By Kay Tyberg
It was wonderful to see the ALDA members from near and far come together at the 2021 ALDAcon held at Niagara Falls, New York. It felt great to see members just an arm’s length away and not being timed by a virtual remote platform. What a jubilant feeling to hug, bump elbows, bump fists, smile, laugh, and relax without shortening our conversation like we have been using virtual remote platforms over the last year and a half! During preparation and planning of the event, the Convention Committee assured the attendees that health and safety protocols were the first and foremost priority for everyone’s health and safety. Even so, during this trying time with the COVID-19 pandemic, the delta variant, medical concerns, and restrictions in many states, it was difficult for all our members to join us. But know this: We missed you.
The keynote speaker, David Meyers, gave an astounding overview of the Gallaudet 11 working with NASA. Those with hearing loss should be proud there is an exhibit of their work. The speakers and presenters were great.
ALDA members recognized two distinguished members for attending ALDAcon for the last 32 years. WOW! This was my second ALDAcon and I wondered, “What have I missed in the last 30 years?” Needless to say, the answer was “More than I care to admit.”
The opening reception held at the Convention Center was well received with new and continuing members getting acquainted and becoming fast friends before the workshops even began. There was a delightful array of refreshments.
I love attending the workshops and certainly some of us wished we could attend two workshops held at the same time. Sometimes it can be a tough decision. You cannot avoid learning something or finding out the latest in developments from attending the workshops and presentations. Each one had something new and interesting! Table discussions were about what is happening in various parts of the country. Iit was wonderful to learn about the latest breakthrough in technology and available sources at the vendor exhibit.
The meals served at the Convention Center energized us for the next event. Since Halloween is in October, the colorful fall décor showcased various sizes of pumpkins, bales of hay stacked here and there, leaves falling from the trees, corn stalks around poles, and hot autumn weather.
And then there was Karaoke Night. Wow! It was awesome and fun. Of course, we danced to our hearts desire and sang to the music. Yes, people with hearing loss love music in our different ways. We let our hair down and kicked up a storm. The photo corner allowed folks to portray silly and semi-formal pictures.
During our down time, folks could eat at the Rainforest Café connected to the hotel, walk across the street to the Seneca Casino, visit Niagara Falls on the U.S. or Canadian side, and try out various local restaurants. My husband and I had a wonderful time learning the history of Niagara Falls and Buffalo.
ALDAcon 2021 was fantastic! As we said goodbye and departed for home, feelings of sadness sunk in but I remained gleefully happy I attended. At ALDA we are a family and being a part of that family is like none other. See you at the 2022 ALDAcon next year in San Diego!
Kay Tyberg is an ALDA member from Flinton, PA