Future Reflections         Convention Report 2010

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by Kim Cunningham and Sally Thomas

Five young ladies enjoy cards and conversation in the Teen SuiteFrom the Editor: Parents sometimes wonder what convention has to offer children who have outgrown Kids' Camp. The Teen and Tween Rooms provide structure and fun for kids too old for Kids' Camp and too young to sit happily through long meetings and workshops.

At an NFB national convention there are never enough hours in the day. The convention agenda is packed with lectures, workshops, and hands-on technology demonstrations, to say nothing of fun activities such as the barbecue and Karaoke Night. Families must prioritize the "must do's" and then hope to find time for everything else.

Younger children keep busy all day at NFB Kids' Camp. For older kids the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) provides the Teen and Tween Rooms. Open to any tween or teen attending the convention, the rooms are available for at least one session every day. Blind children, their sighted siblings, and the children of blind parents are all welcome to stop by.

The NOPBC provides two separate rooms: one for teens (ages thirteen to eighteen) and one for tweens (ages eleven to thirteen) During the NOPBC opening session, families are notified of the room numbers and contact information of the hosts. The NOPBC agendas are marked with the days and times the rooms will be open.
The rooms are offered as chaperoned hangouts, places where the teens can catch up with old friends or make new ones. Snacks and soft drinks are provided. Many teens bring lunch or dinner and eat together. Often the teens order a pizza to share.
In general, the teens and tweens spend their time doing what they do best: playing games, talking about their social lives, and of course discussing everything they've experienced in the exhibit hall. It is our desire to create a relaxed atmosphere where the kids can wind down and sort through the day.
As parents most of us have seen times when teens and tweens are less than kind to their peers. Somehow, we have not seen this happen in the Teen and Tween Rooms. No matter what activity is taking place, everyone is included. The kids are patient as they teach each other and try to answer questions. They share stories, listen to music, and laugh a lot! Hosting the Teen and Tween Rooms is a highlight of our time at convention.

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