72nd National Convention Schedule of Major Events - August 14th-18th, 2017

Schedule of Major Events


Monday, August 14

  • Welcome Session
  • Volunteer Service Officer Training
  • Education Sessions

Tuesday, August 15

  • Welcome Agenda Review
  • Volunteer Service Officer Training
  • Education Sessions
  • Exhibit Hall - Open to All (10am-6pm)
  • Rules & Credentials Committee Meeting
  • BVA President's Reception

Wednesday, August 16

  • Opening Session
  • Opening Business Meeting
  • Exhibit Hall -Open to All –(10am-6pm)
  • Field Service Update
  • Legislative Update
  • Bylaws & Resolutions Meeting
  • Special Interest Group Meetings (Service Dog Users, Golf, Women Veterans)

Thursday, August 17

  • BVA Forum
  • Father Carroll Lunch
  • Officer Candidate Speeches
  • District Caucus Meetings

Friday, August 18

  • Closing Business Meeting, Bylaws and Resolutions, Elections, Updates on Future Conventions
  • Leadership Training
  • Awards Banquet

NOTE: For all sponsorship opportunities available please visit the Exhibitors and Sponsors page.

Convention Outline of Education Sessions


MONDAY August 14th, 2017


Victor Reader Basic and Advanced Skills

Bill Boules will be leading two sessions covering the basic and advanced skills associated with the Victor Reader Stream device. This device allows for easy access of audio media including books, podcasts, web radio stations and more. This is a great single portable audio playback device that does not require the use of a PC.

Veteran Owned Small Businesses

This session will allow veterans to discover the opportunities available to them through owning a veteran small business. Funding opportunities, outreach ideas, and the policies and procedures required to receive VA funding for a small business will all be covered in this session.

How to Engage your Community

BVA Associate Director of Conventions and Projects Christina Hitchcock and Assistant Chelsey Dumond will lead a session on various tools to engage in your community. The session will discuss how to set up a White Cane Awareness day and instruct participants on how to conduct Blind Sensitivity Training in their communities.

Dealing with Change to Vision Impairment

Larry Bustetter President of the Southern California Regional Group will lead a hands on session covering the topic of Dealing with Change to Vision Impairment. Participants will discuss changes due to vision impairment that can affect an individual’s career and/or lifestyle. They will also assess their personal receptiveness to change through a 3-dimensional application.

Examining the Communication Challenges for the Visually Impaired

Larry Bustetter President of the Southern California Regional Group will discuss with participants the communication challenges faced by the visually impaired. Basic effective communication skills will be reviewed and participants will discover the challenges of effective communication during a highly interactive activity.

Wearable Devices Panel

There are several wearable technologies that offer the blind and visually impaired community assistance and independence. Various exhibitors onsite offering wearable devices will offer a brief description of their product and the benefits it offers to the blind and visually impaired. Attendees will have time for questions and comments during the session and will be able to visit each organization represented in the Exhibit Hall.

TUESDAY August 15th, 2017


Officer Training 1: Secretaries and Treasurers

Successful BVA Regional Group Secretaries and Treasurers will lead this workshop that will discuss the responsibilities of each role and how to keep a regional group in line with the regional group manual. The workshop will discuss all of the requirements a regional group is required to meet and what each officer can be looking for to make sure they stay ahead of the game. Secretaries and Treasurers play a pivotal role in a regional group so this session is imperative to attend.

Officer Training 2: Presidents and Vice Presidents

Presented by BVA Regional Group officers the purpose of the training for Regional Group Presidents and Vice Presidents is to review the role regional group offices play. The session will cover requirements to attend the convention and what needs to be done in order to be considered an active regional group. Participants will work on leadership, communication and organizational skills that will positively impact the regional groups.

Preparing for a Disaster

Attendees of this session will learn the basic skills and knowledge on how to prepare for a disaster. These skills can help those in your community better assist you in a time of need and allow you for the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared.

Deaf/Blind Communication

Mark Armstrong a BVA member from Augusta, Georgia will be leading a session to highlight alert and communication technologies that assist Veterans and others with dual vision and hearing loss to maintain independence. Mobile Technologies, personal and at home alert systems and the tools to overcome difficult communication situations will be discussed in this session.

ABC’s of Regional Group Planning

Larry Bustetter President of the Southern California Regional Group will lead this session to briefly explore the challenge of Regional Group Member Engagement. Attendees will identify challenges with and ways to enhance regional group member engagement, recruitment, and retention while discussing the ABC’s of Strategic planning related to member engagement.

Home Automation

Paul Mimms BVA National Secretary will share his knowledge and experience on Home Automation for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Veterans in attendance will gain knowledge about the possibilities offered by home automation that can enhance their life through voice control. Offerings from Apple, Google, and Amazon are all accessible and can be tailored to the needs of the blind or visually impaired homeowner for security, comfort, and convenience.

Grass Roots Legislation

BVA Director of Government Relations Melanie Brunson will share her knowledge of local and national government and how participants can engage their local and state officials. Participants will learn the process and skills associated with creating a positive change in their community. If you want to improve your local transportation options, petition your local government for audible crosswalk signals, or get advice for a problem you are having in your community this is the session for you.