Besides the CEUs and practical information the best thing about national conferences is meeting all the people with whom you have discussions (both friendly and heated) on social media.
On the first day Larry Littleton from Hawaii found me sitting by a wall and stepped up to introduce himself IRL. He is just as funny and charming in-person as he is on ROI.
I met Adam Bartley, who’s mustache is just as epic as you suspect it might be.
I met Dirk Hilliard while we were observing the COR proceedings.
Sarah Baker invited me to visit the Purple Booth on the exhibitors’ floor, which I happily did and was lucky enough to run into Brian Jensen who I have not seen in forever.
All through the conference I have enjoyed meeting person after person who asked me if I was ‘Uncle Dale’, introduced themselves and told me how much they enjoy the blog.
Please, if you see me say hi. I love to meet you (and I have been known to give away a tee-shirt or two, grin).
The winner for my favorite moment of social media and IRL coming together this week has to be what happened yesterday.
During my presentation on the differences between each of the Titles of the ADA and other federal laws (more interesting that you might think) I looked out and saw a face I recognized. It took me a minute to realize it was Lisa Cryer. Lisa and I agree, disagree and generally enjoy intellectual sparing on a FaceBook Group called Reality of ASL Interpreting. It was an honor to have her there. When it was over I told her it took me a second to place from where I knew her. She said she had misplaced her credentials so she did not have her name tag on. We had a great (too short) chat and I had to run to a meeting. While I was walking to the meeting I had to stop and dig something out of my bag. I set my bag on a random table in the lobby, unzipped it, looked down at the table and…
I. KID. YOU. NOT!
I sent her a message that I found her credentials and was dropping it off at ‘lost and found’ on the way to my meeting.
Ten minutes later…
I love weird conference coincidences! Great to meet you Lisa!
Go to conferences. Regional. National. Whatever. They will teach you more than you could possibly learn and the opportunities to connect and knit our communities together is priceless!
p.s. Some people have asked, so here is the description of my workshop:
Federal Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are complex and confusing. It is vital for both deaf people and interpreters to understand the differences and similarities between, and even within, these laws. It is also vital to know the authorities through which each was passed in order to know which law applies to any specific situation, how a complaint is filed, what is and is not evidence of a violation and what remedies may be available if a violation is proven. There are so many differences it can be hard to keep it all straight! This workshop is presented as a “tour” of the laws as if each was its own country. “Uncle Dale Tours” lays each out like a map of a foreign land and the participants walk through each, see the sights and landmarks unique to each as well as their shared heritage. Each are issued a passport with certain knowledge points needed to earn a “visa” to the next law. It is equally fun and beneficial for the interpreter and community member. [0.125 PS]