The Palmetto Blind
The voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
New NFB of SC President Frank Coppel Addresses
2015 NFB of SC Convention Delegates
The PALMETTO BLIND, published quarterly in large print, cassette tape and Braille by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. David Houck, Editor.
The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is chartered under the laws of the state of South Carolina to promote the spiritual, social and economic well-being of all blind South Carolinians. The state organization is an affiliate of the nation’s oldest and largest organization of the blind–the National Federation of the Blind.
The PALMETTO BLIND is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and is available free of charge to any blind individual or member in large print, Braille online or in a digital format from the SC Talking Book Services. Other subscribers are encouraged. If readers desire to do so, donations to cover the annual subscription cost of $10.00 per year may be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and sent to: Valerie Warrington, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205
Braille or large print copies may be retained for personal libraries.
Giving A Dream
One of the great satisfactions in life is having the opportunity to assist others. Consider making a gift to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina to continue turning our dreams into reality. A gift to the NFB of SC is not merely a donation to an organization; it provides resources that will directly ensure a brighter future for all blind people.
Seize the Future
The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina has special giving opportunities that will benefit the giver as well as the NFB of SC. Of course the largest benefit to the donor is the satisfaction of knowing that your gift is leaving a legacy of opportunity. However, gifts may be structured to provide more.
- Helping the NFB of SC fulfill its mission
- Realizing income tax savings through a charitable donation
- Making capital gain tax savings on contributions of appreciated assets
- Providing retained payments for the life of a donor or beneficiary
- Eliminating or lowering federal estate tax in certain situations
- Reducing estate settlement costs
NFB of SC programs are dynamic:
- Making the study of literacy and technology a real possibility for blind children and adults
- Providing hope and training for seniors losing vision
- Promoting state and local programs to help blind people become first class citizens
- Educating the public about blind people’s true potential
- Advancing technology helpful to the blind
- Creating a state and national library on the progress of blindness
- Training and inspiring professionals working with the blind
- Providing critical information to parents of blind children
- Mentoring blind job seekers Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB of SC dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. 803-254-3777 firstname.lastname@example.org or nfbofsc.org.
Table of Contents
- 2015 NFB of SC Convention Elects New President
- 2015 NFB of SC Columbia Convention Inspires New Leadership
- 2015 Convention Resolution
- Seventy-fifth Annual NFB National Convention Breaks World Record By Frank Coppel
- Upcoming 2016 NFB of SC Convention & the Need for Convention Sponsors Sponsors
- 2016 Statewide Seminar A Resounding Success! By Frank Coppel
- Commission for the Blind Celebrates 50th Anniversary Made Possible by NFB of SC
- From the President’s Desk by Frank Coppel
- 2016 Senior Camps by Frank Coppel
- 2016 Children’s Camp by Jennifer Bazer
- News from the Rocky Bottom Board Chairman By Dr. Donald C. Capps
- Mission Team Gives Rocky Bottom Face Lift By David Bundy
- Investing in Our Federation Future: Changes in the 2016 Scholarship Program By Shannon Cook
- From the Desk of the NFB of SC President Emeritus By Dr. Donald C. Capps
- From the Editor’s Desk by David Houck
- FINAL THOUGHT
2015 NFB of SC Convention Elects New President
The 2015 NFB of SC 59th Annual Convention held at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia elected longtime Federationist Frank Coppel as President unanimously on Sunday morning, August 23, 2015.
Immediate past NFB of SC President and National NFB board member Parnell Diggs, who served as state President for 15 years since 2000, was offered and accepted the prestigious position as Director of Governmental Affairs at the National Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Diggs, who also ran for public office in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District and for the position of Attorney General was indeed the right man for this national position.
However, this left the NFB of SC Presidential position open. Mr. Diggs attended and spoke at the convention as did his former law partner Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations at the National Center. It was obvious that Frank Coppel had the credentials for the NFB of SC Presidency. He was the First Vice President of the NFB of SC, a position he held for many years. He is Vice Chairman of the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind. He has served several terms as Columbia Chapter President. He has been active at NFB and NFB of SC Conventions, Washington Seminars and other events on a national level over the years. In every respect Mr. Coppel is very knowledgeable of federation affairs on every level. The whole convention gladly elected him to take over the mantle of leadership of the NFB of SC.
2015 NFB of SC Columbia Convention Inspires New Leadership
The August 21-25, 2015 NFB of SC’s 59th Annual Convention at the Columbia Marriott Hotel was one of both unity and diversity of leadership. Delegates from every part of the state of South Carolina gathered together and registered for the convention beginning on Friday, August 21. Registration was headed up by Darlene Houck and David Houck coordinated the exhibits. Exhibitors at the convention included the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind, the Laurens Chapter and the Parents Division, the Commission for the Blind, SC School for the Deaf and the Blind and Talking Book Services as well as the Christian Ministry Teachers. Friday afternoon featured divisional meetings of blind seniors, computer users, students, merchants and parents of blind children. The Federation Center’s Board of Directors and the White Cane Walk-A-Thon Committee met as did the Resolutions Committee. It seems there was a meeting to suit the interests of just about any blind person. Many leaders stepped up to the plate to host these informative meetings.
The Friday evening Reception was the highlight of the evening. The Reception featured catered food, a 1970’s theme, live entertainment and dancing. A big thank you goes out to Columbia Chapter President Tiffiny Mitchell, Columbia Chapter members and to all those who made the event a huge success!
