GDUI Announcement, March 15, 2016

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Watch Your Inbox! This time the survey’s from us. Within the next day or so, you can expect to find a very short questionnaire which the GDUI Convention Program Committee created and sent out this morning, to assist them as they finalize plans for this summer’s GDUI convention in Minneapolis, and for future conventions as well. There are so many topics to choose among – canine health, canine behavior, public acceptance, family support, training options, fake service dogs, public transit, Uber and LYFT and all things sourced by crowds, … – You see what we mean! What direction do you want the program planning committee to take, what have you liked about GDUI conventions, what have you not, what programs would you like to see? The brief questionnaire, which is pasted directly into the e-mail message, as well as attached – there’s a link to an online iteration too, — shouldn’t take long to complete, and the turn-around time is soon. We are hoping you’ll send the results back to Caitlin, who, along with others who work on the GDUI Programs Committee, created the survey for us, by March 20. We appreciate your help and look forward to your feedback.

No e-mail? Don’t worry, Bob Acosta will include the survey questions when he reads this announcement aloud, and you can call the GDUI toll-free number if you prefer, to share your convention preferences with us. Thanks for participating, and thanks, Bob, for spending the extra time on the recording, and Sarah, for helping people who wish to respond by phone  by collecting and forwarding their feedback to the GDUI Convention Program committee.

It’s Almost Time for the GDUI Springtime Radio Auction! Our auction, scheduled for Sunday, April 3, from 7:00 -9:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time on the ACB Radio Events station will feature great prizes for bids to appeal to every interest (and many dogs!). Mark your calendars, and prepare for an evening of fun and friendly competition as Bob Acosta and Ken Metz and the ACBRadio crew fire up the crowd and raise funds to help us with the cost of providing GDUI’s annual universally accessible ballot online and via telephone! Auctions are  fun, and participation via ACBRadio’s Events Station is easy – especially if you have the ACB app (downloadable for free in the Apps Store) on your smart phone! Watch our web site for more information and easy instructions for participating by ACBRadio and old-fashioned or new-fangled telephone connections.

Speaking of ACBRadio –I was pleased to talk with Debbie Hazelton from ACBRadio about GDUI, what’s new and what’s coming up, on ACBRadio’s new Affiliates in Action program. I hope you’ll give the show a listen. You can download the podcast for March, which features Rick Moran’s interview with CCB president, Jeff Thom, and my conversation with Debbie Hazelton. We hope you’ll give the program a listen! Go here online, and follow the link to the Affiliates in Action show for March 2016:, or listen, as I did, via the ACB App – It’s so easy to use and convenient too, since it’s right there on your  phone (which is already in your hand!).

And, soon you’ll be able to listen to a new – and exciting – program on ACBRadio. It’s called The Juno Report! Dan Kysor and Will Burley and a whole host of other guide dog and radio enthusiasts are going to be helping us with this project. Watch for future announcements for more details concerning GDUI’s new program coming soon to ACBRadio! And, if you’re one of those guide dog and radio enthusiasts who would like to help with “The Juno Report,” let us know. You can send e-mail to me or Will), because, as always in GDUI, the more the merrier!

If you’ve somehow fallen behind checking through all of that e-mail piling up inside your In Box, conduct a search with your screen reader’s “Find” command, to locate the latest issue of PawTracks, which Nolan and Dixie sent out last week end. Thank you, Nolan, for another wonderful issue of PawTracks!

If you live in the Chicago, IL area – or you visit the Windy City from time to time, Sandy Guttman, a Graduate student in the Museum and Exhibition  Studies Program at University of Illinois at Chicago, would appreciate your completing a brief survey regarding your experiences, as a person who is blind or visually impaired, at museums. Here’s the notice Sandy  shared with us:

Do you go to museums?

Do you have something to say about your experiences at museums?

Is there room for improvement at the museums you have visited?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consider participating in a brief 10 to 15 minute survey on museum experiences of visually impaired visitors. Your participation in this survey will foster a better understanding of what it takes to make a museum experience both enjoyable and successful. The objective of this study is to collect data that will result in offering accessibility suggestions for improvements in museums in the Chicago, IL, area. Any input or feedback you offer will aid those working in the museum field in creating more inclusive and accessible spaces.

