Category: BC-Yukon Newsletters

Summer/Fall 2015 News

Oct 01 2015

Summer/Fall 2015 News


Hello, it’s that time of year when everything and everybody is starting up and getting ready for a new year of challenges and fun.  Are you ready?  Do you have exciting plans for your Chapter?  Is your Chapter anticipating getting together again after a quiet summer?  Hoping you all are as enthusiastic as I am?  And believe it or not I really am…


I am happy to announce that Darren Douma from Creston and Donna Rekve from Powell River have been appointed to the CCB BC-Yukon Division Board until next year’s conference in Kamloops.  They are both looking forward to helping make the Division even more successful.


Your Chapter should soon be receiving their membership packages from National.  Remember to get those National dues in early – by the beginning of December – in order to receive the rebate.


Call or email me or any other board member at any time if you have any questions or if you would like to chat…  Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter… – Ann McNabb President


CCB BC-Yukon Division 2016 Conference…

Information will be coming your way soon re the 2016 Division Conference.  Letting you know that every Chapter within the division is eligible to send a delegate.  We encourage you to start thinking about this now…


Important dates to remember…

Thursday April 21st – travel day for delegates

Friday & Saturday April 22nd & 23rd – Conference

Sunday April 24th – travel day home for everyone



Thompson Hotel, 650 Victoria Street, Kamloops, BC


At this time, we will be asking the Chapters to cover the cost of travel for their delegate including their travel meals.  The Division will be covering two lunches, one dinner and the banquet costs; and there is a complimentary breakfast at the hotel.  We are hoping to cover the Accommodation costs, but this may change depending on other factors.  Please remember, we are willing to assist where there is a financial need.  Hoping to see many of you next April…


Book of Honour 2016…

The CCB BC-Yukon Division is pleased to announce there will be two categories for next year’s Book of Honour presentation.  As is our tradition, a legally blind member will be one of the recipients and the other recipient will be a sighted volunteer member.  Nomination forms will be coming out in the next few months and we are hoping your Chapter will take the time to nominate one or two of your over the top members.


Tales from the Blind Side…

VocalEye’s 3rd Annual storytelling event features a new selection of true stories told by members of the blind and low vision community.  Tales from the Blind Side 3rd Edition will be hosted by Becky Armstrong with special guest storyteller – award-winning Actress, Writer and Director – Nicola Cavendish.


Tales from the Blind Side 3rd Edition will be held Saturday September 26 at 6:00 PM, in Moose’s Down Under Bar and Grill, 830 West Pender Street (between Hornby and Howe Streets, downstairs – wheelchair accessible).  Tickets are $25 and are available online at or call 604-364-5949.  Admission includes yummy appetizers and nifty door prizes.  Sighted guides are available from the Burrard SkyTrain – call 604-364-5949 to arrange.


All proceeds go to VocalEye programs that make theatre, arts and culture more accessible for people with vision loss,


Division Book Club News…

The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) BC-Yukon Division Book Club Chapter meets by toll free teleconference call at 9:00 AM on the forth Saturday of each month for about an hour.  The discussions can be anything that strikes the participants.  We don’t have any specific agenda or format that we follow, and even that can be up for discussion as time goes on.  We are a democratic organization aimed at talking about and having fun with the books we read.


The BC Book Club took a break over the summer and will return to action on the last Saturday of September, and subsequent months for discussion of the following books…


September 2015; The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

October 2015; Still Alice by Lisa Genova

November 2015; Angela’s Ashes by Frank Mc Cord

December 2015; No meeting.

January 2016; Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline


The BC-Yukon Division is seeking to expand the Book Club, so if you are interested please sign up.  Even if you can’t make Saturday meetings.  Once we reach about 10 members we will seek another day of the week for a second discussion group.  So, if you’re staying away because Saturdays aren’t your thing, join us anyway so that we can start up a second group.  More members are welcome, and if you can’t make the discussion groups that’s OK.  Read the books anyway, and email in your thoughts so that your participation will inspire and invigorate further discussion.


If you wish to be involved in the Book Club please be in touch with Kathy Sanness for call-in and membership details, and if you are struggling to download/order the list of books from your favourite Library please contact Albert Ruel for guidance and support.


Kathy Sanness:Albert Ruel:



— respectfully submitted by, Albert A. Ruel, Book Club Secretary/Treasurer


Chapter Call in Sessions…

Thank you to all who have taken the time to participate!  The CCB BC-Yukon Division will continue with the monthly chapter call in sessions and would like to invite a representative from each Chapter to participate.  This can be done from the comfort of your own home!  All topics are open for discussion and could include sharing information, fund raising ideas, Chapter concerns, Chapter successes and any other suggestions you may have as there will be no set agenda.  If there is an interest, guest speakers can also be arranged.


