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BethMarie

ACA's 2010 20th Annual Educational Conference

ACA 2010  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. WHO IS GOING THIS YEAR?

    • YES
      6
    • NO
      4


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Hi all,

I have been dealing with multiple issues mostly around my new service dog, so I have not been on for a while. This morning I sat down and read the latest issue of In Motion--I live in Canada and I get the issue far later than you in the US. As I read I realized there was no ad for the 2010 conference. In the new plan for the future I noticed educational events, but no national conference.

I was in shock and have been crying ever since. Without the ACA conference I would not be where I am today and I would still think I was the only person my age who still wanted to be very active missing a leg. I do not live in a big city and the only people I see all year that are like me is at ACA. I know I would be very depressed without the experience. Learning to run (more or less) has been a huge push for me to do more and more.

I know someone on the Forum must have made a comment, but I can not find it anywhere--I know I am probably not looking in the right place. Is anyone else very upset too? Is there anyway to protest this? For me the best part of ACA is being with other people "just like me." I have been to some great information sessions, but it is the people to come. I have made friends--from many regions--and I guess I will never see them again.

After ACA 2009, when there were rumours about no 2010 meeting, I wrote Kendra a letter expressing my dismay at the prospect and saying I would have like to meet her and see her around the meeting more. She has not had the courtesy of saying she even received it. Nothing? Although people have said she has the heart of an amputee, but she isn't and she sure is not showing me anything that says she knows how important it is to be with amputees. When I read that some of the educational opportunities (??) would be online I was dismayed--yes one more way to keep us isolated.

I am SO made and upset--is anyone else? :mad:

Thanks for listening.

Peace, Beth Marie

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Hi again,

I have fumed all day about there being no 2010 National meeting, so I wrote a letter to the board.

I am sharing it here with you. I would really like to know if I am the only one feeling this way.

I read my copy of In Motion that arrived yesterday. One of the things I was looking for was when and where the National Conference would be and there was nothing--NOTHING. It made me angry and I spent much of the day crying. I do not think the administration thinks amputees may have an opinion on something that affects our lives deeply.

It feels to me that the decision was made without any kind of broad consultation because "Mother knows what is best." I feel like what I as an amputee needs--yes needs, not just wants--is unimportant. What is important is the "business" plan. A high percentage of the board and all the staff in the central offices are not amputees, so you have no idea what is important and why. How can such people--as good a heart as they may have--make decisions about others lives not knowing at all what it is like to actually live as an amputee. The ACA is the only organization I have ever heard of that the great majority of people making decisions have no experience of those they serve. To me this is totally unbelievable and paternalistic. I truly believe this decision was made before the 2009 National meeting--it was hinted at--yes hinted--but not brought out in the open so it could be discussed. Why did you not talk to people at the meeting--were we irrelevant to the issue? Why were people kept in the dark? I guess it is so we would not make trouble by saying what we need.

At the 2009 conference our new president was hardly to be seen except at events which were high profile. Why was she not there talking to amputees, learning what their lives were like and what was needed. She works on a daily basis with only non-amputees, so how is she to reflect the amputee community. I wrote her a letter after the meeting expressing my concerns, but I was not given the respect of a reply. Why?

The first time I came to the annual meeting two years ago, my life turned around. I was discouraged and felt like I would be truly DISabled for the rest of my life. Through the conference I came to meet people like me--not just amputees, but people my age who wanted more than to watch the world go by. I had never met--nor I have yet to meet anyone in my area like that. The programing was excellent and I learned to run for the first time in my life--I came home believing I could do what I wanted to do if I would put the work into it. Before I had experienced physical therapist who decided for me that I wouldn't be able to do much--let's not put too much energy into her recovery she won't be able to do much. I came home with knowledge I could never have gained other places. The prosthetic I now wear and with it am very able to live life to the fullest I would not be wearing without actually seeing what was out there--how are amputees in areas other than large cities going to be able to experience the great variety of prosthetics that are out there? Are the companies that are generous sponsors going to continue to be sponsors without an avenue to vend their materials? Are we only going to know about a few options and not the many that we now can see?

Your idea of regional events is a very sub-par substitute. Can you promise the quality of program--people like Bob Galley--will be at every regional meeting. Will there still be the same wide presentation by many different companies--I don't know how you could promise that. Can you promise the wide variety of amputees who come to the events? The idea of on-line substitution is unbelievably insane--we are isolated enough and so we meet each other in virtual reality and that is suppose to meet some kind of need to know we are not alone.