Link to survey:

Do you know a teenager who is blind who would love to participate in a summer adventure? Here’s an announcement about a summer camp opportunity in the beautiful state of North Carolina, that sounds fabulous!

Registration is now open for the 2016 SEE Adventure Camp (for students in grades 7-12 who are blind or close to it).

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

What:  An overnight outdoor adventure camp for kids who are blind or have a severe visual impairment, and who are ready to stretch their legs and hit the trail.  We plan to hike, raft, climb, swim, and zip in and around the Nantahala Gorge in Western North Carolina.  We’ll stay in bunkhouses at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, make most of our own meals, and spend some time around the campfire too.

Where:  Nantahala Outdoor Center, Bryson City, North Carolina (about an hour west of Asheville)

When:  Monday, June 20 through Thursday, June 23, 2016

Who:  Camp instructors include certified Teachers for the Visually Impaired and Orientation & Mobility Specialists, along with a few other adventurous souls.  We’ll be joined by Trevor Thomas from Team FarSight Foundation, a blind hiker who has logged over 20,000 miles in the backcountry.

Cost:  FREE.  The SEE Adventure Camp is supported by A Brighter Path Foundation, with help from Team FarSight Foundation, and is FREE of charge for all students.  There are only 12 spaces available for the 2016 camp.

Contact:  For more information and eligibility guidelines, visit 2016 SEE Adventure Camp, or contact Jay Hardwig at

To see a video from last year’s Adventure Camp, visit

 The GDUI Advocacy Committee  met this past week to consider the proliferation of bills that are being introduced in states across the country in an attempt to staunch the increasing prevalence of so-called “fake service dogs” wherever

we attempt to travel with our own (legitimate) service dogs. We agree, it’s a problem. But, some of these proposed bills are significantly problematic, making life

considerably more difficult for legitimate service dog users than for those who attempt to masquerade their pets as service dogs and themselves as people with disabilities. The committee is pursuing three  strategies: First, we intend to promote our own GDUI Policy Statement which informs business owners about their rights to refuse entry to misbehaving dogs while explaining how to tell the differences between legitimate service animals and pets masquerading as trained service animals, sometimes wearing counterfeit paraphernalia, and often exhibiting uncontrolled misbehaviors; and second, writing a model bill, which GDUI affiliates can promote and share with their state legislators, which can address the problem of proliferating “fake” service dogs, while preserving our civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Finally, we plan to include the problem and the proliferation of state bills which attempt to address the problem as a topic to be addressed at our GDUI convention in July in Minneapolis. In the interim, the GDUI Advocacy committee will continue by collecting data, sharing information, and assisting any guide dog users in any states who need to address these important issues with their state legislators in an intelligent manner that addresses problems associated with the proliferation of “fake service dogs,” while preserving and protecting the legitimate rights of guide dog users, as guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Time is flying, as it always does when we have a lot to do! If you’re considering nominating yourself for one of the three GDUI Board directorships, or for president, first vice president, second vice president, treasurer, or secretary, remember: Your application is due to the Nominating Committee by March20! For all the details, visit this link:

 To reserve an opportunity to make your preferences known and your vote counted in this year’s GDUI election, remember the Record Date is March 31. So, pay your dues and complete your membership application by that date. Here’s a link to renew your membership in GDUI or join us for the first time, or once again:

One More Thing: GDUI’s next board meeting is scheduled for March 19, a week from this coming Saturday, at 1:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. Please come, all members are welcome to attend, listen, and contribute to the discussion at the end of the meeting. Listen and participate, via conference call, at712.432.0075, Meeting Code 919245-Pound. We look forward to your participation in the governance of Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Until we meet again via our board meeting or these announcements, take care of yourselves, follow your guide dogs into the amazing and multitudinous delights of the springtime that’s arriving in just about every region of the country! Spring truly is “busting out all over!” Make the most of the sunshine and the flowers and your dog’s endless enthusiasm for the lovely aromas and warm sunshine of springtime in America.


Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Will Burley, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436

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For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic recordings of every announcement. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646-653-1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated concurrently with each new online announcement.

We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.