Member Handbook html

Welcome to

The North Dakota

Association of the Blind, Incorporated

NDAB Member Handbook

Adopted May 2014, Last Revised July 2023

NDAB logo is the shape of the state of North Dakota in gold bordered in navy blue with NDAB in large navy-blue letters across the state

NDAB Logo is the shape of the state of North Dakota in gold bordered in navy blue with NDAB in bold navy-blue letters horizontally across the state.


Welcome 4

Guiding Principles 5

Mission Statement 5

Vision Statement 5

Motto 5

Purpose 5

History of NDAB 6

Special Projects 7

Membership 11

Member Duties and Responsibilities: 11

NDAB – Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind 12

Conventions 14

Convention Attendance Incentives 15

Financial Support 15

Advocacy and Legislation 16

Newsletter– The Promoter 20

Communication Connections 20

Mailing Address 21

Website and Facebook 21

Email Connection 21

Leadership List 21

Zoom 21

NDAB Adult Summer Camp 22

NDAB Summer Camp Guidelines 22

Sports and Recreation 24

NDAB Recreation Retreat Guidelines 25

Ski for Light 27

Life Enrichment 28

Life Enrichment Guidelines 28

Scholarships 30

Lions Video Magnifier Program 31

Awards 33

Honorary Membership 33

Lifetime Membership 33

Ed Christensen Award 34

Robert John LePage Service Award 35

Friend of NDAB Award 36

Advocate of the Year Award 37

Appendix A: Dispute Resolution Policy 37

Appendix B: Award Recipients 40

Honorary Membership List 40

Lifetime Membership List 41

Edwin Christensen Award List 41

Robert John LePage Service Award List 43

Friend of NDAB Award List 44

Advocate of the Year Award List 44

Appendix C: Historical List of Officers 44



We welcome you as a member of The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated (NDAB). We have gathered some information about NDAB to help you get acquainted with our organization. We hope that you will find this Member Handbook useful and informative.

Explore and find out about our history, mission, vision, motto, and purpose. The constitution and bylaws are not included. If you would like a copy, contact the Membership Chair, or go to To find a list of the current board members and committee chairpersons, please refer to our newsletter, The Promoter. Reading about who we are and what we do will give you an idea of how you may become involved within the organization. There are many opportunities ahead for you as an NDAB member: advocacy and fundraising, scholarships and awards, relationship building and fun.

By becoming an active member, you are helping our organization stay strong and vital and you will have many opportunities to experience valuable personal growth.

We have a history to be proud of and a bright future ahead. We are glad that you have joined the organization and will be a part of our efforts in making the world a better place for people with vision loss.

NDAB Executive Board

Guiding Principles

Mission Statement

We strive to enhance the way of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, to encourage employment opportunities and to educate the public about sight loss.

Vision Statement

Persons with vision loss will live a successful, productive life.


Not they who lack sight but they who lack vision are blind.


Constitution Section 1. Purpose of NDAB shall be:

  1. To promote the educational, social, and cultural betterment of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, particularly for those persons who reside in North Dakota.
  2. To encourage and assist persons who are blind or visually impaired, especially those with recent sight loss, to develop their abilities and potentialities so that they can assume their rightful role in the community.
  3. To work with organizations and agencies in the interests of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
  4. To strive to enhance the way of life for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
  5. To improve opportunities for employment for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
  6. To promote public understanding of vision loss and of the capabilities of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

History of NDAB

The year 1936 was memorable because of the drought, choking dirt storms, economic depression, and great unemployment. To many, it was also memorable because this was the year that NDAB had its beginning. There was a growing need for someone to speak for people of North Dakota who are blind, and who could speak for them better than those who are blind themselves?

The movement was sparked by a young piano tuner, Melvin Eckberg of Jamestown, in collaboration with Miss Bessie Brady, a staff member of the North Dakota School for the Blind at Bathgate.

A meeting was held in Jamestown, North Dakota, August 23-24, 1936. Eleven people attended, nine of whom were visually impaired. At this meeting, NDAB was born, and a constitution adopted.

NDAB became affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind in 1944. Through this affiliation, NDAB extended its local and state influence to the national level.

In 1964, NDAB officially became the ninth affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), a national organization which was established in 1961. Through its affiliation with ACB, NDAB continues its influence nationally. From its ACB affiliation, many far-reaching benefits, through advocacy and legislation, are extended to individual members.