The idea of moving the national meeting to various parts of the country makes sense allowing more people to attend. The ideas put forth would be fine for people who were interested in say, genealogy, collecting stamps, but not with an issue that affects how one lives in and experiences the world--one needs to listen to others experience and see others who are "just like me."

As you can tell I am very upset and I do not believe I am the only one. I am very committed to the amputee community. I have just restarted our amputee support group and will be training peer visitors. So, I am not criticizing without giving time and energy to amputees.

I have given you the respect of writing you first, but without some kind of response and action my next letter will be to all the sponsors of ACA.

Sincerely,

Beth Marie Murphy

Saskatoon, SK

Canada

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You stated your position very well Beth Marie.

Without the members, there would be no ACA. They have worried about the numbers dropping, (same city for 3 years and a tanked economy) people attending the conference, and funding.

Well, first of all, we all have ideas that need listened to. Out of many very often will come a few very good ideas.

Now, if more members would take the same action.

They haven't said there was NO conference yet, they did say that they were considering it, and that they would be deciding. However, it sure looks that way.

Good Job.

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If my memory serves me correctly, we used to find out about the conference late fall or early winter. We got used to knowing where it was going to be because of being in Atlanta for three years straight. I could be wrong, but I'm hopeful.

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I'm still hoping myself; I did see a "tentative" mention of a national conference existing in an email I got about the ACA's future plans...but it was such a fleeting reference, and with so little detail, that I don't know if I was more reassured or alarmed by it. I do agree with you, BethMarie...a series of regional conferences is likely to be much less impressive than the national conference. I can see a need for some regional activity, as some folks really can't afford to go jetting all over the country, but regional gatherings should be IN ADDITION to the national conference, not instead of it.

I'm also finding myself frustrated with the lack of outreach to the west coast from the ACA folks back east. (I know, I know...I need to get more involved there, myself......) During the time when we still had regional reps, and there was a tremendous problem with the position of regional rep on the west coast, I heard NOTHING about who was "in charge" or even WHETHER someone was "in charge" out here. There was no communication at all. I'm now due to have my peer visitor "re-training"...and the times that have been offered to me, so far, are ALL based on what is convenient for the east coast staff...in other words, a person on the west coast who works a regular job would have to make a point of taking off work in order to attend the online training. Can't there be some effort made to have at least the occasional session that "works" for the left coast?

There's a slight possibility that I may be able to retire next June...if that happens, I may be able to devote some more time to assisting (or maybe just "irritating") the powers-that-be at the ACA!

BethMarie, I think your letter does a good job of expressing your own frustration with the direction the ACA seems to be taking...good job!

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It never occurred to me that there wouldn't be a conference. That would be a HUGE disappointment to so many people.

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So what do we do? Not pay our dues in protest? What's the answer here?

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I will write my letter. I will cancel my membership. This is not serving the amputee community. This is just about the last straw for me. I decided to see what Kendra had to offer and I'm not liking what I see.

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Neal,

I am with you. I bet they would be really shocked if there was a very large cancellation of memberships--maybe ?? it will get there attention.

Peace, Beth Marie

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Hi All,

I got this note today from ACA:

"Beth,

Thank you for inquiring into the ACA 2010 National Conference. It was announced at the 2009 conference that we were in the middle of a 5 year strategic plan and that we would announce the information for the 2010 conference in the fall. However, we did have an Educational Workgroup Meeting on October 23 & 24 and currently there is a proposal to take to the Board of Directors and once we have their approval we will make the announcement.

I do want you to know that I have forwarded your letter to Kendra Calhoun, President and CEO of the ACA.

Please see our website at http://www.amputee-coalition.org/conference/index.html for more information and updates. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Again, thank you and have a great day."

So, I guess it is really important to "rally the troops" and tell the Board how each one of us feels.

Peace, Beth Marie

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I promise this is my last note for the day :unsure: I have just finished letters to all on the Board with a carbon copy to Kendra--I don't want the main office to toss my letter and pretend it does not exist. I researched addresses for the Board, if anyone wants a copy please let me know. For privacy I don't want to post it here; although I found them on public areas.

Peace.

Beth Marie

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Hi All,

I got this note today from ACA:

"Beth,

Thank you for inquiring into the ACA 2010 National Conference. It was announced at the 2009 conference that we were in the middle of a 5 year strategic plan and that we would announce the information for the 2010 conference in the fall. However, we did have an Educational Workgroup Meeting on October 23 & 24 and currently there is a proposal to take to the Board of Directors and once we have their approval we will make the announcement.

