SayWhatClub Conventions

Wild Blackberries

I took my son to the park today, passing a family on their way out with a bowlful of wild blackberries. I was surprised there were so many blackberries left, and then I wondered why I hadn't gotten any this summer. Where had my summer gone?

Then I remembered. SeaCon! That took rather a lot of my time and energy.

Am I complaining? Heck no! When I think of SeaCon, I think of:

The people... The food... The vendors... Realizing we don't have to apologize for our hearing losses... The loop system... CART... The CI workshop, which impressed one of our members so much, he's arranging for his daughter to get one... Shopping... The people... Learning we can accept the SWC as one of our families... The interpreters... The Space Needle... Playing checkers one night in the Hospitality Suite... The people... The hills of Seattle... The weather, which cooperated with us...

And there's so much more...

By my count, 14 people at this con were first-time SWC Con-goers; most, if not all, are talking about going to the next one. (Minnesota, July 14-18, 2004). One of those first-timers said the Con was a "life-changing event" for her. That alone makes all my hard work worthwhile.

What about the rest of the con-goers? They were busy greeting the newcomers and catching up with their old friends! One of the speakers commented she'd never been to a convention before where everyone spoke to her and welcomed her.

Now, we're tying up the loose ends. Paying the bills, thanking our vendors, collecting the data from the surveys. Enough of this. I'm going out to pick some wild blackberries.

See you next year in Minnesota.

Kate
Chair, SWC Convention, 2000

SayWhatClub Minnesota Convention

The 2004 SWC convention is scheduled July 14-18, in Minnesota, the land of Sky Blue Waters with over 10,000 lakes. A Welcome Party will be held the evening of the 14th. Workshops with various topics will be scheduled and we hope to have a variety of vendors. The planning has already started, with me as Chair and Leslie Cotter as Co-Chair. The Con will take place at The Thunderbird Hotel, located in Bloomington, MN and right across from the Mall of America. A web site with convention information, registration and links will appear later this month.

The Mall of America which is the largest Mall in the United States, is more than just a shopping mall. There is an amusement park (Camp Snoopy) in the center, an Underwater Sea World, Lego imagination center, bowling alley, cereal adventure, NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, night clubs, Movie Theater, many restaurants including a fast food court, and much more. And don't forget the 3-4 huge floors for shopping or browsing.

The Thunderbird Hotel is a unique hotel with lots of Native American art throughout as well as many displays of MN nature scenes including stuffed wild animals. It's a two-story hotel and has a resort feeling atmosphere because of the rustic decor. There are two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoors, a bar and an excellent restaurant This hotel is well known in the Twin Cities as a good hotel for deaf/hoh and hosts many banquets for the deaf/hoh groups in the Twin City area. Rates for up to 4 per room are $82 plus tax. Free shuttle buses are available from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the Mall. There is also a free shuttle to a Casino which has the best buffet around and includes, in the words of one well traveled person… "the most slots she's ever seen in one place". Free parking at the hotel is provided for those who drive.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are each about 10-15 minutes from the hotel. Head to Minneapolis and see a Twins game, art museums or a rear-window captioned movie. Head to St. Paul and see the baseball Saints play, the Science Museum, take a Gangster tour, or a cruise on the Mississippi River. Watch our website for more fun and exciting things to do and see while in the area.

This will be my 5th SWC convention. At every SWC convention I've been to, I hear the same thing said about each one. "It's so good to socialize with others who also have hearing loss, to meet the people I've been communicating with online". Communication is never a problem, regardless of how bad your hearing is. Everyone is in the same "boat" so to speak, and everyone makes sure that no one is left out, communication wise. In other words, an SWC Con is a "GREAT" experience. Hope to see many of you next summer in Minnesota.

Cathy Hilden
Chair, SWC Minnesota Convention, 2004

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