Perhaps the most difficult and undoubtedly the most gratifying piece of legislation was completed in 1961 after 10 years of hard work by the members of NDAB and many service and religious groups. This dealt with changing the location of the State School for the Blind from the small community of Bathgate, North Dakota in the extreme northeast corner of the state, to the city of Grand Forks on land adjacent to the campus of the University of North Dakota. The new school, first occupied in the fall of 1961, stands as a monument to all the people of the state who relentlessly fought for progress in the quality of education for students who are blind.

The name was officially changed by the legislature in 2001 to North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB). This name more accurately describes the current mission of providing training and education to those who are blind or visually impaired, no matter what their age. Currently, services may be provided in an individual’s home, workplace, or community, in addition to training at NDVS/SB.

Special Projects

An educational project developed by NDAB in 1964 was a summer school session designed to help newly blinded adults adjust to their sight loss. This was a six-week course held at the Fargo YWCA and directed by Ester and Charlie Kauffman.

A one-week summer camp program initiated in 1971 replaced the previous summer school session. The first two years of summer camp were held at Lake Ashtabula Campgrounds. This program is currently held annually at the Elks Camp Grassick on Lake Isabel near Dawson.

In 1980, NDAB developed a Family Adjustment Seminar. The purpose being to help individuals experiencing various degrees of sight loss and their families cope with their changing situation and achieve better communication and understanding within the family. The original three-day weekend platform adapted to a one-day event which was last held in 2011.

Dining in the Dark is an annual collaborative event by the Minot Lions and NDAB. Diners wear blindfolds while they eat their meal. Each table has an NDAB host. The hosts share helpful eating hints and tips and answer general blindness questions during the meal. The purpose of the event is to educate the public about sight loss and the need for blindness skills training. Through this shoulder-to-shoulder exchange, participants get to know about us, our mission, and our organization.

A Youth Committee (later renamed Sports and Recreation Committee) was established in 1981 to promote recreational activities involving people of all ages who are visually impaired. Events such as bowling, cross-country skiing, tandem biking, canoeing, and beep baseball have been encouraged. The committee provides whatever adaptive equipment is necessary for these and other sports.

In June 2018, McQuade Distributing included NDAB as a charity of that year’s softball tournament. The funds received focused on purchasing new adaptive recreational items and inspired the committee to begin a Recreation Retreat.

In 1990, a college scholarship fund was established. One $2,000 and two $1000 scholarships are awarded annually to three students seeking a postsecondary degree. Recipients must be visually impaired to receive the scholarships.

Emma Skogen of Williston, North Dakota, remembered NDAB with a special bequest in her will. A scholarship fund was created in her memory. The Emma Skogen Scholarship Fund was established in the fall of 2004 and welcomes applications from students who attend or plan to attend a vocational or trade school. The NDAB Scholarship Committee awards one $1,000 scholarship annually through proceeds from this fund.

During the 2022 state convention, members voted for two $2,000 scholarships for Teachers of the Visually Impaired to be funded with funds from the Olga Neal Estate. Olga was a vision teacher and a Lifetime member of NDAB. It is our hope the scholarships will both honor Olga and address the need of qualified vision teachers in our state.

Believing that high‑tech equipment is an important way to enhance lives and employment opportunities, we have sponsored computer workshops to instruct and assist individuals to use equipment such as scanners, computers, and braille and speech output devices.

In 2010, NDAB joined efforts with the North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, NDVS/SB, and the Lions Foundation of North Dakota to form the Lion’s Video Magnifier Program.

A committee consisting of two members from each group spent much time researching and found the need for 120 video magnifiers. Since then, many applications have been received and video magnifiers have been placed throughout the state.

Because of the extraordinary efforts in initiating and obtaining equipment for the program, NDAB bestowed its first Honorary Membership in 2016 to Terry Nelson of The Low Vision Store in St. Paul, MN. Although Terry died in August of 2020, his family continues his legacy of demonstrating and providing adaptive equipment in the tri-state area.

To stimulate member involvement, in October 2012, the board approved the NDAB Member Participation Incentive Program (PIP), a competitive activity designed to result in positive organizational and personal growth while creating greater public awareness about sight loss.

In 2015 the PIP was discontinued due to lower-than-expected participation. Much was accomplished over the three years including: seventeen participating members, $20,666.60 in funds raised and twelve new members recruited. Public education and awareness efforts reported were two presentations, four displays and one written article. More difficult to measure is the enthusiasm the program created among the membership.