On Saturday, August 22 early in the morning, the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors met. On Saturday and Sunday mornings the Marriott provided a continental breakfast before sessions began in the meeting room enjoyed by the convention delegates.
Lenora Robertson and Ellen Taylor were loaded down with door prizes collected for distribution throughout the convention. Leadership was demonstrated by all those who collected these door prizes and brought them to the convention as well as to Lenora and Ellen for coordinating this important service.
NFB of SC President Parnell Diggs presided over the convention and performed superbly. However, he had just accepted a prestigious position as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the NFB nationally. President Diggs’ leadership has been well documented over the years both within and outside of the federation. After all the opening ceremonies and convention arrangements, Chris Danielsen, Public Relations Director of the National Federation of the Blind gave the National Report. Mr. Danielsen, a former law partner with Parnell Diggs and close friend, recounted the success of the NFB in fighting for the blind in legislation, at the Jernigan Institute and in supporting the blind which experienced discrimination. The “one minute message” which is published elsewhere in this edition was reviewed. Kyle Walker, Director of the Commission for the Blind’s VR Services, addressed the delegates concerning the Commissions’ changing focus, establishing partnerships and how the blind can have input into the process. Mr. Walker is new to the Commission and has a good philosophy concerning blindness services. The SC School for the Deaf and Blind Director of Outreach Services Scott Falcone, addressed the audience concerning the varied programs of service to blind students, not just within the School, but through statewide outreach as well. We are glad to announce that SCSDB President, Paige McCraw was recently confirmed as the School’s President just before the convention and we wish her well as she continues to lead the School into the future. Jennifer Bazer then gave tips regarding proper appearance by the blind so that you can look your best in public. Jennifer Bazer will be conducting the 2016 Children’s camp and her enthusiasm and leadership is much appreciated. President Parnell Diggs gave his final Presidential Report to conclude the Saturday morning session. His eloquence will be missed and his leadership in the NFB of SC is highly regarded by everyone.
The noontime Luncheon featured a meeting of the NFB of SC Board of Directors. Convention delegates observed the meeting and had input as to things which were discussed.
The Saturday afternoon session began with a presentation from Talking Book Services Director Sandy Knowles. Her discussion of talking books, library services and electronic access was of much interest to the convention as most all utilize this important literary service. Dr. Donald C. Capps, Chairman of the Board of Directors of RBRCCB addressed the convention concerning progress at Rocky Bottom, our new Resident Manager Brooke West and the upcoming Fun Day Festival on Labor Day weekend. Frank Coppel spoke on Senior Blind week and Jennifer Bazer spoke on the 2016 Children’s Camp. These are fully addressed elsewhere in this edition of the Palmetto Blind. David Houck gave the report on the Federation Center of the Blind, reviewing our progress over the past year and looking forward to 2016. Then there was a review of the 75 years of Donald and Betty Capps service to the federation as a tribute to them. Their leadership is an example to all of us. To end the session there were chapter and division reports made by their presidents. This was followed by Shannon Cook introducing the 2015 scholarship class. Please reference her article in this issue regarding the 2016 scholarship program. The Saturday evening Banquet is the highlight of the convention as NFB Director of Public Relations Chris Danielsen gave the keynote address. His eloquence was both informative and inspiring. Awards were presented to those who demonstrated outstanding leadership in work with the blind. Barry Chavis received the Associate Member of the Year Award for his decades of service to the blind. , Shelley Coppel received the Donald C. Capps Award for her efforts on behalf of the blind in and outside South Carolina. Lori Finnerty received the Educator of the Year Award for her outstanding service to blind students. SC Talking Book Services received the Employer of the Year Award for their record of employing the blind as well as for having blind representation on their board. These award recipients represent the current generation of leaders in the blindness field.
The 2015 NFB of SC Scholarship Class
The 2015 Scholarship Class was presented with the following scholarships: Alexus Blanding received the $500 Hornsby Scholarship, Ghita Chadery received the $250 Metro Scholarship, Willie Wester received the $250 Metro Scholarship, Kayana Ladson-Ellis received the $250 Metro Scholarship, Kaitlyn Hodges received the $500 Columbia Chapter John Fling Memorial Scholarship and the $500 Federation Center Bernard H. Kline Memorial Scholarship, Amal Momani received the $500 Anderson Chapter Jimmie Smith Memorial Scholarship, the $250 Rock Hill Chapter Don Robertson Memorial Scholarship and the $250 Belvedere Chapter Scholarship, and Orenthia Tompkins received the $500 Greenville Chapter Ruth Jordan Scholarship, the Conway Chapter $250 Andrew Johnson Memorial Scholarship and the $250 Sheila Breitweiser Scholarship. These scholarship winners represent our future in the blindness movement.
The Sunday morning session got underway with a Devotional and Memorial Service by Doug and Patsy Roberts. This was followed by remaining reports from chapter and division presidents. Since the membership is not required to pay dues, it is important for us to support the national organization through our stewardship. The Imagination Fund, PAC Plan and SUN Funds are ways to accomplish this important service. Resolution 2015-01 was passed by the convention calling for the NFB of SC and the Commission to work together on the Commission’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2016. This resolution is printed in this issue of the Palmetto Blind. The last order of business was the election of officers. Since President Diggs was stepping down at this convention, he was presented with a specially made gavel in honor of his 15 years of service as NFB of SC President (2000-2015). The election results are as follows: President – Frank Coppel, First Vice President – Lenora Robertson, Second Vice President – Debra Canty, 5th District – Linda Dizzley (all of whom are serving one year terms) and for two year terms elected were 1st District – Levern Wilson, 3rd District – Frank Loza, and members-sat-large, Isaiah Nelson and Ed Bible. We appreciate the service of outgoing leaders who will continue to serve in many ways as well as those who were re-elected and new board members. The convention adjourned with great enthusiasm and an eagerness to continue on in changing what it means to be blind so that you can “live the life you want.”
