Looking Forward to Milwaukee Convention

The Blinded Veterans Association welcomes its members, guests, exhibitors, and volunteers alike to join us for our 71st National Convention . It’s time to start planning your trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 21st-26th, 2016 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center!  This year bids to be our best convention to date, we are seeking more exhibitors, speakers, and professionals in both the veteran and visual impaired communities to share their knowledge.  We also welcome knowledge from you, so don’t be afraid to share ideas about education sessions, devices, and exhibitors that you want to see at your convention. As an organization of blinded veterans helping blinded veterans our goal for this convention is to empower you with the most up to date knowledge, tools, and skills to achieve your goals.

So join us in Milwaukee! Registration will be open in May; if you wish to have a registration packet emailed to you or a hard copy mailed to you or please contact BVA National headquarters.  This year we are seeking more input from our membership as we develop the conference, generating ideas for education sessions and asking those who are confident in their skills to be our instructors.  If there is a device that you have been using and have a good understanding of how it functions and feel confident in teaching others please let us know.  Are you a great iPhone user and know some tricks of the trade then share your secrets with your fellow blinded veterans during half hour workshop.

Sessions will not be limited to just devices, we want you to share what your regional group is doing to be effective in your community, how you are advocating for your fellow blinded veterans, and overcoming challenges.  Per the request of our membership we will be holding officer training during the convention as well as a one hour session on White Cane Awareness Day.  Regional group members are also invited to host workshops on public relations, how to manage financials, and the innovative ways you are connecting with your members.  Share your knowledge with your fellow BVA members so as a whole we can bring more awareness to both the veteran and blind community through advocacy and outreach and together we can empower all blinded veterans.

  Those individuals who are interested in instructing a workshop on a device or another topic should contact the convention manager by the end of February.  Share your knowledge with your fellow blinded veterans! Education sessions and workshops will be held on Monday Tuesday and Friday morning following the closing business meeting. Tuesday will also feature the opening of the exhibit hall, last year the convention hosted its largest number of exhibitors ever, and looks to continue to increase exhibitor numbers in Milwaukee.  BVA Business meetings will close out the week along with the traditional closing Awards Banquet.  The annual Melvin J. Maas, David L. Schnair, Irving Diener, and Certificate of Appreciation awards will be handed out and nominations for these awards are currently being accepted until April 15th, 2016.  Those wishing to submit nominations should contact BVA National headquarters.

This year the BVA National Convention will be kicked off by the first annual, “VIPER Ride,” on August 21st.  VIPER, which stands for Visually Impaired Patriots Experiencing the Road, was the brainstorm of a group of Wisconsin Regional group members who sought to bring back the feeling of the open road to those with visual impairments.

After the kick-off there will be time during the convention to enjoy the city. Popularly known as the backdrop for the show, “Happy Days,” Milwaukee has been selected by the Boston Globe as a must see travel destination for 2016.  Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth largest city in the Midwestern United States, but don’t let its size intimidate you Milwaukee is a beautiful compilation of charm, hospitality, and that small town neighborhood feel. Its easy layout and extensive Para-transit system will make navigating the city a cinch.  Travel to Milwaukee is a breeze; General Mitchell International Airport is a fifteen minute taxi ride away, and for those who prefer to travel via train or bus the station is just two blocks from the hotel.

It has been 50 years since BVA last held a convention in Wisconsin, and we look forward to bringing the 71st National Convention back to the city of Milwaukee and hope that you will join us there.