Remember a representative from your Chapter can be any person agreed upon by the Chapter to relay information back to the chapter.  Also, this does not have to be the same person each time; let’s give anyone who wishes a chance to participate.


These sessions will have a facilitator, who will be identified at the beginning of each call in session and will be responsible for keeping things on track and on time as well as report back should it be required.  Let’s all help keep the communication lines open for those members of the CCB BC-Yukon Division.


The next call in dates will be Thursday September 17th at 3:00PM, Tuesday October 20th at 10:00 AM, Tuesday November 17th at 3:00 PM and Thursday December 10th at 10:00 AM via teleconference line at 1-866-351-5099 when you hear hello press the number/pound key and then 229.  Reminder emails will be sent out, but if you wish a reminder phone call, have any suggestions of dates and times that would better suit your Chapter or if you require further details please contact Judy Macdonald at 250-706-0233 or by email

We look forward to speaking with you!


Lefty’s 2015 Blind Golf Adventures…

2015 certainly provided me with a lot of great opportunities and experiences in blind golf.  I had been chosen to attend the Vision Cup in Milan, Italy in June.  However, with hosting the 2015 ISPS Handa Canadian Blind Golf Championships at my home course, I felt I shouldn’t go.  However, one of our Canadian players was dealing with some major health issues and requested I take his place on the North America team.  This was such a great chance to participate in a Ryder Cup format and play against the best blind and visually-impaired players in the world.  I decided to go and I was so glad to have made the trip to Italy.  It was such an awesome experience competing and meeting such great individuals.  As a member of Team North America I was 2 for 3 in my matches and very happy with my play there.  However, the Rest of the World team came to play and retained the Vision Cup.


Following the Vision Cup was the ISPS Handa Canadian Blind Golf Championships, which I organized and hosted at my home course in Creston, BC.  We had 31 participants in the event, which came from all over.  We had 2 players from Scotland, 1 from England, 4 from the USA, and the rest from all over Canada from West coast to East coast.  All Provinces were well represented for the most part.  Everything went well due to a strong volunteer team who worked hard and made everyone’s experience here a memorable one.  Despite all the distractions with hosting this event, I was able to win the B3 sight category and become the Canadian Champion.  This win certainly felt great.  However, the bigger win from this particular event was the fact that it was a huge success and everyone that attended was so happy with how the whole event was planned and how it catered to them for the duration.


Two weeks after the Canadian Open, I had the opportunity to play in another Ryder Cup format in Truro, Nova Scotia, where they held the Nations Cup.  This event had Team Canada playing against Team USA.  The first two days was team play and I was paired with a gentleman from Montreal, Quebec.  We really hit it off as a team and played so well the first day, we were paired together for the second day as well.  As a team, we won both our matches to help Team Canada.  In the end, I was again 2 for 3 in my matches, and overall very happy with my play.  In the end Team Canada retained the Nations Cup.


The day following the Nations Cup was the Nova Scotia Invitational.  This was a two-day tournament of individual stroke play.  Day one I shot a great round of 84 and was only two strokes behind the leader, tommy Marx from Central Pennsylvania. Day two, I had briefly pulled ahead by two strokes after the first 5 holes.  Then we remained even through 12 holes.  Then Hole 13 I ran into some major problems and took a disappointing 9.  In the end, I came in second gross for the N.S. Invitational, and First overall Net winner.  So all in all, it was a great performance in Nova Scotia, and certainly another great experience.


Overall, blind golf offered such a great opportunity to meet a lot of people from all over the World who enjoy competing in golf, and who all share the same similar stories and experiences in coping with vision loss.  Again, we all go out on the course forgetting our adversities, play as hard as we can, and experience such an amazing game together.  Then after the round or the tournament is over, we have a great time together as a blind golf family!  So like 2014, 2015 is another great year of blind golf that I will cherish for a lifetime!


WHAT’s NEXT????  In July 2016, I will be at the Western Canadian Blind Golf Open & the ISPS Handa Canadian Blind Golf Championships in Alberta; and in November 2016 at the World Blind Golf Championships and Japan Open.  I am to have the opportunity to compete here, and will start fund-raising to be able to travel and represent Canada in Japan in 2016.

– submitted by Darren Douma


Camp Bowen Society for the Visually Impaired (CBSVI) News…

We are proud to announce Camp Bowen now has a newsletter.  Every edition will include “From the Front Desk” – a place where the community Coordinators will be able to share messages with the community, followed by a series of articles.