2015 Convention Resolution
Whereas the Commission for the Blind of South Carolina will be celebrating its Fiftieth anniversary in 2016; and,
Whereas the NFB of SC was responsible for the creation of the Commission for the Blind of South Carolina, having worked two years with the General Assembly to pass necessary legislation; and.
Whereas the Commission for the Blind of South Carolina offers vital programs designed to promote independence, enhance opportunity, and improve the quality of life for blind South Carolinians; and.
Whereas the blind and low vision South Carolinians of all ages benefit significantly from these programs and find such programs to be a helpful in developing and improving skills that will assist them throughout life;
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled this 23rd day of August, 2015 in the City of Columbia that the organized blind movement in South Carolina congratulate the Commission for the Blind of South Carolina for its fifty years of continued service to the blind of this state, and
Be It Further Resolved that this organization partner with the Commission for the Blind of South Carolina in celebrating its Fiftieth Anniversary.
Seventy-fifth Annual NFB National Convention Breaks World Record
By Frank Coppel
The 75th annual National Federation of the Blind National Convention was held at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida from July 5, to July 10, 2015. Approximately 2800 Federationists attended the National Convention. As usual South Carolina finished in the top ten in attendance. Since this was the 75th anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind, many special activities were held to acknowledge this accomplishment. One of the displays available for all to see, was a tactual and audio time line which described the history of the NFB from its beginnings in 1940 to the present. The display had excerpts of speeches from Dr. TenBroek, Dr. Jernigan, Dr. Maurer, and President Riccabono. On Wednesday, July 8, just prior to the opening general session of the convention, 2480 Federationists broke a Guinness World record by forming the world’s largest umbrella mosaic In the parking lot of the Rosen Centre Hotel. By using white and blue umbrellas, 2480 Federationists spelled out our NFB tagline “Live the life you want” which could be seen for miles around from the sky.
As usual, the agenda items were excellent. I especially enjoyed President Riccabono’s Presidential Report and an agenda item Friday morning entitled, “THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY IN SONG“ presented by James Brown, President, NFB of Tennessee and Richie Flores, NFB of Texas. Of course, the highlight of the convention was the Banquet which was held Friday evening. The address was excellent as President Riccabono delivered a thought provoking and spirited message.
As you can see, the 2015 NFB National convention was a tremendous success, and I hope many of you are making plans to attend the 2016 NFB National Convention which will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, Thursday, June 30, to Tuesday, July 5. The 2016 room rates at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel are singles and doubles, $83; and triples and quads, $89. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under seventeen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.
For 2016 convention room reservations you can call the hotel at (866) 996-6338 after January 1. You may also write directly to the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. The hotel will want a deposit of $95 for each room and will want a credit card number or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $95 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday May, 27, 2016, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.
The charter bus will leave to go to the National Convention from Columbia 8:00 a.m. Thursday, June 30, and will depart from Orlando to return to Columbia Wednesday, July 6, at 8:00 a.m. We are now accepting your reservation fee of $100 to ride the charter bus to Orlando. Remember, this reservation fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
Upcoming 2016 NFB of SC Convention and the Need for Convention Sponsors
As we look forward to a new venue for the NFB of SC Convention which is slated to be held in October in Myrtle Beach, it is important to raise funding to reduce the cost to the blind who attend. These annual conventions provide exhibits, a Friday evening Reception, Saturday and Sunday morning continental breakfasts, and a Saturday Luncheon and evening Banquet. With five divisional meetings for blind students, seniors, merchants, computer users and parents of blind children, not to mention the convention sessions, it is no wonder that hosting a convention today requires many arrangements and expenses.
Despite arranging the right hotel and the best contract possible, the costs of these conventions go up each year and this affects the cost to the blind for room reservations, convention related travel arrangements, and convention registration which can run up to hundreds of dollars to each person attending.
We need to find just 20 NFB of SC Convention sponsors who will contribute $1,000 each (tax deductible as we are a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization) to assist in defraying these expenses. Even a group of people can get together to raise $1,000 and be recognized! If successful, we can lower registration costs and better cover other convention related expenses. This applies to individuals, businesses, civic groups, churches, etc. Make check payable to NFB of SC and mark as “convention sponsor.” We will list your name or ad in a full page of the convention agenda and we will be glad to provide exhibit hall space if desired. You can make the difference in defraying these ever increasing costs and at the same time make it possible for many more blind South Carolinians to attend these very informative state conventions.
2016 Statewide Seminar A Resounding Success!
By Frank Coppel
I want to thank all of you who attended the 46th annual Statewide Seminar this past Saturday. When Shelley and I walked into the Federation Center at 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning, the meeting hall was already half full. Almost every seat in the room was filled when the Seminar was called to order at 10:00 a.m.
All three heads of agencies who provide services to the blind, Jim Kirby and along with Kyle Walker, from the SC Commission for the Blind, Paige McCraw, from the SC School for the Deaf and Blind, and Sandy Knowles, from Talking Book Services gave presentations at the Seminar.
Erica Powell, who recently was hired as an Employment Consultant with the Commission for the Blind, spoke about her experiences as a blind cheerleader for Clemson University.
