NFB logo and tagline - voice of the Nation's Blind. 'Whozit' is a stylized figure of a person using a long cane. The head of the figure is a yellow-orange crescent-shape, the right arm is red and holds a light gray cane, the left shoulder and right leg are violet, and the left leg is light blue.


Report from the Great Food, Cold Room, Awesome People Convention!

Greetings, to all of the newly elected members of the board of Maine's Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind-Welcome!

Saturday was a great day! We got to know one another, learned about Computer Stuff, Talked Federation history and philosophy, elected new leaders...and some of us old leaders...had a fantastic luncheon and put up with the room not getting warmed up until the afternoon. Thank you for all of your contributions and dedication! The NFB holds Leadership Seminars and each ends up with its own name, according to events of that seminar. Skip and I attended the Eating Seminar, the last one held in Iowa. I suggest we might do the same thing with our conventions and I call this one "The Great Food, Cold Room, Awesome People Convention." (this is selfish because I won't have to remember the year or any numbers if I do it this way.)

I want to write to you all and thank you for being willing to run for positions of leadership in our state organization of the NFB. We had a great day Saturday and I will get more details to you as I get more organized myself (like the number in attendance, the contact info for all the board members, and the number of members). We will also meet by conference call with in the next two weeks, I need to get an accessible copy of the constitution for myself, so I will know what is required of us as far as number of meetings, what makes a quorum, etc.

In the meantime, we can be reading the Braille Monitor and the Presidential Releases on the website to know what our President, Dr. Marc Mauer is setting as his agenda and priority. What is ours in Maine? We have some legislation coming up at the State House next year that dovetails with some of the National work.

This past Saturday at convention, we talked about "the Federation Philosophy" and how that is also an important blindness skill. We listened to other's "stories" and experiences and Ron Gardner under scored that by teaching us the basic messages of the movement. At the end of the meeting, our newly elected First Vice President, Walter Woitasek, promoted getting "Newsline" for Maine and introduced us to some of the issues that the NFB is concerned with, namely, "legal" payment of sub-minimum wages. Walter told us of his work in a sheltered shop and his concern for this new situation (as articulated in the Convention issue of the Braille Monitor). Other issues that were just touched upon but National is addressing are the accessible technology problem with touch screen appliances and electronics and the need for equality of education for our blind children. Ron also taught us about scuba diving and maybe he can come back to Maine for the skiing program at Sunday River Ski Resort!

NFB of Maine's Board was elected by acclamation:
President: Patricia C. Estes of Auburn
1st Vice President: Walter Woitasek of Portland
2nd Vice President: Roger Cusson of Lisbon
Secretary: Dorothy Woitasek of Portland
Treasure: Leon Proctor, Jr. of Lewiston
Board Member: Bobbie LaChance Boubier of Auburn
Board Member: David Van Winkler, Jr. of China

Thank you all for your willingness to make a difference for the blind of Maine and our friends and families.
FYI: Included in the agenda was this final paragraph, just in case you missed it.

"Thank You's! Bobbie LaChance for help with Door Prizes, Roger Cusson with the Braille agendas Judy Cusson and Chris at the registration table, today's speakers for their time and preparation those who donated Door Prizes, , the kind staff at the Fireside Inn, Steve Sawczyn coming in from Minneapolis, Ron and Jan Gardner for coming from Salt Lake City and our patient spouses, family and friends who take an interest in and/or belong to the NFB along with us!"

Some immediate business:
*Getting the official signatories for NFB of Maine's treasury and bonding the Treasurer
*Have a Treasurer's Report
*Send names and addresses of the membership to National by the end of the year
*sharing our own contact info
*I am attending, by phone, the Iris Network Collaborative Outreach call this Wednesday(I will send you the info, Walter)
*We all enjoyed the Computer Stuff that Roger Cusson exhibited and I am asking you, Roger, to make up a list of gadgets that you had there and the most basic purpose of each so that we can have a list to refer to when we might need a tool or resource...please?

I am not very good at "closing the loop" when I give a talk. I either feel talked out, I guess, or just fail to refer to my final comments in my notes. (we can all learn from this!)Saturday we showed the report of the Blind Driver Challenge to introduce the day. When I heard Mark Ricobono address the Utah Convention, he emphasized the metaphor that we can use for awhile(until we get our own cars): Are you the passenger or the driver in your life? I neglected to "close the loop" by referring to this idea. I think it's an important distinction for each one of us. How do we see ourselves? Generally? In particular situations? Am I driving or riding along? Could I expect more of myself? What tools would I need to do that? Could I see myself renting Daytona Race Track?!

We send get well wishes to our new board members, Bobbie and David and thank the Proctors for joining us

Send any comments or suggestions to me. I shall be in touch soon.

Thanks each of you for the great NFB of Maine State Convention!
Patty Estes
207 344 8292

PS To answer your question, Roger, it feels absolutely great to be President, again and am well aware of the responsibility of it. But we shall have fun while we do the work of the Federation and great things will happen in Maine!

"Changing What it Means to be Blind in Maine"

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