The newsletter will be available on, on, by E-mail, by telephone and in hardcopy Braille/Large Print.


To sign up for the newsletter, please contact your local community coordinator by calling +1 (778) 402-1392 (Victoria) or +1 (844) 692-6936.


A September Session will be held at Camp Bowen – a Weekend of Fun – from Saturday September 5th to Monday September 7th – for adults 19 years and older.


On August 9th, we had a table at the 24th annual Dog Days of Summer event, hosted by the Union Steam Ship Company.  We handed out information and talked about the summer opportunities we offer.  The event was a great way to connect with the local community on Bowen and all proceeds were donated to BC Guide Dogs.  Activities included dog contests, dog demonstrations and exhibitions, fun contests, a dog parade, Best-dressed dog, Best dog trick, Bobbing for wieners and more…

– submitted by Alex Jurgensen, Community Coordinator for the Bowen Island Region


A New Season of Described Performances…

This fall, the VOCALEYE DESCRIPTIVE ARTS CCB Chapter will launch its sixth season of described performances for audience members with vision loss.  “Live Description” is like described video, except the descriptions of the visual elements in the performance or event are spoken live and in real time for listeners with vision loss.


VocalEye’s live description begins ten minutes before the show starts – a brief introduction to the characters, costumes and locations.  Once the show begins, important visual details and physical actions are described between the lines of dialogue.  All descriptions are voiced live and in real-time by a trained Describer.  Only VocalEye users can hear the description through a small handheld receiver and single earpiece that can be worn on either ear.  Equipment can be picked up from the VocalEye table in the lobby up to one hour before the show starts.  Users are welcome to bring their own ear buds or portable headphones.  VocalEye typically describes only one performance in the show’s run and there is no charge for the equipment.


VocalEye describes more than twenty-four theatre performances and cultural events per year in Vancouver, Surrey and Richmond.  For a full listing of VocalEye’s described performances, events and services, please visit their website, or subscribe to their monthly newsletter,  VocalEye Membership is free for adults with vision loss.  To become a member, please contact Steph at 604-364-5949 or


Victoria’s Get Together With Technology Chapter Evolving…

Get Together With Technology is an independent peer support roup for vision-impaired assistive technology users.  It was founded in the spring of 2012 by Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman in Ottawa to promote the sharing of resources that improve access to information and general quality of life.  GTT has received excellent support from CCB, through provision of meeting space and grant administration assistance.


Just after I moved to Victoria from Toronto last summer, I met Albert Ruel and discovered that he was being paid by CCB to promote and coordinate development of GTT-like models in western Canada.  Of course, I was eager to get involved, having established a similar group in Toronto in the 80’s, and even one in NYC while I was living there in the mid-90’s.  When Albert explained that the only requirement to create a Victoria GTT chapter was for one person to volunteer and sign up as local coordinator, I went for it.


The three biggest challenges in getting any group like this off the ground seem to be:  Find a meeting location; get the word out; and, create content and activities that truly give people what they need, or even just what they would like.


Our first few meetings took place at Knox Presbyterian Church.  Then we were given free space at Fort Tectoria, Victoria’s high tech business and entrepreneurial incubation centre.  This was a particularly convenient and visible location, where we were definitely noticed by many in Victoria’s high tech community. And although they couldn’t continue to offer their conference room free of charge, we are still welcome to hold small group sessions in their large and centrally located general workspace.


But, starting in September, we will begin meeting at the Victoria central library, community meeting room, from 1:00 to 3:30 PM.  Meetings are always on the first Wednesday of the month, which in this case, will be September 2.


As for getting the word out, the library is very eager to cooperate in that regard and we’ll be doing some brainstorming on how to get the job done.  GTT Ottawa has received support from the local CNIB and the AEBC.  So far, GTT Victoria has received no response from CNIB Vancouver Island staff, though they have been on our mailing list for several months, but we hope that this situation will change in the near future.


Earlier in the year, we switched from a traditional Email list and began using the GTT Program Blog, where all chapters post information about their local activities along with general information and tips.


In June, we held a mini-technology fair with vendors from AbleTech and Humanware, who provided hands-on with a number of speech, large print and braille access solutions, with lots of time for discussion and questions.


As for finding out what people want or expect, well, that was the theme of our first GTT Victoria meeting, attended by over 30 people.  The questions on the table were: What do you hope to get out of the group, and what do you have to offer?  As a result, people have begun organizing themselves into groups to work on various projects such as learning screen-reader navigation with the Microsoft Office ribbon system, and September’s meeting will feature a presentation comparing the four top screen-readers.