Ed Bible was recognized for being responsible for having a state map of South Carolina donated by 3d Photo Works to the Federation Center. Thom Spittle did an excellent job as auctioneer as we raised $617 for the Federation Center. Dr. Capps gave an excellent RBRCCB report. The two Senior Camps will be held May 22-26, and September 18-22. Children’s Camp will be held the third week in July. At the State Board meeting, which was held during the two hour lunch break, the Board voted unanimously to charge $100 for a seat on the charter bus going to the National Convention in Orlando, Florida. Congratulations to Trent Tedder as he was the winner of the Orlando National Convention bus fund raffle. Trent won $600 as he was the buyer and seller of the winning ticket. Also, congratulations to the Columbia Chapter for selling 1,594 bus tickets and finishing in first place. The Sumter Chapter finished second selling 600 bus tickets and the Rock hill Chapter finished third selling 237 tickets. I want to take this opportunity to thank Isaiah Nelson and his group of volunteers for preparing and serving a delicious lunch. I also want to especially thank David Houck for all of his hard work prior to the Seminar and all day Saturday to ensure the meeting was a success.
Remember, the NFB of SC is planning a Sweetheart dance which will be held February 12, 2016 at the Federation Center from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a professionally catered dinner, music, door prizes and dancing. Tickets to this event will only be $25 per person. If you wish to purchase a ticket you can contact Linda Dizzley at (803) 428-4273. All tickets must be purchased by February 4. We are also planning to reserve a block of rooms at a nearby hotel for those of you who live outside of Columbia and would like to attend the dance.
The date of this year’s national convention will be June 30, to July 5, 2016 and will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. The 2016 room rates are singles and doubles, $83; and triples and quads, $89. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12.5 percent. No charge will be made for children under seventeen in the room with their parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.
For 2016 convention room reservations you can call the hotel at (866) 996-6338 after January 1. You may also write directly to the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819-9357. The hotel will want a deposit of $95 for each room and will want a credit card number or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $95 check. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday May, 27, 2016, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made. The charter bus will leave Columbia at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, June 30. The bus will leave Orlando at 8:00 a.m. and return to Columbia Wednesday, July 6. We are now accepting your reservation fee of $100 to ride the charter bus to Orlando. Remember, this reservation fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
One MINUTE MESSAGE:
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want: blindness is not what holds you back.
Commission for the Blind Celebrates 50th Anniversary Made Possible by NFB of SC
Editor’s Note: The following resolution was unanimously adopted by the NFB of SC Board of Directors during the Statewide Seminar luncheon to demonstrate the effectiveness of the NFB of SC 50 years ago in removing blindness VR services from the old Department of Public Welfare and establishing the Commission for the Blind so that the blind of South Carolina would be better served. Readers of the Palmetto Blind need only to refer to articles in previous issues to see the struggle that ensued at that time.
WHEREAS, prior to 1966 Vocational Rehabilitation services for the blind were administered by the SC Department of Public Welfare; and,
WHEREAS, these services were extremely inadequate and deplorable which severely
limited the blind’s ability to reach their fullest potential; and,
WHEREAS, in 1964, the blind strongly believed VR services desperately needed to improve if the blind were going to compete on terms of equality with their sighted counterparts; and,
WHEREAS, at the 1964 National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina’s State Convention in Charleston a resolution was unanimously adopted which called for legislation which would establish a separate state agency responsible for providing VR services to the blind; and,
WHEREAS, this legislation met with a great deal of opposition from the leaders of the Department of Public Welfare as well as government officials who did not believe it was in the state’s best interest to create another state agency; and,
WHEREAS, during the next two years the blind spent countless hours at the State House working tirelessly to convince legislators of the great need to create such an agency; and,
WHEREAS, after much hard work and persistence by the blind, legislation to create the South Carolina Commission for the Blind was signed into law by Governor Robert E. McNair on May 6, 1966; and,
WHEREAS, at the 2015 NFB of SC State Convention in Columbia a resolution was unanimously adopted congratulating the South Carolina Commission for the Blind for fifty years of service which has greatly benefited the blind; and,
WHEREAS, the resolution also addressed the need to have both organizations work together as equal partners to plan a meaningful program for the fiftieth anniversary celebration,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the NFB of SC on Saturday, January 9, 2016 in the City of Columbia passed this resolution that the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina take an instrumental role in planning a program for the fiftieth anniversary celebration; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the board of Commissioners of the SC Commission for the Blind.
From the President’s Desk
By Frank Coppel
Happy New Year! The beginning of 2016 has been a busy time in the NFB of SC. We started the new year with an excellent State-wide Seminar which was held on January 9. Approximately 150 people were in attendance and their energy and enthusiasm was at a high level throughout the day. In the Fall, I established a state-wide fundraising committee for the purpose of raising much needed money for the general fund of the NFB of SC. At the time of this writing, we are currently in the midst of conducting two state-wide fundraisers. We are selling an insulated sixteen ounce NFB of SC coffee thermos for the price of $15. These coffee thermoses are very attractive and should be very easy to sell to federation members as well as the general public. We will also be having a Sweetheart dance on Friday evening, February 12, at the Federation Center of the Blind from 6:00to 9:00 p.m.