I do want you to know that I have forwarded your letter to Kendra Calhoun, President and CEO of the ACA.

Please see our website at http://www.amputee-coalition.org/conference/index.html for more information and updates. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Again, thank you and have a great day."

So, I guess it is really important to "rally the troops" and tell the Board how each one of us feels.

Peace, Beth Marie

Who wrote the note to you Beth Marie?

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Hi Everyone!

Sorry I haven't been around for while - started a job 4 days a week in the Spring - big transition from not working, lol.

I don't know if canceling subscriptions is the answer - writing letters is good - maybe a threat of canceling? maybe a petition?

Sorry I missed you all this year at the conference.

Hugs,

Susan

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If you have attended the conferences in the past, check your email to see the litany on future plans from the ACA.

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I don't like all she had to say, but there will be an annual conference in the fall of 2010 at a site "in the western USA". YYYIIIPPPEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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Like I told Tammie, I understand the need to reach more amputees. But I think they are seriously underestimating the power of the conference. On line courses and pod casts are boring, boring, boring.

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This sounds promising! I'm also not a big fan of podcasts and online courses, either, Marcia, but I can see how they would reach folks who aren't able to travel to the conferences. I may actually be able to attend if the conference is being held in the fall in the west!

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We'll just have to recruit as many amps as we can to make it the biggest and best. I'll admit that I've only been looking at the total numbers of attendees. Not the number of amputees in attendance. It does seem low that only a third were amputees.

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OK.....I'll bite!!! What is the beginning of this thread? Kep or Neal, fill me in. You can just leave a message or whatever for me.

Here in the far north, I have received no info concerning the ACA conference etc........so please provide.

Until then, I understand that there is going to be something. Where ever........when ever, I will be there also!! I just need to know what the hell is going on!!

ED

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We'll just have to recruit as many amps as we can to make it the biggest and best. I'll admit that I've only been looking at the total numbers of attendees. Not the number of amputees in attendance. It does seem low that only a third were amputees.

How many of the 2/3's not in attendance do you think even know about the ACA?

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I suppose that the two thirds that attending that aren't amputees are spouse's, family, caregivers, vendors,staff, etc. that are making up the difference.....All things considered, you would think that out of so many amputees, in the US alone, there might possibly be more than what there has been attending the conference.....

Eddie, you know about as much as we do, you aren't lost or left out. All we know is that there will be a conference, sometime this fall, somewhere west of where it has been held.....The specifics will be released later....As soon as some of us know, I'm sure we will let everyone know....We'll make it a point to post it here....

Don't forget Marcia, Neal, Eddie, that 2011 will be the ACA twenty-fifth anniversary...... They are having a conference then as well....

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Don't forget Marcia, Neal, Eddie, that 2011 will be the ACA twenty-fifth anniversary...... They are having a conference then as well....

That's not exactly what the letter says. It says a national celebration with educational programing. The way the ACA has taken to putting a spin on things, that could have several conotations.

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I don't like all she had to say, but there will be an annual conference in the fall of 2010 at a site "in the western USA". YYYIIIPPPEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Get ready, Neal. We're coming to YOUR house!

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OK.....I'll bite!!! What is the beginning of this thread? Kep or Neal, fill me in. You can just leave a message or whatever for me.Here in the far north, I have received no info concerning the ACA conference etc........so please provide.Until then, I understand that there is going to be something. Where ever........when ever, I will be there also!! I just need to know what the hell is going on!!ED
FYI Eddie and anyone else.Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 13:08:12 -0500

Amputee Coalition of America, Message From the President & CEO and the Board Chair
Amputee Coalition of America, Message From the President & CEO and the Board Chair

Dear Mr. JOHN VACCA:

The Amputee Coalition of America would like to thank you for attending and supporting our national conference over the years. Because you are one of 203 amputees across the country who has consistently attended our national conference, we want you to be one of the first to know about our plans for the 2010 national conference and our educational programming beyond 2010.

We have spent the last several months analyzing all of our educational programs, a process that involved ACA staff, ACA members, a work group representing a cross-section of interests and individuals (and that included members of "the 203"), and, lastly, the ACA Board of Directors. Based on all of that analysis and all of those inputs, the ACA Board approved the following educational plan:

  • The Amputee Coalition of America will host a 3-day national conference in fall 2010. We are currently evaluating two sites — both in the Western part of the country. We will announce the location as soon as the site visits and negotiations are completed.
  • In 2011, the ACA will host a national celebration of our 25th Anniversary, which will include educational programming.
  • In 2012, the ACA will begin hosting a national conference every other year, with 2012 being the first "off year."
  • Beginning next year, we will explore new types of educational programming so that we can reach larger numbers of amputees in the long run and develop a robust "off-year" program schedule.
  • Beginning in 2012, we will pilot test some of these new forms of education, which may include regional educational events, webinars, podcasts, etc.