We will also be working with the public library and the new audio book club that meets at the central library between 2:00 and 3:30 PM on the third Wednesday of the month.  There is also a monthly nation-wide teleconference with a new theme each month.  Topics have included: Victor Stream, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, just to name a few.


We are encouraged to see how large the Ottawa chapter has grown, and by the number of people who have come out to the recently organized meetings in Edmonton.  There has also been good response from Nanaimo.


Remember! All it takes is one person who is willing to start a chapter, and only a very few more to start the activity happening.  And as for possible activities, it’s easy to check the blog and identify things you can do locally. And when you’ve run even a small event, submit a report for posting to the blog; it will encourage others to do the same.  That’s how the organization will grow, and we hope you’ll get involved.

– submitted By Tom Dekker


100 Mile House Chapter News…

100 Mile House Chapter White Cane Club has been busier this summer because of the District of 100 Mile House 50th anniversary celebration.  We participated in a huge flea market during the weeklong celebration and made $400 – due to a large donation of baked goods by a local charitable citizen, her baking is amazing.  The following day we had a booth at the all day party in the park, good exposure and lots of fun, but not a money maker.  We did “Fun Photos” BY DONATION – using a great selection of hats, glasses, feather boas, veils etc… – it was a lot of fun.


We are looking forward to our September meeting and possible new members…



Chilliwack Chapter News…

As per usual Chilliwack White Cane Chapter has been busy over the summer.  In June, we went for our no host lunch to SeaLovers and most of us enjoyed fish & chips.  Later in June, we shared a barbecue lunch of hamburgers with our friends from the Chilliwack Opportunity Society.  We were lucky Heidi, Ray and others entertained us with guitar music and a sing-a-long until the HandyDart picked us up.


August brought the Abbotsford Blind & Visually Blind Society Chapter to us for a picnic at Gwynne Vaughan Park.  Again we were lucky to have the Mount Cheam Lions Club serve us up hamburgers and hotdogs.  I believe everyone had a good time and were well fed.  This time our no host lunch was at Bozzinis, who were accommodating as ever.


We are now looking forward to the coming year with lots of meetings, bowling, no host lunches, more fun etc…


Microsoft Helpline…

If you need assistance with your computer, the Microsoft Disability Help line is available at

1-800-936-5900 and they can tandem into your computer to assist if needed.


Please note that Windows 10 will only work with JAWS 16.



Technology at Work Client Services…

Technology at Work Client Services are available to individuals in all regions of British Columbia who meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

         Do you have a disability?

         Are you a resident of British Columbia?

         Are you 16 years of age or older?

         Are you legally entitled to work in British Columbia?

         Are you currently or just about to be employed, self-employed or volunteering?

         Do you have a disability related barrier in the workplace or travelling to the workplace, which can be addressed with Assistive Technology?


In order to be eligible, your disability must be affecting your ability to:

         do your job as an employee or in a self-employed position

         begin a job that you have been offered

         carry out a volunteer position

         get to and from the workplace


You might not qualify for the Technology at Work program if you are:

         Looking for work but do not have a specific job offer

         Able to obtain services through a Public Sector Organization

         Are actively case managed by a WorkBC service provider

If you fall under one of these categories, contact us and we can help to direct you to another organization in the community that can help you.


For a product or service to be eligible for full or partial funding through the Technology at Work Program it must be an assistive aid or device that will help to overcome a disability related barrier for you:

         in the workplace, or

         in travelling to the workplace


Types of technology that may be funded through this Program include:

         Assistive devices, equipment and technology

         Communication and hearing devices

         Ergonomic supports and other personal devices

         Personal attendant care services related to work

         Interpreting and captioning services

         Workplace access and modification


Items that are not funded through this Program include:

         Medical treatments and therapies

         Employment case management supports (e.g. job coaching, employment and skills training, wage subsidies, etc.)

         Non-employment related supports and services


Technology at Work is able to service individuals in all regions of British Columbia. For information on how to apply please contact us at:  Head Office and Resource Centre, 240-2250 Boundary Road, Burnaby, BC, V5M 3Z3 or phone 778-945-1211 or toll free 1-844-453-5506 or email


*** Please feel free to make contact with your Division Board…

Ann McNabb, President – 604-795-7230 –

Gerry Braak, 1st Vice President – 604-485-5028

Pat Chicquen, 2nd Vice President – 250-339-3904 –

Joyce Chevsky, Director – 250-338-9904 –

Bill Conway, Director – 604-740-5896 –

Darren Douma, Director – 250-428-8715 –

Lori Fry, Director/National Rep – 250-395-2452 –

Terry Pipkey, Director – 250-562-1892 –

Donna Rekve, Director – 604-483-4220 –