At the December NFB of SC State Board meeting, I recommended to the board we hold our 2016 State Convention in October at a hotel in Myrtle Beach. To my knowledge, the NFB of SC has never held a State Convention in Myrtle Beach and I strongly believe by doing so, we would be able to increase attendance at our State Convention significantly. I also believe by holding the State Convention in October, our members should have sufficient time to recover financially from attending the NFB National Convention in July, and The Fun Day Festival at Rocky Bottom in September. For the past month, I have been working very closely with the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and they have been very helpful in locating hotels that meet our needs and specifications. I have been reviewing various hotel proposals and in the very near future, Shelley and I will be traveling to the coast for the purpose of selecting an appropriate hotel site for this year’s convention.
As many of you know, Dr. Capps decided to step down as Editor of the Palmetto Blind in 2015 after serving in this position for sixty years. Dr. Capps has done an excellent job as editor of this magazine and all of us need to thank him for his many years of dedicated and outstanding service in this position. I have appointed David Houck as the new Editor of the Palmetto Blind. David Houck has worked very closely with Dr. Capps during the past twenty years and I feel certain David will do well in his new role as Editor.
The past six months of being your State President has been extremely busy and educational, but it has also been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience as well. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many talented and wonderful people in the NFB of SC, and I have enjoyed working with these individuals a great deal. The past six months has also been a learning process for me. I am learning the office of the President of the NFB of SC can be quite demanding at times. Since becoming President, I have gained a greater appreciation for my predecessors who have held the office of State President before me. I believe 2016 can be a very special year in the NFB of SC, and with all of us working together we can change what it means to be blind in South Carolina!
2016 Senior Camps
By Frank Coppel
Of all the activities I am involved with in the NFB of SC, the one activity I enjoy the most is directing the two weeks of Senior Camp at Rocky Bottom. Not only do I have a wonderful volunteer staff who assists me with this activity, but also I get a great deal of satisfaction interacting and assisting many of our blind seniors throughout the state.
The 2016 Spring session of Senior Camp will begin on Sunday, May 22 and conclude on Thursday, May 26. The 2016 Fall session of Senior Camp will begin Sunday, September 18 and conclude on Thursday, September 22, 2016.
Applications will be mailed out mid-March for the Spring session of Senior Camp and mid-July for the Fall session of Senior camp. To be eligible for Senior Camp, an individual must be 55 years of age or older and must be legally blind. The camp is free of charge and we accept a maximum of 25 campers for each session. Eligible campers who have never participated will be given first priority. Those eligible campers who have not attended the most recent camp, will be given second priority, and any other available spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-accepted basis. Applications will not be processed without a current physician’s statement.
Good luck and we look forward to seeing you in May at Senior Camp!
Mollie Scatena’s Senior Camp Experience
I feel very fortunate to have attended, Rocky Bottom Senior Camp. It was such an extraordinary experience! I met some very inspirational people; who greeted me with open arms.
We enjoyed many activities; walks in the beautiful surroundings, a variation of classes. We also played bingo, because a little fun rivalry is always good for the spirit!
Our delicious meals were always led by prayer with wonderful fellowship, which felt like family dinner time. The talent show was a great highlight! We were entertained by talented vocalist an extraordinary pianist, poems, and skits. The peaceful deck where we spent some relaxing downtime and much laughter was definitely a favorite.
Since my visual impairment began ten months ago, there have been many days where I have felt as though I’m needy, or a burden to others. While I was at camp, I was with others who have shared my experiences, my frustrations and joys of accomplishments. There wasn’t a need to explain my visual challenges, they understood! For months others have been helping, or assisting me. While I was there, I realized something amazing about myself! As I extended my hand to help others, and when a sweet lady held onto my arm, I too, was needed and could help others! There is no greater, or rewarding gift, than to give of one’s self.
I left Rocky Bottom with many valuables, which I had not arrived with. My suitcase was packed with a sense of belonging, of new purpose, understanding and acceptance. As I walked out the door, my heart was full with compassion, and love of new friendships. It was a wonderful journey that I will carry with me always!
2016 Children’s Camp
By Jennifer Bazer
Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center, in scenic Sunset, SC, just down from the Peak of Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, is the setting for one of the most anticipated events on the NFB of SC calendar. That’s right, Children’s Camp at Rocky Bottom will be held the week of July 17-23, 2016. This action-packed week for kids aged 6-16 who are blind or visually impaired will feature swimming, hiking, cooking, arts and crafts, games and much, much more! …And the best part: It’s FREE!
Children’s Camp Director, Jennifer Bazer is looking to round out her blue ribbon team of camp counselors with primarily blind/Visually impaired role-models. Applicants should be highly motivated, responsible, have good blindness skills and be able to keep up with an active group of kids. If this sounds like you, then maybe you can fill one of the coveted positions as one of the Rocky Bottom team! She will be interviewing applicants until she has chosen the best possible team. “Remember,” says Jennifer, “There’s no I in Team,” so if you’re not a team player, you need not apply. The number of counselors chosen will be driven by how many children will be attending camp, but the pool of applicants will not be complete without you!
If you have children who wish to attend camp, contact the Federation Center or your SCCB Counselor for an application. If you have questions about Children’s Camp, or wish to volunteer, Contact Jennifer at (803)661-6622 or email@example.com.
