A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

2016 SWC Convention: The Welcome Party

In SWC convention, Uncategorized on August 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

The SayWhatClub convention in Boise, Idaho was held at the Riverside Hotel from August 3-6th; our theme Basque-ing in Boise!  Boise has the largest Basque population in the United States and one of the planned tours was to the Basque Block.

The convention started off with a bang Wednesday evening with the Welcome Party. Many thanks to the hard work by the convention hospitality crew which was made even more special thanks to Cochlear America sponsoring the event. Below is the Cochlear America team who came to our convention.

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A lot of thought and preparation went into this event.  One of the things we are particularly proud to feature at our Welcome Part was our program book which went full color this year. SWC member Michele Linder put a lot of research and careful consideration each page. We were proud to display SWC member Joyce Conser’s artwork on the front cover depicting the Boise Capitol Building. A new addition to our program book is the SWC Love page.  As a fundraiser members sent in short messages to printed, similar to yearbooks.  The Okonite Company generously printed the program for us. The program will be available on the SWC webpages in the near future.

The program book came with the traditional SWC tote bag. Many members came together the day before to stuff the bags which featured Idaho Spud candy bars in each! Lots of Boise area information was available inside each bag among other things.

Erica Penn (chair of the convention hospitality committee, pictured below) opened the Welcome Party thanking Cochlear America, sharing convention information and inviting everyone to join the fun. Notice the red beret? In keeping with our theme, those who were a part of the convention committee wore a red, Basque styled beret that night to single them out. People were invited to ask the committee members questions about the con. CART services were provided during any speaking parts of the welcome party thanks to Gayl Hardeman who is very much a part of SWC. There was a nice layout of food including the area speciality, steak fingers.

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Then the fun began.

There was a hula hoop contest and were we ever surprised at who stepped up to show off their hooping abilities.

Props were available for taking pictures too which left us with more good memories.

Erica shared her favorite picture from the Welcome Party with her story: One of our long-time members, Maurice posing with a first-time SWC convention attendee, Debbie. They knew each other outside SWC but re-connected in Boise at the Welcome Party! Lovely Maurice is wearing one of the red berets, signifying her as a volunteer for the convention.

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Maurice and Debbie

The fun didn’t end with the welcome party. People gathered in the lobby to chat and catch up or got together in rooms. SWCers aren’t the early to bed types, even if workshops started early the next morning.

More convention posts to follow.

Understanding 

In Accommodations for Deaf, advocating, Coping Skills, Life, Uncategorized on August 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

By: Sara Lundquist

Each summer we have family reunion for my paternal grandfathers side of the family. We had not attended for over a decade until the past 2 years. The reunion is held at a casino. A casino to me is an over stimulus of noise, bright lights, and a major headache. We concentrate so hard to hear and understand that we or myself don’t need these extra distractions. 

Last year was my first year there with children. It had been a very long time since I attended. There were a few people around my age who I was talking to. I had never met these people. I did a horrible job of self advocating. I told no one of my hearing loss. My immediate family of course knew but not anyone else. I was miserable and I really think I kinda made a fool of myself. A few people talked to me with their back turned. I had no idea what they had said, I answered with inappropriate responses. By the look on their faces I made no sense at all. We ended the weekend and I felt like a failure and a fraud. Why couldn’t I be true to myself?  This past year has been one of discovery and meeting others with hearing loss and learning the importance of speaking up for yourself. I ended up contacting a few people from the reunion to tell them of my hearing loss. 

The reunion was held again a month ago. I was looking forward to the time away but kinda dreading the interaction. I knew I could do better. I was going to be true to me. We arrived mid-day took the kids right to the pool. Then one relative I had written was in the pool. I saw her get up and walk up to me and face me as she talked. It was amazing. Why didn’t I say something last year. She asked if that is what I needed. The whole reunion was like this. I spoke up and I had a great time. I even tripled my money at the casino. 

So why do we do the fake nods, answer with generic answers and try to hide. I think we don’t want to seem different.  We don’t want to put people out. In all reality this is crazy everyone want to communicate. They want to be heard and understood. I took that little leap out of my comfort zone. I let people know what I needed and I had a wonderful family reunion. I have learned that this baby steps, and I am getting there. When I look at last year to this year it is completely night and day. 

Boise or Bust!

In Deafness, Hearing Loss, Travel on July 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm

By Michele Linder

Many SWCers are gearing up for travel or are already on their way to Boise, Idaho, our convention city, where we’ll be Basque-ing in Boise from August 4th – 6th.  I think I’m the first to have arrived!!  I’m a day earlier than expected, but the hotel graciously extended my reservation and gave me the convention rate.

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I went for an early morning bike ride this morning, and the picture above is a shot of our hotel, The Riverside Hotel, right on the Greenway.  I rode quite a long ways on the southwest side of the river.  There was a lot of construction along the way, apartment buildings, mobile home parks, and residential areas.  I had to ride on the road for a short distance, twice, but it was in residential areas and not a negative.  I eventually crossed a bridge that followed another branch of the waterway, but the pavement was bumpy from tree-root damage and I turned around.  I’ll check out other parts of the trail later today and tomorrow.  It was a good ride, but probably not the most scenic section of trail.

What was fun was seeing surfers on the river so early this morning (you can see a video on SWC’s public Facebook page…  I almost felt like I was back living in Munich where you can see surfers on the Isar.

I also saw some early morning divers and a few fishermen.  Idaho River Sports is within walking distance from the hotel and they rent just about anything you would want to try. I think I’m going to give the stand-up paddle boards a go.

I can’t wait for the rest of you to arrive… to see old friends and to meet some new SWCers!! Safe travels!  I’ll see you all in Boise!

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