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Sunday, October 30, 2011

ALDAcon 2011 Day One

It was a last minute decision for me to attend ALDAcon (the annual convention of the Association of Late Deafened Adults) in Indianapolis. I had never been to an ALDAcon before and I had been holding out because I still felt guilty about being away from my family during my trip to Costa Rica last February. I gradually changed my mind after working on the program book and reading the descriptions about the wonderful events and workshops planned. I realized I would really be missing out and began to wish I had decided differently. Then, a miracle happened. The event's program and planning chairs emailed me and offered me a scholarship to attend in exchange for the hard work I had put in on creating their convention program book. I was thrilled to accept their offer.

I got involved with the program book at the request of Kim Mettache, the planning chair. She is the president of the Northwest Indiana chapter of ALDA which hosted this year's convention in Indianapolis. Kim's group was the chapter which introduced me to ALDA a few years ago. Over time I have become more involved with the Chicago chapter, but I have always stayed in touch with my friends from the Northwest Indiana chapter. Several of them are also members of the Chicago group too. Kim is one of the most energetic, upbeat people you could ever hope to meet. I was glad to be able to help her out even though I had never taken on a project like this before.

Fortunately, I had the assistance of Terri Singer, program chair, who did much of the work herself. My responsibility was for arranging the ads and converting the book into Publisher format for the printers. It sounds easy enough, but in reality it was hundreds of emails, several technical glitches to overcome, and many hours on the computer before the book was complete. Terri told me I really needed to come to the con and see it in the hands of the convention goers. She was right. When I was there and saw people using the book to plan their day's activities, I felt really glad that I had been a part of making it happen.

Capitol Building as seen from my hotel room

I drove down to Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon. I arrived in time to check in, meet my roommate (arranged by Terri), and grab something to eat at the mall attached to the hotel. As I was on my way to the food court, I ran into my good friend Jen and her mom. We joined up and had dinner together. Then afterwards, we all attended a convention sponsored captioned showing of The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. The movie was a light hearted look at three men's attempt to see the most different types of birds in a year. Apparently it's based on a book and is a real competition among birders. I had never heard of it before myself. In the theater I saw several of my ALDA Chicago friends and other people I knew. The captioning was terrific. The theater had moved up their installation of captioning technology to have it ready in time for the convention and generously donated tickets so we attended for free. Bravo, Regal Theaters.

Back at the hotel, I turned in for a good night's sleep and took a moment to contemplate my own Big Year. So much had happened to me since I had joined ALDA Chicago the previous October. Through accepting the position as Social Chair for the group, I had grown as a person. I had organized outings for the group, attended board meetings, learned to navigate and administer their website, and met many new people. I had been to Costa Rica with Discovering Deaf Worlds. I had been chosen as an Oticon Focus on People Awards winner and been to LA. Yes, this has definitely been a Big Year for me. The Association for Late Deafened Adults had been a big part of it so it was only fitting that I ended my year at their convention. I was coming full circle I thought to myself as I drifted off to sleep.

1 comment:

Karen Putz said...

Wish I had seen more of you!!!