Leadership in Action: A Step towards a Transportation Solution
By Thomas Reid, Convention Coordinator
I am excited to report to you that this year there are multiple examples of how chapters have worked together to create a solution to the recurring problem of convention transportation.
Over the past several years, reductions in public transportation have not only made it more difficult to plan conventions, but also present additional challenges to many members who are interested in attending. One annual tradition during the convention is the often heated discussion regarding convention site selection and the difficulties it presents, if there are limited train or bus options. For the past few years, this has included a consistent plea from the Convention Program and Planning Committee for chapters to work together to resolve the challenge.
As many of you know, who have experienced transportation challenges for far longer than I, the problem isn’t going to be soon resolved. Even when the self-driving car becomes a reality, and becomes reliable enough for someone with vision loss to operate alone, there will still be transportation challenges.
Taking control of the problem and not allowing it to stop progress is the real success. So when you’re knocked down and unable to get up, grab onto your bootstraps and lift yourself. It’s being a leader by example. As the theme goes, “Leadership is for Everyone!”
The chapters who work together send a message to everyone on that bus that declares, “You are not alone. You are part of a community that works together to create a solution.”
Think of those new to vision loss who have their own perceptions and stereotypes of blindness. They may believe that those with vision loss require others to do for them what was once done independently. I have watched as some who hold onto such beliefs internalize and begin to assume that they too must not be able to do for themselves. For these individuals, riding on one of the now available buses to convention will not be only about getting a lift, it’s about what is possible.
When I share my story of being a part of an advocacy organization, I refer to a few notable experiences when I felt extremely proud of the work. When I overhear someone refer to the availability of resources in Monroe County for people with vision loss – specifically, accessible voting and improved pedestrian signals – I know that both of these came about because of advocacy. Now that there are self-arranged transportation options available for those in the southwest, north and southeast regions, I have another example of success to share of working together.
This year you can almost say that we have the state blanketed with our own convention transportation options. This includes the southwest region via the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind, the chapters of the north and east including Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley and Monroe, and now the southeast with Philadelphia Metro, Philadelphia Regional, Capital City and York County each joining together to collectively lift themselves up by their bootstraps.
As the Convention Coordinator, of course I want a good turnout for the 2014 PCB State Conference and Convention in Johnstown, but even more importantly, as someone on my own journey adjusting to blindness, I’m encouraged by the teamwork and invigorated to know that any problem can be solved. It just takes a little work and sometimes a little help from a friend!
Anyone who is interested in attending the convention from any of the following areas, and is in need of transportation, please contact me directly and I will put you in touch with the appropriate contact for your region.
Congratulations to all of the chapter leaders who made the options available. You are examples of leadership in action!
See you on Thursday, October 16 through Sunday, October 19, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown, PA. Call 1-800-433-5663 for your reservation and let them know that you are reserving a room for the 2014 PCB State Conference and Convention. The room rate is $92 for up to four occupants. Don’t wait any longer, because the room rate is only guaranteed through Thursday, October 2, 2014.
Using social media? Don’t forget the hash tag #2014PCB for everything convention.