enjoy meeting others with blindness or
>>>>> visual impairment, like to have fun, and want to learn more about the
>>>>> latest in technical improvements and help with those they already own.
>>>>> Brush up on your cooking and life skills, too!  Experts in the field
>>>>> will lead classes, and fun activities will be planned for the
>>>>> evenings.  All meals included. Held at ITC and Camp O.   Cost: $500
>>>>> per person.  Hint: talk with your BSBP counselor about helping you
>>>>> attend this camp!
>>>>> Blindness Immersion June 15-28 (ages 7 - HS)  or June 15-21 or June
>>>>> 22-28.  This camp includes - well - EVERYTHING!  Music, drama, art,
>>>>> cooking, like skills, sports, field trips (even a baseball game!),
>>>>> campfires, swimming (in a pool!), boating, singing silly songs - all
>>>>> things blind, all the time!  Come to one week or both. SPECIAL
>>>>> ARRANGEMENT: for those students who are 14 and over who would like to
>>>>> attend the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Summer in
>>>>> the City Program, we are currently working out details to make it
>>>>> possible to do BOTH - OUB will provide transportation to and from this
>>>>> great program in Grandville, and participants can then come back to
>>>>> Indian Trails to participate in our evening and weekend activities,
>>>>> including overnight accommodations and meals.  For more information on
>>>>> Blindness Immersion or the Special Arrangement, please call Gwen at
>>>>> 989-855-2430. For information about Summer in the City, contact Amy
>>>>> Schreiner at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired at
>>>>> 616-458-1187 extension 332. Held at ITC and Camp O.  Cost: $1200 per
>>>>> week or $2000 for 2-week camp.  Reduced rates based on ability to pay.
>>>>> Scholarships available.  Blindness Immersion/Summer in the City
>>>>> rates: $300 per week or $500 for two weeks.
>>>>> Survivor Art Camp July 6-12 (ages 12-HS)  In this exciting reboot of
>>>>> our wild and crazy new camp of 2013, Survivor Art Camp will be held at
>>>>> Camp Optimist, learning survival skills, sleeping in tents,
>>>>> participating in crazy challenges, cooking all of our own meals but
>>>>> also taking field trips to explore and do extremely cool 3-dimensional
>>>>> art with experienced artists in the Grand Rapids community. Held at
>>>>> Camp O.  Cost: $1200.  Reduced rates available based on ability to
>>>>> pay. Scholarships available.  Special Rate: for participants in
>>>>> Survivor Art and Running Blind Adventure Camp, two-camp (2 1/2 weeks)
>>>>> special rate is $600!  What a deal!
>>>>> Running Blind Adventure Camp July 13-23 (ages 12-HS)  THE ADVENTURE OF
>>>>> A LIFETIME!  5 days on Beaver Island and 5 days at Lake Charlevoix,
>>>>> all sponsored by Running Blind!  Hop on one of our camp vans on July
>>>>> 13 for the ferry to Beaver Island, spend 5 days there exploring and
>>>>> camping, swimming and whatever else we can cook up, and then go back
>>>>> to the mainland for 5 days of adventures including Fort Mackinaw, zip
>>>>> lining, canoeing, track and field challenges, backyard barbeques and
>>>>> even parasailing!  (That is, being lifted up on a giant kite over the
>>>>> water behind a boat!  All events are with professional organizations
>>>>> and are inspected and safe!)  You will NOT want to miss this! With
>>>>> the financial and organizational support of Running Blind, we can
>>>>> offer this camp for only $200!  Limited to first 15 participants.
>>>>> Held at Beaver Island and Camp Whiting and various locations in NW MI
>>>>> Lower peninsula.  Cost: $200 Special Rate: for participants in
>>>>> Survivor Art and Running Blind Adventure Camp, two-camp (2 1/2 weeks)
>>>>> special rate is $600!  What a deal!
>>>>> Harvest Festival  October 24-26 It might be hard to think of the fall
>>>>> of 2014 right now, but plan on taking part in our Harvest Festival
>>>>> family event at ITC and Camp O.  See what our new garden produced for
>>>>> us over the summer!  Held at ITC and Camp O.  Cost: $75 per family of
>>>>> 4, $20 each extra person.