One of the first steps in forming a strategic plan for an organization begins with defining a clear and concise vision statement. A Vision Statement Contest, open to the entire membership, was conducted. Alexandra Engraf announced the cash prize contest winners during the 2013 awards banquet. The selected vision statement written by Helen Baumgartner is “Persons with vision loss will live a successful, productive life.” NDAB continues to make progress toward achieving the identified goals within the organization’s strategic plan.


From its small beginning of eleven members, NDAB has grown in influence and membership. Anyone, sighted or with vision loss, is eligible to become a member. Those 14 to 17 are junior members and those 18 and older are adult members. We welcome our sighted friends, relatives, and encourage other interested persons to join with us and become members.

Paper membership renewal forms are sent out annually on January 1st. February 1st is the date dues need to be received by NDAB either by mail or the online membership renewal form found under membership at where online payment may also be made.

Member Duties and Responsibilities:

As a member, you are encouraged to do the following:

  1. Know the rules of parliamentary procedure. Robert’s Rules of Order can be found at
  2. Prepare yourself for leadership roles.
  3. Volunteer and share your time, talents, and skills by doing tasks for the organization.
  4. Accept committee assignments and perform the tasks given in a timely manner.
  5. Work harmoniously with other members even though they don’t always agree with you.
  6. When the bylaws or other rules of the organization are not followed, or when members’ rights are being taken away in a meeting, members have a responsibility to courteously call the violation to the attention of the membership.
  7. Keep informed about the organization by reading the newsletter, the Promoter.
  8. Encourage fellow members with any communication available: calls, emails, letters…
  9. Attend and participate in the annual state convention.
  10. In debate, each member has the right to sway the membership to his or her point of view. If a member votes with the losing side, the member must respect the fact that the majority rules and cheerfully carry out the membership’s wishes.
  11. Be impartial, fair, and courteous in meetings. This means respecting the rights of others, especially in debate.
  12. Call out a point of order only when a serious breach of the rules has taken place. Members should listen attentively and courteously to the other members and wait in turn to speak.
  13. Ensure that majority rule does not become mob rule by protecting the rights of the minority and by not gaveling through or railroading through any business. It is important that each member diligently follow this principle, because today one member might side with the majority, and tomorrow side with the minority.

14. NDAB has a clearly written procedure and accountability structure that will enable all members to report serious concerns internally so NDAB can quickly address and correct inappropriate conduct of members and the leadership of the organization. See the Dispute Resolution Policy within Appendix A

NDAB – Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

When you became a member of NDAB, you automatically became a member of ACB. ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve quality of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. This affiliation provides a link to issues on a national and international level.

If you would like to read ACB’s history and its formation, check out the following publication. “People of Vision: A History of the American Council of the Blind,” by James J. Megivern and Marjorie L. Megivern. It is available through the Talking Book Program from the National Library Services in braille as BR14800 and as a digital download as DB56115.

“People of Vision” begins with a discussion of how blind people were treated in the past, includes a discussion of the origins of the consumer movement with the formation of the National Federation of the Blind in 1940, and contains extensive discussion of what led to the creation of ACB in 1961. It then explores the history of our organization and assesses where we were by 2003.

Many of us faithfully use our computer to gain access to ACB-related information at the website. If you do not have a computer, then try listening to programming on ACB Media by dialing Audio Now at 712-775-4808. Once you connect, choose which of the ten streams you wish to listen to. ACB Media is also available to users of Amazon devices. Just say, “Alexa, play ACB Media” and then respond with the stream you want to listen to.

One of your membership benefits is to receive the organization’s newsletter, ACB Braille Forum (TM) by email, large print, Braille, or digital cartridge. Just indicate your preferred format to receive newsletters on the NDAB application/renewal form! The ACB Braille Forum, E-Forum and ACB reports are also available by dialing 605-475-8154. Long-distance charges may apply.

ACB Community makes available many informational and entertaining Zoom sessions each day. To receive the daily schedule, email

ACB Website:

ACB Phone Numbers:

National Office in Washington DC: 202-467-5081 / 800-424-8666

Finance Office in Minneapolis: 612-332-3242 / 800-866-3242


Conventions of NDAB are held annually in various cities throughout the state during June. People who wish to attend as observers, prior to applying for membership, are welcome. This is a valuable time to review the work the organization has accomplished, to elect our leaders and to plan for the future. A delegate and an alternate delegate are elected to represent our affiliate at the following year’s ACB Convention. We can influence legislation and advocacy efforts important to people with vision loss on a national level, therefore, expenses are paid by NDAB for the president and a delegate to attend the ACB Convention each July. Conventions also serve to encourage initiative and personal growth through the educational opportunities provided, contacts made, and friendships established during these events.

