NFB State and National Conventions
Annual state and national conventions of the National Federation of the Blind are
the largest meetings of the blind (or of persons with any disabilities) to be held
anywhere in the world. The convention is the supreme authority and policy-making
body of the National Federation of the Blind and is the voice of the nation's blind.
Resolutions and policy statements are considered in plenary sessions throughout
the convention period, (One week for national conventions, or a period of 1 to four
days for NFB state conventions.) Decisions in the Federation are made by the blind
themselves. NFB's elected leaders at all levels (local, state, and national) are
blind, as is the vast majority of the membership. NFB is thus the collective voice
of the nation's blind. Convention attendees include deligates and guests from all
fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and numerous foreign countries.
Most of those who attend are blind. NFB conventions give government representatives,
agency administrators, and leaders in politics, business, and industry the opportunity
to address and respond to a large nationwide audience primarily of individuals who
are blind or visually impaired. The topics of interest include: relevant civil rights
issues; rehabilitation of the blind for competitive employment; the operation of
vending facilities by blind persons on public property; specialized library services
for the blind; Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs; advancements
in technology; the organization and funding of federal programs; and other timely
topics. Legislative proposals, new laws, administrative policy, and program changes
are all considered during the convention. Every year’s state or national convention
is an absolutely unique event. The agenda items, the exhibits, the new friends and
business acquaintances: all these give each convention its own character and significance.
Some activities lend a luster to the convention in part because they do take place
every year and provide helpful fixed points in the whirl of events. In this category
are the meetings of the Resolutions Committee, and the board of Directors, the annual
banquet, and the many seminars and workshops of the various divisions and committees.
During the week of our national convention children between the ages of six weeks
and twelve years are invited to join in the fun and festivities of NFB Camp. Child
care at state conventions may or may not be offered and is a less organized convention
activity. Thus it is the primary responsibility of the parents to arrange for this
service to be provided during an NFB state convention. Much depends on the state
affiliate's abillity to provide childcare and the availability of funding and staf
to offer this service to parents attending the convention with young children. Check
with your affiliate's president or state division of the National Organization of
Parents of Blind Children, (NOPBC) provided your state has one.
NFB Camp offers more than just childcare; it is an opportunity for the blind and
sighted children of convention attendees to meet and develop lifelong friendships.
The activity schedule is filled with games, crafts, outings to local attractions,
and special performances designed to entertain, educate, and delight.
All attending state or national conventions are encouraged to register. The registration
fee is set by the affiliate hosting the convention. and Likewise registration is
open at specified times during the convention; usually when the convention is not
in general session. It also assures attendees will qualify for the special hotel
room rates we've gotten throughout the years. An increasing number of NFB affiliates
and the national organization now permit attendies to preregister on-line to receive
reduced rates and to avoid the long registration lines that tend to occur, particularly
during the national convention. Convention registration enables us to verrify that
you are attending the NFB Convention, and are entitled to our special room rates.
Otherwise all who attend the convention must register in person!.
During convention registration you will receive a name tag you must wear at all
times during the convention as additional proof that you are attending a state or
National convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Preregistrants, and
those registering at the convention can purchess banquet tickets, and obtain the
full convention program for the entire week. These programs are made available in
print, and Braille and in some cases can be downloaded from the affiliate's Web
Site if they have one or received via E-mail. This is also a great time to sign
up for convention tours if offered by the host affiliate, unless you have done so
prior to coming to the convention.
Our convention tours give you the opportunity to learn about the local traditions,
lifestyles, and culture of the area of our convention site besides giving you the
chance to take a break from the hustle, and bustle of convention activities, and
to get a second wind before the remaining convention agenda. Information regarding
tours planned for national convention are available in specific Issues of The Braille
Monitor prior to the convention, and make it possible for you to plan your site
seeing, and sign up for tours prior to coming to the convention. Check with your
state affiliate's president or designated person for the availability of tours being
offered by the host affiliate.
Our various Committee, Division, meetings, and other convention activities are held
in different rooms in the headquarters hotel, and in other facilities depending
on the availability of space, and the nature of the activity. Plenary sessions are
usually held in the hotel's Grand Ballroom located in the headquarters Hotel beginning
on the fourth day of the national convention, or on the second day of state conventions.
They will continue through the last day of the convention. During these sessions,
all attendees assemble in state or chapter delegations much like a political convention.
The convention includes a large, well-attended banquet usually held in the Grand
Ballroom at the headquarters Hotel beginning at 7:00 p.m., on the evening of the
fifth day of the national convention and at specified times and places during NFB
state conventions. The banquet's program for the evening will feature an address
by NFB President, Marc Maurer. or by the NFB national representative attending a
state convention. The banquet is the high point, of an NFB state or national convention.
The President or national representative in his or her address reviews our past
accomplishments, our present status, and the outlook for the future. The NFB President's
annual banquet addresses are moving and highly regarded. Several have been published
in Vital Speeches of the Day. The banquet program also includes the presentation
of scholarships to outstanding blind students along with many other awards, and
special recognissions. Further information about scholarships available from the
NFB can be found on our Scholarship Information page.
To help those planning to attend our annual state and national conventions, and
other national events we have created this Convention information Area of our Web
Site to assist those planning to attend our conventions.
There are links to additional information about NFB and NFB of South Dakota Conventions
on the lefthand side of the page that will be of interest to those wishing to attend
an NFB state or national Convention. They deal with particular aspects of our conventions
and offer tips for getting the most out of this life-changing event.
NFB conventions, particularly the national convention can be an over whelming experience
for those attending for the first time. The link below leads to information which
will be of interest to individuals attending their first ever National Federation
of the Blind convention. The first link in the list below will take you to the conventions
area of our national Web Site where you can learn about past NFB national and state
conventions as well as obtain additional information concerning the up-coming national
convention not featured on this Web Site.