News from the Rocky Bottom Board Chairman
By Dr. Donald C. Capps
(Editor’s Note: Dr. Capps, longtime Chairman of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, has been asked to catch Palmetto Blind readers up on happenings at Rocky Bottom in 2015)
The year 2015 was one of many challenges as well as a number of successes at RBRCCB. Beginning in January 2015 there was a management change. During the interim period we were fortunate enough to have the benefit of Janice Taylor’s assistance in the management of RBRCCB as she has served as Resident Manager some years ago who was familiar with the management requirements. She resides a short distance from RBRCCB. We also served as the Interim Manager for several weeks at RBRCCB in January and February. During this time we interviewed several candidates for the Resident Manager’s position. When Brooke West applied for this position we noted her employment which was positive. In the past Brooke had worked in the hotel industry including registering guests, serving as receptionist and even tending to kitchen duties. She has been on the job for nearly a year and we have been pleased with her performance. There are not many guests during January and February but this enabled Brooke to attend to other chores. The large kitchen in the Conference Center especially needed attention and Brooke spent time “scrubbing” where it was needed. We also worked with Brooke in renewing rentals of RBRCCB’s facilities by different groups. It was discovered that there had apparently been no follow up with contacts to pervious clients resulting in our losing important rentals. As a matter of fact, it appears inaccurate information to one lucrative account resulted in substantial loss of rental income. In the meantime Brooke was utilizing her time to contact churches throughout the area, mailing many letters and making numerous telephone calls. We were successful in renewing a $5,000 rental to a church. It had been several years since this particular church had utilized our facilities because of complaints which had not been addressed. There were other churches which renewed their usage of RBRCCB’s facilities. Two rentals were in the Spartanburg area including a church and Spartanburg High School.
We were particularly grateful that our NFB of SC board member Ed Bible secured the needed assistance from his church, Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church, to make much needed repairs at RBRCCB. Our Resident Manager Brooke West secured a contribution from Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley in the amount of $1,000 which assisted the Mt. Hebron Church in making the repairs. There was use by our NFB of SC President Frank Coppel, heading up Senior Camp with much success. Another Senior Week was used a few months later in September. This is a popular program as we unfortunately are not able to accommodate every senior who wants to participate in this program. Frank always gathers together an excellent staff which handles details and implementation of the program. Jennifer Bazer who is Second Vice President of the Columbia Chapter will head up Children’s Camp the week of July 17, 2016. No doubt Jennifer, who is eminently qualified to be Children’s Camp Director will put together a highly successful program for our blind children. During 2015 there were several chapters which utilized RBRCCB’s facilities. There were many individuals and families who also enjoyed RBRCCB.
In early 2015 we initiated a campaign to generate funds needed to cover much needed repairs to Lawton Hall. We had to raise approximately $8,000 to cover the cost of these repairs. We are especially indebted to the Salem Lions Club which at their August meeting presented us with a $3,000 check to cover the remaining funds needed for repairs on Lawton Hall. We would be remiss if we did not express appreciation to Mrs. Carolyn Lawton of Hendersonville, NC who made contributions to the Lawton Hall project including a $500 gift needed to finalize this project. Additionally, we want to thank the J. Marion Sims Foundation of Lancaster for their generous support to Lawton Hall. There were other contributions but it is not feasible to list all of them. Each and every contribution has our heartfelt appreciation.
Two successful Advisory Board meetings were held at RBRCCB in 2015. The annual Labor Day Fun Day Festival was once again a success which was very helpful in the operation of RBRCCB. The annual Christmas Board Retreat was once again a significant success. Some 45 state and chapter leaders attended this annual event. Some who attended their first retreat indicated it was a success and that it was very informative. We also extend gratitude to David Houck, Executive Director of the Federation Center of the Blind for their invaluable service to RBRCCB throughout 2015. We appreciate everyone who has pitched in to make 2015 highly successful. We are optimistic about 2016 and believe it will be our best year ever.
Mission Team Gives Rocky Bottom Face Lift
By David Bundy
A mission team from Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia descended upon Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center September 9 -13 to perform some much needed repairs. The project was the brain child of State Board Member Ed Bible who noticed the condition of the facilities when he attended the 2014 Fun Day Festival. He shared his concerns with his Sunday School Class and a group visited Rocky Bottom last Fall to assess the needs and determine what they might do to help.
Once the project was confirmed, Resident Manager Brooke West was assigned the task of securing funding to help defray the cost of materials for the project. She went to work approaching local churches and businesses and was able to obtain a $1,000 donation from Rock Springs Baptist Church for the project.
More than thirty members of Mt. Hebron, including Columbia Chapter members Ed and Julie Bible, Jennifer Bazer, and David Bundy, participated in the mission project. Gary Lain, who was a part of the advance team arrived on Wednesday and coordinated the work of the mission team, said “This is a great facility, it just needs some work.” He and his team made good use of their time at the camp.
Numerous repairs, including replacement of light bulbs, patching of holes in walls, repair of smoke alarms and exit signs, replacement of several ceiling fans and light fixtures, and several minor plumbing repairs were made.
The playground was refurbished. The see-saws were replaced and basketball goals repaired, swings and the wooden play set were moved to a more shady area and a porch swing was rebuilt and positioned to allow parents to supervise their children in the playground, and the old, unused climbing tower was dismantled. Another group had already taken up the old carpet from the miniature golf course in preparation for replacement, but the Mt. Hebron team replaced the scoring posts. “We wanted to replace the swings for the kids…” said Bill Youngblood, “…but there weren’t any to be found in the area.” A group from the church plans to order swings and bring them back up later.
The restroom floors in the Conference Center were reinforced and the deck was sealed. The railings around the deck were also painted.
Finally, all of the buildings and grounds received a good cleaning and power to the gazebo was restored.