Our goal in making these changes is simple: to provide better educational programs that will more effectively reach a larger number of amputees while building greater awareness of the ACA's programs and services. We would like to briefly explain why we believe some changes are necessary and how they will help us meet the needs of all amputees using the limited resources that we have.

Our Commitment to Reach More Amputees

There are nearly 2 million people with limb loss living in the United States, and approximately 185,000 people in the U.S. have an upper or lower-limb amputation each year. But in 2009, only 841 people attended the national conference, and only 288 of those were amputees.
Although we recognize the great importance and positive impact of our national conference on the lives of those who attend it, we also acknowledge that it is failing to reach enough people. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of amputees will never have the opportunity to attend a national conference. The attendance numbers and statistics demonstrate that we have to find more effective ways to reach out to amputees in the communities where they live and work.

Our Commitment to Develop a More Effective,
More Exciting and More Accessible Educational Program

Education is a key component in the ACA mission, and one of the key objectives in our 2015 Strategic Plan is to "expand our educational programming to be more accessible and meaningful" to people with limb loss across their lifespan.

We are therefore assessing new ways to reach out to the vast majority of amputees who can't attend our national conference, as well as developing targeted programs to address people's needs at different stages in their lives.

Our Commitment to Get the Best Results for Our Educational Resources

The ACA has limited resources for educational programming, and we have a responsibility to deploy those resources wisely. We take that responsibility seriously.

While we understand the benefit the conference provides to those who are able to attend, the cost in both staff time and dollars cannot be understated, particularly when such a small percentage of the amputee population attends the event. By going to an "every other year" schedule beginning in 2012, we will be able to devote more time and resources to develop other types of educational programming that offer greater promise for reaching more amputees.

By using our resources to develop less expensive, less staff intensive, more effective ways of reaching amputees in the communities where they live and work, we will be able to reach more amputees when they need us, where they need us, and how they need us.

Our Commitment to Seek the Input of Amputees and Put Your Needs First

We cannot state it any more simply: amputees made this decision; it was not made for them. When we surveyed people from our database about ACA's educational outreach, preferred formats, and education interests and motivators, the Annual Conference did not make the "top 5" educational programs that respondents thought the ACA should provide.

Instead, the results showed that the top 3 educational products and activities respondents think the ACA should provide are (1) an online library, (2) printed educational materials, and (3) regional conferences. The Annual Conference ranked 6th on the list.

Importantly, this was not a small sample of respondents. We surveyed 8,856 people. We received 1,190 responses — a well-above-average response rate.

We also convened an ACA Education Work Group with wide representation of the limb-loss community, including those with upper, lower and bilateral limb loss; prosthetic and nonprosthetic users; longtime and sporadic conference attendees; vendor representatives; a physician; ACA board members; and amputee representatives from various ACA committees. This work group reviewed the survey data and the data from our national conferences over the past 5 years. They looked at attendance data and financial data. They reviewed new tools for educational programming distribution, considered whether regional programs might reach more amputees, and generated ideas for the ACA's 25th Anniversary celebration.

To a person, those in the Education Work Group agreed that reaching 288 amputees at the national conference is good, but not enough.

While the ACA Board of Directors ultimately approved the plan for our educational program, the voices of many amputees helped forge that strategy.

Conclusion

You might ask why we waited until now to announce our plans. As you can see from the history — recited here in summary form — we have performed a comprehensive evaluation of the current state of our educational programming generally, have analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of our Annual Conference specifically, and have spoken to a broad cross-section of the amputee community to reach our conclusion. The upside to this process is that we now believe we have a plan in place to make our educational programming even better in the future. The downside is that getting to that place takes time, and we hope you understand why we were unable to come to you sooner with this information.

We hope you share our aim of reaching more amputees and that you will continue to support the ACA in our efforts to positively impact the lives of all amputees. Additionally, we hope that you will support our vision for developing innovative educational programming that meets the needs of the growing number of people living with limb loss.

You have been some of our greatest supporters in the past. We hope that we can also count on your support in the future, and we look forward to seeing you in the fall of 2010.

Sincerely,

Kendra Calhoun,
Kendra Calhoun
ACA President & CEO

David McGill,
David McGill
Chair, ACA Board of Directors

www.amputee-coalition.org

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