[Ohio-talk] The Attendance of General Sessions?

Barb Fohl barbfohl at pobox.com
Sat Jul 18 23:13:11 UTC 2009

Hi Everett,

I'll take a stab at explaining why we require people who ask for assistance 
to attend general sessions.  We don't mean it to be "Hitleresque".  We'd 
love to fund everyone who wants to come and experience a convention, just to 
find out what the Federation is all about.  However, we also need to spend 
our money wisely and make our dollars stretch.  It makes good sense to think 
of our convention assistance as an investment--we are investing in people 
who will give us something back (time and energy) in return for the dollars 
we've given them.  Therefore, we want to give money to people who attend our 
general sessions, sell our candy, work at our table, work in the exhibit 
hall, attend other meetings, Etc.

At the general sessions, you're learning about us as a whole, as opposed to 
our division meetings, where you're just hearing about special interests of 
our organization.  So first timers who have asked for assistance, then, 
would not just HAVE to be at general sessions, but they NEED to be there, so 
they can learn about us and then take that knowledge home with them and use 
it in their chapter activities.  Those of us who aren't first timers and who 
have asked for assistance need to attend the general sessions to keep up 
with current issues and changes--to learn things that may help us, to learn 
things that may help others, and to provide solidarity.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Everett Gavel" <e.gavel at sbcglobal.net>
To: "NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List" <ohio-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 7:03 AM
Subject: Re: [Ohio-talk] The Attendance of General Sessions?

> Hi Colleen, and All,
> Thanks for your response, Colleen.  I'll respond to a couple of points of
> yours:
> 1) I understand that those who are sponsored by the NFB, meaning those who
> get help, get funding to be able to attend, are "expected" to go to 
> general
> sessions and some other meetings.  But that's my question and point of
> clarification.  Instead of making it seem slightly Hitleresque by simply
> saying we need to be there, I'm asking *why,* is all.  It's that simple.
> I've put myself out there by asking this question. Because I heard a
> couple-few grumbles when mentioning it to others during the convention and
> not having a clear answer as to why, other than, "Because we're expected
> to."  So I've gone public with this, in the hopes that somewhere in our
> various leadership throughout the affiliate, we will get some beauty, some
> 'poetic clarity' shared that will help enthuse others towards being more
> involved every day at future conventions.
> Many will read this, I hope.  But even if only a few 'new' minds grasp the
> reasons as to why, at least they can then help others grasp why a bit 
> better
> in the future.  This would get a better response than simply telling
> someone, "Because we need to, that's all," if that makes sense?
> 2)  While I wasn't at convention for a vacation, I understand what you're
> saying.  It'll probably prove out that way with some again this year,
> unfortunately.  I do remember several years ago, one of our chapter 
> members
> who was involved back when it was more convenient for her, and she went to 
> a
> national convention, and seemed to be poolside all week long.  As we know,
> the leadership does tend to take notice of who actually goes to learn and 
> at
> least tries to help out--be it at convention or back in the local chapter 
> or
> both, versus those who basically treat it like a vacation.
> Me, I'm fairly happy with my personal results.  I helped out more this 
> year
> in various volunteering ways than at any previous convention.  Plus I got 
> to
> encourage and help inspire a few different people fairly new to the
> organization.  It was great, and it's what I love doing.  I'm a social 
> sort.
> I love meeting new people, and love adventuring out - even if we do
> occasionally get lost (Hush now, Mr. Payne).  I did channel much of my
> energy towards exactly what you mention, Colleen.  Though I fudged the
> scheduling over the weekend and missed a handful of meetings due to that,
> well, again, I still did better than before, and that's what it's all 
> about.
> I was doing what I could to encourage various conventiongoers, while
> learning and experiencing things myself.  Though I continue to struggle to
> have a week full of 2am nights and 5:30am mornings, I did better this year
> than any year previous.  I'm getting closer to my personal 'goal' of 
> keeping
> up with JW and Richard and socializing in the evenings while still getting
> business done during the day--every day.  I am a very social sort of 
> person.
> I enjoy the 'schmoozing.'  I love meeting new people.  And so to go to bed
> early at conventions is hard.  I did what I could to encourage people from
> Toledo, from Akron, and even a new friend from Chicago who was new to the
> NFB.  And I think she's caught the fever, and is hooked.  She's definitely
> inspired, anyway.  And if things play out the way I hope and pray, she'll 
> be
> working with Marilyn Donehey to start a new chapter in their region, North
> of Chicago.
> So those are a few great reasons why I go, anyway.  To get reinvigorated,
> myself - and to prove to myself that I actually am getting better
> year-by-year.  And to inspire, motivate, and educate others every chance I
> get.  Certainly not for a vacation.  Though when you do so many positive
> things, and end up helping so many people - and bringing back information
> and resources to further help those in your community, Thank You God, it
> ends up feeling rather like a vacation after all.  How great is that?
> Thanks again, Ohio, for letting me be a part of it!
> Strive On!
> Everett
> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> Hi Everett,
>> You do raise a valid point and it disserves an answer.
>> Well it may not alpear that a session will benefit you personally
>> you may learn something that will benefit someone else.  Also,
>> sometimes interspersed with things on the Agenda something might
>> pop up that was shifted from another time.  It's not a matter of
>> having the Delegation filled, it's a matter of learning to share
>> with others.  Personally, I do not do well with Technology but I
>> attend because I might learn something which I can share.  I may
>> not understand everything I hear but I get enough to know who to
>> ask I someone needs my help along the way.
>> It's nice to hear the different states at Roll Call of the
>> States.  It gives us a flavor of the different affiliates and
>> sometimes we even get an idea we can use.  I know I probably came
>> off as a grouch on my last post but I can honestly say in all my
>> years in the NFB I only missed one session and that was because I
>> needed to lie down because I wasn't feeling well.
>> I know some things seem pointless but you never know what you
>> will learn.
>> Also, if you are being sponsored by the NFBO or your local
>> chapter you are expected to attend all beessions and as many
>> activities as you can.  You are representing those people who
>> cannot attend, and, hopefully, you will learn something to share.
>> We do not always enjoy every presentation but that is not the
>> poins.
>> I think that the Presentation of the Bollotin awards was
>> impressive.  This is not because I like to sit through
>> Presentations of Awards but because it is good to know what
>> others are doing.
>> Ray Kurzweil is a pioneer in reading machines and working with
>> Optical Character Recognition.  The first reading machine was
>> huge probably about $80,000 and the size of a washing machine.
>> Everett, do not misunderstand me, I did do some fun things at
>> Conventions.  I still worked booths, and attended all sessions.
>> By the way, this included Conventions where I had a
>> multiply-handicapped child to care for.
>> I am not being critical, I just want people to take
>> responsibility for attending things and learning.
>> Everett, you have a lot of energy.  I would like to see you
>> channel that into getting people to meetings and getting them to
>> work on things.  If you put all that energy to good use at a
>> Convention think what you could do.
>> I hope that all of us will make a concerted effort to be better
>> stewards of our time and the Affiliate's money at future
>> Conventions.
>> It's not fair that just a few people help at tables and at the
>> Exhibit Hall.  It is true that I didn't help this year but I did
>> not arrive until Tuesday at 11-30 a.m.
>> See you at the NFBO Convention.
>> Colleen Roth
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