When the team gathered in the Conference Center Dining Hall for their nightly recap and devotional, on Saturday evening, they were joined by Brooke West, who was moved to tears as Lain summarized the work that had taken place. “I’ve been trying to get groups to come help since I’ve been here,” she said. “When I heard you guys were coming, I thought you would come spend a couple of days and do some cleaning…. This is just so far beyond anything I could have hoped for. You guys are an answer to prayers!” She added “I never imagined so many things could be fixed in such a short amount of time.”
“This place could be so beautiful,” observed Susan Renfroe, “You guys deserve to have a nice place to come.”
“This is a wonderful program,” commented I. D. Hook, “But there’s still a lot left to do, and I know we’re going to want to come back to do more.” Another trip, planned for early November, was put on hold by the floods in Columbia and the Pee Dee region, but it is expected to occur in the Spring.
Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center and the NFB of SC salute the Mt. Hebron Missions Team. We look forward to a continuing relationship with this outstanding church.
Investing in Our Federation Future: Changes in the 2016 Scholarship Program
By Shannon Cook
The 2016 NFB of SC Scholarship Program will see new changes to our much-beloved awards. In recent years, there has evolved a need for more clarity in the process of rewarding scholarships. The Scholarship Committee recently met by teleconference and made some changes to the process of deciding scholarship recipients. This will make the decision-making procedures much clearer for those of us on the committee, and for the applicants.
The most notable change is that there will no longer be a scholarship given just because someone has applied. We want these scholarships to mean something to both those who apply and for those who are gracious enough to provide donations toward this program. The committee will select the top three applicants and award them a more substantial scholarship amount, combining several scholarships to constitute the larger total. The ever-increasing cost of getting a post-secondary education caused us to look at the amounts being awarded. The committee felt that by providing those top applicants with a greater prize, it would go farther in assisting them with their educational goals. The state board of the NFB of SC decided during the January 9th meeting to pay the way for the top three candidates for the state convention. This includes paying for their convention registration and room. The students will cover any incidental expenses themselves. They are also responsible for their own transportation. This is a perfect chance for them to partner with their local chapters to make plans to attend the convention.
Since this is a scholarship program after all, the operative word being scholar, we are raising our expectations of the students who apply. We do expect that they be among the top academically, with high GPA’s. We also would like to see a high level of involvement in community service projects and programs. A new question on the application will ask if they participate in their local NFB of SC chapters, and if not why. We want to show that our organization wants to see an effort being made toward encouraging participation in local chapter activity. This not only benefits the state as a whole, but the student individually. Plus, their chapter has the added benefit of a young person’s viewpoint on the programs of the chapter.
This year, the scholarship deadline will be later than it has been, July 18, 2016, due to having the state convention later in the fall. This will allow for the scholarship committee to meet on August 15, 2016 to determine the top three winners, and to be able to notify the students prior to their semester’s start. We know that often, plans for attending the state convention will need to be made early, since other events may arise.
We will also be implementing a mentoring program at this year’s convention. This will make the students accountable to the mentors for their whereabouts during the convention. We require students to be present for all events of the convention. This will assure that takes place.
The scholarship committee asks that the chapters and divisions who are contributing to the scholarship program get in their donations by August, the usual time for the prior convention dates. By doing so, the scholarship committee will have full knowledge of what scholarships are available to award during the meeting on August 15. We appreciate any amount, regardless of how much or how small. We know they all come from the heart and are given in love to the scholarship program. Though I say it during the awards ceremony at the banquet, all of us from committee members to students to family, are so thankful to those chapters, divisions, and individuals who have ever made scholarship donations. Please remember that the Metro Fund is still open for donations that can be split or given as a whole to someone deserving. No amount is too small. We’ll take it from $1 and up!!!
For anyone who may have questions, please feel free to call me (Shannon Cook) at my home number (803) 254-0222 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shannon Cook, MSW, Chair, NFB of SC Scholarship Committee.
From the Desk of the NFB of SC President Emeritus
By Dr. Donald C. Capps
Editor’s Note: While Dr. Capps has stepped down as Editor of the Palmetto Blind, he is not stepping away. I have requested Dr. Capps to contribute his remarks in this new President Emeritus’ Desk article as I believe you will agree that he still has much to contribute to this publication.
When Dr. Kenneth Jernigan stepped down as President of the National Federation of the Blind in 1986, he had no intention of rest and relaxing on the sidelines. Instead he continued to be in his office each morning at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore, serving until his death in 1998. For more than a decade he would continue his busy schedule including subsequent NFB Convention Banquet speaker. Even so he discovered that since giving up the presidency, he felt he needed a title. After some thought he decided that he would assume the title of Executive Director and this title served him well. I recall Dr. Jernigan bringing this matter to the attention of the NFB board which gave unanimous approval to this title.
At the 2000 Convention of the NFB of SC I stepped down as President of the NFB of SC. After all I was 72 years old and the overwhelming majority of leaders retired before this advanced age. Both Dr. Jernigan and Dr. Maurer resigned as President of the NFB when they were in their 60’s. Nevertheless, I think the Convention did not expect my decision to step down as President. This was emotional for me as after all, I had served as NFB of SC President for 30 one-year terms. It was the right time for me to step down but not away. I recall Dr. Maurer was seated next to me and obviously detected my emotions as he patted me on the shoulder to console me. Having experienced Dr. Jernigan’s need to have a title, I felt that I was similarly situated and I chose the title of President Emeritus which was unanimously approved by the Convention. It was my feeling that the title of President Emeritus simply was an expression of my capacity. The 2000 NFB of SC Convention featured many outstanding speakers and presentations and it was my responsibility to preside over the Convention which was stressful and demanding.
