A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

The SWC Convention 2014: Good Times to Come

In SWC convention on April 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

by Chelle George

The SayWhatClub’s Conventions make for a great vacation with a little learning mixed in. Madison, Wisconsin was chosen the chose site this year with a variety of things to do and see.

It all begins July 16th,  a Wednesday evening with the Welcome Party held at the Madison Concourse Hotel from 7 pm-10 pm. People greet old friends, put faces to names and meet new friends. For a number of people, it doesn’t end at 10 when the room closes down but moves to another location to continue our visiting late into night.

Scene from last years Welcome Party

Scene from last years Welcome Party

Thursday morning starts our workshops which are all accommodated with CART (real-time captioning) and a hearing loop.

  • 8:30-9:30 Never Mind, A Family and Friends Event – The pitfalls and pratfalls of communication between hearing people and those with hearing loss presented by John Kinstler and Lisa Zovar
  • 9:30-10:30 The Wisconsin Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing presented by Bette Mentz-Powell and Daniel Millikin. What resources do we provide the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind and people with hearing loss population. How those with hearing loss can advocate for their needs.
  • 10:30-11:00 Break with refreshments
  • 11:00-12:00 An introduction to mindfulness” by Craig Wille, MS, NCSP.  This brief introduction is designed to introduce Mindfulness meditation practice. It includes guided instruction in selected Mindfulness meditation practices, as well as learning and discussion about what Mindfulness is and how to apply it in daily life.
Olbrich Gardens

Olbrich Gardens

Thursday afternoon is open to explore Madison. Visit the beautiful Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Learn more about Madison with the Madison City Tour with fellow SWCers. Visit the Henry Vilas Zoo or explore Downtown Madison because our hotel is in the heart of the city. That evening SWCers are sure to gather in different places in groups for dinner and later come together again socialize until the late hours. A SWC convention is like being with family,

Friday morning begins more workshops:

  • 8:30-9:30 Features the Cochlear Implant companies with their up to date information.
  • 9:30-10:30 How to be Happier in Life and Work by Tina Hallis, Ph.D. Learn scientifically based techniques to increase your ability to thrive at work and in life.
  • 10:30-11:00 Break with refreshments
  • 11:00- 12:00 Future Treatments for Hearing Loss by Dr. Samuel P. Gubbels, assistant professor, UW Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center
  • Break for lunch
  • 2:00-3:00 The SWC Town Hall Meeting where you’ll learn what the SayWhatClub has been doing and what their future plans are. An introduction of the different chair positions and a time to for member input.
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Then it’s time to explore Madison again. Visit the various cheese shops, visit the Geology Museum at the University of Wisconsin or the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Wisconsin is not only famous for their cheese, they are known for their Friday night fish fries as well. There’s sure to be a group of people attending one of the various fish fries in the area. That night, attendees will gather for another night of socializing. Yes, we can’t get enough of visiting with one another.

Saturday morning features the famous Dane County Farmers Market open from 6a-2p where you’ll find lots of fresh produce and more cheese, a different option for breakfast. The Farmers Market is also a great idea for lunch where you can enjoy one of the international food carts.

State Capitol Tour

State Capitol Tour

*Of special note is the Capitol tour which is a group event featuring an oral interpreter at 11:00. Oral interpreters are super easy to lipread and also hard to find.  If you’ve never experienced one before, you’re in for a real treat.  

If you have time leftover, pick up one of the must see area attractions mentioned earlier.

Dane County Farmers Market

Dane County Farmers Market


Make sure you’re back at the hotel in time for the 5:30p opening of the cash bar and the silent auction. There’s plenty of donated items from SWC members much of it handcrafted; paintings, jewelry and crocheted items.  There is usually a few items for hearing loss and a wide variety of other things. It’s entertaining to watch the friendly, competitive bids going on.

Juliette Sterkens, AuD

Juliette Sterkens, AuD


Dinner follows and right after our keynote speaker, Juliette Sterkens AuD will tell us how to successfully advocate for hearing loops in our community. She lives in Wisconsin herself and helped loop over 200 facilities in her area through an initiative called Loop Wisconsin. She helps other communities all across the USA to start their own initiative.

Of course, afterwards SWC members gather one last night before going home. We are tired but we’re also extremely happy and soaking up every bit of fellowship we can before we return to the real world. This is the biggest gathering of all the late nights.


Sunday we all go our own ways with many good memories and a natural high. As sad as we are to say good-by, we still can’t stop smiling. If you’re lucky, you catch a flight out with someone to extend the natural high.

Then we go home and sleep for a week.

Are you ready to register now?  We hope so because we’d really like meet you.  You won’t feel this kind of inclusion in the typical hearing world.  July 16-19, 2014.   Here’s the link to get you started: http://www.saywhatclub.com/events/Madison-Con/Madison-Con.html


  1. I was already looking forward to this year’s SayWhatClub convention in Madison, WI, but after reading this, Chelle, I’m really excited and July can’t get here soon enough.

    If you’ve never attended a SayWhatClub convention you’re in for a treat. SayWhatClubbers are all about socializing and conversation, and they don’t care how you do it — with hearing aids, cochlear implants, lip/speech reading, sign language, assistive listening devices, etc. — only that you participate and feel the love.

    I was very nervous my first convention… not sure what to expect and wondering if I’d be able to communicate effectively with others like me. That nervousness lasted all of a few minutes and very soon any apprehension I had melted away.

    The workshops are great! The outing and sightseeing lots of fun! But the best thing about an SWC Convention is the ease of communication with people who, like you, know exactly the challenges of communication when you can’t hear.

    SWC is my tribe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: