“The New Coast” Beckons BVA Faithful


Formal Official Notice


Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3b of Article IX (National Convention) of the BVA National Bylaws, all members of the Blinded Veterans Association in good standing are hereby notified that the BVA 72nd National Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville, 225 East Coastline Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32202, from Monday, August 14, through Friday, August 18, 2017.

Periodic updates regarding the convention will be posted regularly to the Convention page on the BVA website.

BVA National Headquarters will host the 72nd National Convention.

BVA members in good standing who wish to vote by proxy may request a special proxy form by writing or calling the Administrative Director at BVA National Headquarters no later than 45 days before the opening day of the 72nd National Convention. Because the convention’s opening day is August 14, the deadline for requesting a proxy form is June 30, 2017.


The historic neighborhood of San Marco Square features fine dining, upscale clothing boutiques, and outstanding art galleries. Nearby Riverfront Park offers city views, especially during the sunset. Also located in the square is Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theater in the country dating back to 1938. Photo courtesy of Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches.

The historic neighborhood of San Marco Square features fine dining, upscale clothing boutiques, and outstanding art galleries. Nearby Riverfront Park offers city views, especially during the sunset. Also located in the square is Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theater in the country dating back to 1938. Photo courtesy of Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches.


In compliance with Section 2c of Article IX, the proxy form must be completed and returned to BVA National Headquarters (Attn: Administrative Director). To be considered valid, the envelope containing the form must be postmarked no later than 21 days before the opening date of the convention. The due date is therefore July 24, 2017.


Preparing to Arrive In Jacksonville


The planning for the BVA 72nd National Convention is well underway and we hope to see you August 14-18 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. Make certain that you contact the hotel and use the code BVA1 to reserve your hotel room. Registration for the convention will be available on May 5. If you would like to have a copy of the registration sent to you as soon as it becomes available, please contact BVA National Headquarters. Registrations can be sent electronically via email or hard copy.

Proposals are currently being received for the 2017 education sessions to be held August 14 and 15. Successful 2016 sessions led by blinded veterans included Windows 10 Training by Phil Faris of the Washington Regional Group and one entitled Paratransit led by Jim Hogan of the Southern California Regional Group. Past National President Dr. Bob Smith, 3rd, of the Minnesota Regional Group also addressed a session, teaching individuals how they can become involved in legislative issues in their local communities.

If you or someone you know is interested in sharing their knowledge with blinded veterans, or if you would like to see any of the education sessions from 2016 repeated in Jacksonville, please contact Christina Hitchcock at chitchcock@bva.org. Suggested topics for 2017 currently include how to prepare for a disaster, Victor Reader Stream training, BVA national legislation, and a session geared toward veteran-owned small businesses.

Advertisements for the 2017 BVA Convention program booklet, provided to every attendee, are now being accepted. Regional groups, other veterans organizations, and organizations of and for the blind are encouraged to share a personalized message with their fellow blinded veterans through a short ad. Program ads are a great way to show your support and encouragement for all those attending the convention.

Regional groups will receive a special discounted rate on all full-page ads for the booklet. In addition to the print version, we intend to offer the program booklet in an electronic format with Voiceye so that it can be emailed or downloaded from the website for use after the convention. When producing your advertisement, please keep in mind that the font size of the text will need to be 14-point or higher, with a half-inch margin around the page.

Please send all advertisements electronically to Christina or Chelsey Dumond (cdumond@bva.org). You may also elect to have your ad created on your behalf by BVA National Headquarters for an additional fee.

For a full list of advertising and sponsorship opportunities, visit the BVA website or contact Christina or Chelsey to receive information via regular postal mail. All advertisements are due by June 14, 2017 and should be paid for in the form of a check made out to BVA 72nd National Convention.


Wayfinding at Hyatt Regency


Courtesy of Macular Degeneration Support, better known as simply MD Support, indoor wayfinding technology can provide assistance to attendees of the BVA 72nd National Convention.

All that is necessary is an iPhone or iPad with the downloaded app LowViz Guide, which enables users to navigate indoors around large meeting spaces and to always take the shortest routes. LowViz facilitates orientation and safety, eliminating frustration with unfamiliar venues.

“Meeting Room 15 is to your right 30 feet” or “Men’s restroom is behind you 55 feet” are the types of instructions users of LowViz Guide will hear at the convention. The user is guided by a combination of positioning algorithms and Bluetooth low-energy beacons. Routing by voice is possible through the use of the smart device’s accessibility feature.

Wayfinding technology is being installed permanently in malls, museums, airports, and subways but LowViz Guide is the first and only system custom made for installation at conferences and seminars.

MD Support will be available to provide technical assistance at the convention but attendee advance preparation will make using the LowViz Guide faster and easier. For important information, visit www.mdsupport.org/audioguide. The page includes a direct download to the App Store, instructions for use, frequently asked questions, an audio/visual demonstration of the app, and articles and audio broadcasts about LowViz Guide.

MD Support is a worldwide nonprofit public service organization founded by retired educator Dan Roberts, who is visually impaired. Its mission since 1995 has been to provide information and support for people who are affected by macular degeneration and similar retinal diseases. Most of the organization’s volunteers are also visually impaired. Their work is supported and guided by a 17-member advisory board made up of leading professionals in the field.