>>>>> Pricing our camps - why so many options?
>>>>> We are trying a new pricing structure this summer.  $1200 per week
>>>>> might sound like a lot, but we run small camps with a lot of staff to
>>>>> get a nearly one-to-one ratio of campers to staff.  We find our kids
>>>>> learn best this way.  We also have to pay a little more to hold camps
>>>>> at Indian Trails than in our previous location.  $1200 is what it
>>>>> actually costs us to produce camps for your kids.  We know that, for
>>>>> some families, paying $1200 may be what they can choose to do. But
>>>>> for most, that much is out of the question.  So we are offering a $600
>>>>> half price option, and we are offering that rate for those of you who
>>>>> get scholarships from the State of Michigan Department of Education
>>>>> Trust Fund.  That will allow you who qualify for those scholarships to
>>>>> come to at least two camps for free.  For those who DO NOT qualify for
>>>>> MDE-LIO scholarships, but cannot afford $600, we have a third option.
>>>>> We will accept $200 from you, but we ask that you try to get
>>>>> scholarship money from other sources to make up the difference. All
>>>>> you have to do is write letters to local service organizations in your
>>>>> area, and send me a copy to show me that you asked for assistance.  A
>>>>> sample letter is included in this newsletter!  BUT HERE'S THE CATCH!!!
>>>>> A lot of service groups like Lions Clubs don't meet in the summer!  If
>>>>> you plan to ask for scholarship assistance, you need to do it NOW!
>>>>> Better yet, ask your child to help you with the letter, so that they
>>>>> begin to understand the process of politely asking for help from
>>>>> groups that like to help others.  It always helps if you are willing
>>>>> to share your child's story with the group you are asking for funds
>>>>> SPECIAL DEAL #1: Partnerships are allowing us to offer some camps for
>>>>> extraordinarily low rates!  If you live in the Grand Rapids Area and
>>>>> your child is 14 or older, you may have heard of the STEPS program
>>>>> offered by the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the
>>>>> Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, or their two-week (Monday
>>>>> through Thursday) summer program called Summer in the City. This
>>>>> program offers lots of experiences with cooking, managing money,
>>>>> taking public transportation and other important skills under the
>>>>> watchful eye of Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists and
>>>>> Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists.  This is a really great
>>>>> program with a terrific track record.  The only problem is, for some
>>>>> families, that parents often have to provide transportation both to
>>>>> and from this program 4 days a week for two weeks.  HERE'S THE SPECIAL
>>>>> DEAL:  Your blind or visually impaired teenager can come to Blindness
>>>>> Immersion Camp at Indian Trails AND to Summer in the City.  Your
>>>>> student can stay with us overnight, have breakfast at Indian Trails,
>>>>> then we will provide transportation to the SITC program, pick them up
>>>>> in the afternoon, and they can stay with us and participate in all of
>>>>> our evening activities.  They can also stay THROUGH THE WEEKEND, June
>>>>> 20-22.  The cost is only $300 for one week or $500 if participating in
>>>>> both weeks.  WE hope you like this new option that will help more kids
>>>>> participate in both SITC and OUB CAMPS!
>>>>> SPECIAL DEAL #2:  Running Blind, and organization dedicated to
>>>>> fostering athletic endeavors with people who are blind or visually
>>>>> impaired, is sponsoring our RUNNING BLIND ADVENTURE TRIP.  This is a
>>>>> totally awesome combination - our great staff and programming ideas
>>>>> partnered with Hal Wolf and his ability to organize and fund events
>>>>> that he is passionate about.  Entirely due to this passion and
>>>>> generosity, the cost to any camper attending this 11-day camp is only
>>>>> $200.  Again, DO NOT DELAY.  Open only to the first 15 registrants!
>>>>> This camp will fill fast!
>>>>> SPECIAL DEAL #3: For those of you 12 and older who are REALLY into
>>>>> Adventure, you can attend BOTH Survivor Art Camp AND the Running Bli
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