Here is part two of meet the SWC convention committee. For more information on our convention, go to our website: http://www.saywhatclub.com/boise-2016/
Meet our vice chair for the Boise Con, Marty Mattox-Baker. She’s been with the SayWhatClub since June of 1999 and when we asked her what she liked best about the SWC, she said “friendship and support”.
What do you like best about SWC conventions?
“The convention is a time to see each other face to face. I enjoy seeing friends both from the past and new ones. I also enjoy the workshops and learning what is available.”
Marty has worked with the convention committee five times, making Boise #6. She worked on the committee in 2000/San Diego, 2001/Chicago, 2013/Williamsburg, 2014/Madison and 2015/San Antonio helping with registration, hospitality and PR. In the last few years she’s put a lot of time and effort into our silent auction.
What’s your goal for the SWC Boise 2016 convention?
“Goals for next year are trying to improve the silent auction. This will be done by adding days for people to see the items so they can bid on them as much as wanted. It also will free some time up at the banquet for the volunteers who help with the auction and attendees can relax and enjoy the banquet.”
Meet Michele Linder who has helped us tremendously this year with the convention website. She’s been with the SWC since April 2008. She says, “I found SWC, by reading an Online Voices (the SWC newsletter) article someone had posted on their blog, at a time when I was very lost and floundering. I was looking for answers.”
What do you like about SWC?
“Many things, but the thing I like most about SWC is finding others just like me. It’s soul-soothing to discover you’re not alone and there are others out there who know exactly what you face every day with hearing loss. I cried the entire first week of joining Connect, my home list. The second thing I like most about SWC is how confidence-building this group is. We gain knowledge from others who are in a good place and have learned a thing or two. That leads us down the same path and we pass it on to the next person who is in search of something, then before you know it seven or eight years pass and by helping others, you’ve helped yourself tenfold.
Michele recently updated and improved our convention website (link above). She maintains and updates the convention web pages in a dual role between the convention committee and web committee for SWC. She organizes the content for easy browsing, thoroughly researches area attractions for our entertainment and provides information on transportation. She says, “We’ve put together some great information this year to pique everyone’s interest, which we hope will translate into a great turnout.”
How many years have you volunteered for the convention committee?
This is the first year I’ve helped out officially, but I’ve always tried to help make those who aren’t able to attend the con feel more connected, as I always felt like I was missing out on the fun those years I wasn’t able to make it. So, during the conventions I can attend, I take a lot of pictures and share them to our SWC Facebook page and I also share photos that others have taken (with permission), as well as write for the SWC blog about convention happenings as they’re going on.
What do the conventions mean to you?
“The first few years of belonging to the SWC, I wasn’t able to attend the convention because of conflicting dates, but in 2011 I finally made it to Baltimore and had a great time. I got to meet so many of the friends I had made online and was amazed that we all liked each other in person as much as we did online. LOL There’s nothing like socializing with SWCers. We’re very diverse in how we choose to ‘hear’, but no matter what tools a person uses to understand and communicate in the world, they will be welcomed and encouraged.
You really learn a lot about yourself at a hearing loss convention and I was surprised that first year to realize how awful I was at giving the accommodation I needed. I also found it funny that everyone was looking for the sweet spot for lipreading…. I actually laughed out loud at the Welcome Party in 2011 when we were coming to order for the address, as everyone immediately headed to the same spot for the best view of the speaker!
I’ve attended two other conventions – Madison in 2014 and San Antonio in 2015 – and each time I realized how special our little group is. SWC usually begins as a support for someone who needs help, and quickly turns into the best source of hearing loss information via firsthand experience from those who know what works and what doesn’t, what to ask, ways to cope, options to consider, and most important, belonging to this group culminates into connections that become cemented friendships, both online and face-to-face at our conventions. Like our description on the SWC Facebook page says, “SWC is awesome”, and that goes for conventions as well.
What’s your goal for the Boise convention?
“My goal is to build on what past volunteers (who are very much appreciated) have done, and to present our club to the hearing loss and hearing public in an informative and professional light. I want the world to see what we, who are a part of the SWC, already know – we may be small but we’re mighty and you’ll not find a group of people with more heart and spirit of support or acceptance than the SayWhatClub. I’m proud to be part of this group.”
Chelle George-Wyatt works with the sponsorship section of the convention committee. She joined the SWC the first time in the late 90’s. She learned good coping skills and went forth into life on other adventures until her hearing took another nose dive. She came back to the SWC after ten years to find some of the people still on the list and the same caring, empathizing support available, learning more coping strategies once again.
What makes SWC so special?
The people! They are awesome. We have all shared a great of deal of our lives together as we came to terms with our hearing loss. They let me rant and whine as needed while I slowly built up my confidence to face the world again after that last big hearing dip which changed my daily life. When I felt better (even when I felt bad) I found I could help others and feel better doing that too. It’s most definitely my favorite thing about SWC.
What do you like about the SWC conventions?
The people! I have so much fun with them. I’ve made some life long kind of friends on the list and at the conventions both. I love how accommodating we all are for each other and how we try to include newcomers into the fold. It’s like a great big family and there’s been so much laughter and fun. They are my tribe of people and I look forward every year to seeing them again while making new friends too.
How many years have you volunteered for the convention committee?
I was one of the local hosts for the convention in Salt Lake City in 2012. I attended the 2013 convention in Williamsburg and volunteered to be on the con committee right after that. I wanted to keep the conventions rolling along because I treasure those days with my tribe.
What’s your goal for the Boise con?
My biggest goal was accomplished already by updating and improving on the sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors are a big part of our convention and I hope to draw them in with more options to reach out to our members. Our members in return are always interested in new products so it’s beneficial to everyone.