Significant Deadlines And Other Dates


Complying with articles within the BVA National Bylaws, Administrative Director Brigitte Jones distributed notices in January regarding nominations for Certificates of Appreciation, the Maas and Diener Awards, and the David L. Schnair Volunteer Service Award.

She also mailed a reminder to regional group presidents and secretaries on March 20 regarding the due date for submission of bylaw amendments for consideration at the convention.

There was a prior mailing on March 17 to all BVA members in good standing and residing in Districts 5 and 6 (150 days leading up to August 14) that called for nominations for District Director.

  1. April 21*: Mail credentials forms to regional group presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, and treasurer (three copies each, Article XIV, Section 12c).
  2. April 21*: Nominations for BVA Certificates of Appreciation, the Melvin J. Maas and Irving Diener Awards, and the David L. Schnair Service Award all due at national headquarters.
  3. May 5 (no earlier than 100 days before convention): Earliest date to mail pre-registration package and official convention notice to potential attendees. Actual 100-day mark before the convention is May 6, which is a Saturday this year, requiring a May 5 mailing.
  4. Mid-May*: 72nd National Convention pre-registration package prepared and sent to printer.
  5. Mid-May*: 72nd National Convention proxy forms mailed but only by request to national headquarters Administrative Director.
  6. May 17* (no earlier than 90 days before convention): Earliest date to distribute ballots to Districts 5 and 6 (Article VI, Section 3d).
  7. May 17 (no later than 90 days before convention): Envelopes containing proposed bylaw amendments must be directed to national headquarters and postmarked (Article XIX, Section 1b).
  8. May 17 (no earlier than 90 days before convention): Earliest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing (Article XIX, Section 1b).
  9. May 17 (90 days before convention and 60 days following original mail call referred to above): Nominations for regular elections of Directors of Districts 5 and 6.
  10. June 1 (no later than 75 days before convention): Latest date to mail pre-registration official convention notice.
  11. June 6 (no later than 70 days before convention): Latest date for national headquarters to mail ballots for regular elections of Directors of Districts 5 and 6 (Article VI, Section 3d).
  12. June 15*: National headquarters mails annual financial report forms (three copies) to treasurers of regional groups.
  13. June 30 (no later than 45 days before convention): Ballots for regular elections of Directors of Districts 5 and 6 due at national headquarters.
  14. June 30 (no later than 45 days before convention): Latest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing.
  15. July 6 (no later than 40 days before convention): Regional group meeting notices to elect convention delegates must be mailed to group members. A copy of the notice must also be mailed to national headquarters at the same time it is mailed to the group membership.
  16. July 11 (35 days before convention): National headquarters counts election ballots for regular elections of Directors of Districts 5 and 6.
  17. July 24 (21 days before convention): Completed delegate credentials forms and proxy forms must be postmarked no later than midnight.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1924 and located in downtown Jacksonville, is one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the southeastern United States. It is funded and operated as a “cultural resource” of the University of North Florida. Photo courtesy of Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1924 and located in downtown Jacksonville, is one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the southeastern United States. It is funded and operated as a “cultural resource” of the University of North Florida. Photo courtesy of Visit Jacksonville and the Beaches.


Good Standing Requirements


Article XIV of the BVA National Bylaws outlines the criteria by which regional groups are deemed in good standing for national conventions. Groups must accordingly accomplish the following:

  1. Meet at least once during the BVA Fiscal Year July 1-June 30 and submit a copy of the minutes to national headquarters within 60 days of such meetings (Section 13a).
  2. Submit an annual financial statement to the Administrative Director on forms provided for that purpose no later than September 30 (three months following the end of Fiscal Year 2017).

Regional group officers should review the status of their groups to ensure that the aforementioned requirements have been met. Doing so will ensure that all BVA delegations are appropriately seated at the convention.


Delegates, Alternates, Credentials Forms


Article XIV of the BVA National Bylaws specifies that all regional groups intending to send a delegate to Jacksonville must also hold a meeting to elect and instruct the individual.

Groups must inform all of their members in good standing, in writing, of the date, time, location, and purpose of the meeting no later than July 6, 2017. Notice of the meeting must be distributed to the regional group members no fewer than ten days prior to the regional group meeting.

A copy of the notice must be forwarded to BVA National Headquarters at the same time the notice is distributed to the members. Failure to do so will render the group’s delegation unable to receive seating at the convention.

A set of official BVA credentials forms was mailed in triplicate on orange-colored paper to all regional group officers on April 21. The credentials must also be completed in triplicate, which includes a signature and dating of the signature by both the regional group president and regional group secretary. One copy should be provided to the elected delegate. A second copy must be mailed to BVA National Headquarters and postmarked no later than July 24, 2017. A third copy should be placed in the regional group files.

Regional groups must also elect alternate delegates to the national convention at the same meeting. In addition, each regional group to be represented should elect a representative to the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. The representative’s name should be placed in the appropriate blank at the bottom of the second page of the credentials form.

Audio Version Of The New Coast Beckons BVA Faithful