Throughout the years Betty and I always enjoyed taking a couple of days off to rest and relax. With the exception of Rocky Bottom, my favorite place to visit was Gatlinburg. At the conclusion of the state convention we first spent the night in Cherokee and traveled on to Gatlinburg the day after. Shortly after the Convention was over I noted I was experiencing some chest pain but I gave it little thought as it didn’t seem serious. I was determined to spend a couple of nights in Gatlinburg but the chest pain did not subside and became a source of concern. It was decided that it would be better to cut short our trip and return to Columbia. Arriving back in Columbia I contacted a Cardiologist who was related to me by family connections and he told me to immediately come to his office in an effort to diagnose the cause of my continuing chest pain. The Cardiologist gave me a thorough examination in his office but failed to diagnose the exact cause of my difficulty. He suggested that I check into the hospital for more examinations which I did. They performed a heart catheterization. After getting the results of the procedure, the Cardiologist told me that I should leap with joy as my heart looked like someone in their teens. Shortly after this hospital stay and the positive result of my examinations I no longer had the chest pain. Perhaps it was psychological but I attributed my chest pain to my stepping down as state President due to a very torrid Convention schedule.
I have retained my different responsibilities to the Federation and Rocky Bottom. I would continue serving on the national board for another decade, not stepping down from this position as senior board member until 2011. After all, I had served on the national board since 1959, and with the exception of one year, it had become necessary for me to relinquish this high national position. My Federation family has continued to extend me every courtesy and I shall always be appreciative. Throughout the years since 1956 when we joined the NFB of SC, I have seen the NFB of SC grow tremendously. My dream to have our own Center in the late 1950’s became a reality in 1961. We have accomplished numerable successful developments in Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind which is also a dream come true. The NFB of SC has passed 44 pieces of legislation which has improved the quality of life for blind South Carolinians. The NFB of SC will participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Commission for the Blind in May of 2016. The future is bright.
From the Editor’s Desk
By David Houck
First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Donald C. Capps (and his lovely wife Betty of course) for his 60 years of editing the Palmetto Blind. Beginning in 1957, Dr. Capps began to document the progress and growth of the then South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind, its 46 successful legislative battles on behalf of all blind South Carolinians which began in 1958, and the founding of the Federation Center of the Blind in 1961. As the Aurora Club became known as the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in the mid 1970’s, the Center experienced two expansions, there was rapid chapter and division growth, the establishment of the Bell Federation Center of the Blind in Laurens in 1981, and then realizing a two decade dream of establishing and developing the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind in 1978 was well documented. The progress of state agencies such as the Commission for the Blind, its creation, program development, abolishment of set-aside fees on blind vendors and its 50th anniversary celebration on May 6, 2016 were all documented in the Palmetto Blind. The progress of the 150 plus year old SC School for the Deaf and the Blind, its program expansion and various Presidents who served during Dr. Capps’ decades of service on its Board of Commissioners, and the various moves of SC Talking Book Services, their expansion of services as well as going from books on records, to reel to reel tapes, to cassette tapes and now to a digital format plus other electronic access to books is also well documented. The Palmetto Blind was produced from a mimeograph copier for print and a thermoform machine for braille and reel to reel tape for recordings in the early days to modern printers, digital email, web site listing, NFB Newsline, and brailling through an electronic interpoint brailler. Things have changed over 60 years of editing the Palmetto Blind but if you want to know the number one source in documenting work with the blind in South Carolina, just consult our Federation Center library of back issues of the Palmetto Blind. It is hoped that as I take on this immense responsibility, I can continue to produce the quality of work that Palmetto Blind readers have come to expect.
Dale, Gail and the Braille Tale
By the NFB BELL Coordinators
(In celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday)
I am Dale and I read Braille.
I am Gail, what is Braille?
Braille is dots, lots and lots,
Each dot has its special spot.
Why read Braille inquires Gail?
I’d rather climb a mountain trail!
Dale, these dots are hard to see,
Large print is fine, so let me be.
I do not have vision Gail,
That’s why I must read Braille.
Would you read Braille here or there?
I could read Braille anywhere.
O, dear Gail, I love my Braille!
Would you read it in a house,
Would you read it to a mouse?
I do read it in my house,
I do read it to my mouse.
I do read Braille here oand there,
I do read Braille anywhere.
O, dear Gail, I love my Braille!
How about that silly print?
Could you read it in a tent,
Could you read it in the night,
Could you read it without light?
I could read Braille at the park,
I could read Braille in the dark.
I do read Braille here and there,
I do read Braille anywhere.
O, dear Gail, I love my Braille!
Would you read Braille in a box,
Would you teach Braille to a fox?
I could read Braille in a box,
I could not teach Braille to a fox.
Why can’t you teach it to a fox?
He couldn’t read it through his socks!
I could teach Braille to a girl,
Hey, look at that, there goes a squirrel!
We could read it here and there.
You could read Braille don’t you see?
I do read Braille here or there,
I do read Braille anywhere.
O, dear Gail, I love my Braille!
My darling Dale, I think I see,
Won’t you teach Braille to me?
They tried to teach me in a school,
I told them it wasn’t cool.
But I was wrong, I don’t want to fail,
I think it’s time I learned my Braille.
We do read Braille here or there,
We do read Braille anywhere.
Bumps and dots are cool to read,
With this Braille we will succeed!
16 ounce NFB of SC Coffee Thermos
NFB of SC
119 S. Kilbourne Rd.
Columbia, SC 29205
“Live the Life You Want”