Convention Attendance Incentives

We recognize the importance of involvement in the organization’s decision-making process and provide stipends to encourage you to attend the national convention. Members traveling to the year’s ACB convention may request a $300 stipend. The number of available stipends is limited to ten per year. A written or verbal request to the treasurer must be made by Friday of the state convention to be considered. Requests are approved during the Post-Convention Board meeting. Stipends may be received prior to leaving for the ACB Convention from the treasurer. If the stipend is not utilized, for some reason, it is to be returned to the treasury.

Financial Support

NDAB operates under an annual budget that is initially prepared by the Finance Committee and presented to the Board and then the Convention body for their possible amendment(s) and approval. The annual budget is used to help guide the operations of the organization during the next fiscal year, which runs from June 1st to May 31st of the succeeding year.

NDAB’s income is generated from fundraisers, solicitations made to Lions Clubs and charitable gaming organizations, donations, bequests, and grants. Other sources of income are realized from membership dues, memorials, and Convention fees. The “Walk for Vision” is an important fundraiser. Its dual purpose is to generate needed income and to create greater public awareness of our capabilities and the organization’s mission.

Giving Hearts Day sponsored by the Impact and Dakota Medical Foundations are a one-day, online fundraiser held in February. It provides an opportunity for many to support our organization and our mission with their gifts. It has been our privilege to participate each year since 2017.

NDAB is incorporated under the laws of the State of North Dakota as a nonprofit organization. This designation allows NDAB the privilege to solicit donations. NDAB is also designated as a 501 (© 3 nonprofit organization under the rules and regulations governed by the workings of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This designation allows donors who itemize their federal tax return to deduct their charitable contributions.

Advocacy and Legislation

Throughout its history, NDAB has actively advocated on a local, state, and national level to urge enactment of legislation, for judicial rulings, governmental regulations and directives that are designed to improve, benefit, and protect people who are blind or visually impaired. To advance NDAB’s advocacy goals, individuals who are knowledgeable about the legislative process are appointed as a Legislative Liaison.

NDAB’s Legislative Liaison appointees are volunteers and serve without pay, it is still necessary for them to register as lobbyists. State statutes require anyone who represents an organized group or company to register with the Secretary of State’s Office as a lobbyist for that entity. Every individual citizen has the right to speak on their own behalf on any legislative matter but, if they want or need to speak on behalf of an organization’s interests, the State requires that they register as an authorized lobbyist for that entity.

Even though NDAB has appointed Legislative Liaisons, we strongly encourage our individual members to know who their elected representatives are and to become knowledgeable about policies that directly affect their interests.

The more our individual members can advocate with their elected representatives, the better our opportunity is to conduct a coordinated campaign to achieve our advocacy goals.

One of the primary tools we use to help guide NDAB’s advocacy goals is to adopt resolutions written to urge action on policy matters of importance to people who are blind and visually impaired.

Resolutions are prepared and presented to the membership at our annual NDAB Conventions. These resolutions then serve to help our membership to speak to our lawmakers with “one voice” united in cause!

An important policy goal of NDAB is to advocate for blindness specific rehabilitation skills training for all the citizens of North Dakota who are blind and visually impaired. We know that this training is the key to becoming employed and leading a more productive and independent lifestyle. The training offered by the two institutions that provide this specific set of skills trainings in North Dakota are the Older Blind Program within the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. An example of our advocacy work is when we sought to increase the budget for the Older Blind Program during the 63rd session of the North Dakota Legislative assembly.

The 63rd Legislative Session did approve a budget increase of $100,000/biennium (50,000/year) for this Program.

Our advocacy work isn’t done in a vacuum. We collaborate with coalitions of organizations, like the North Dakota Disability Advocacy Consortium on cross disability issues such as employment, disability rights, health care, housing, and access to transit services which strengthens our voice. Our affiliation with ACB offers us the ability to partner with its affiliates and staff from the national office.

One of the milestone advocacy successes we secured in partnership with ACB, was the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002. The impetus for this legislation came about because of the many problems experienced with the voting process in the 2000 Presidential election.

NDAB participated in the planning for the implementation of HAVA in North Dakota, which included the installation of accessible voting machines at each polling site. The accessible voting machines allow people who cannot read print to cast a secret, independent ballot which they can verify that they marked in the way they chose. We urge you to exercise this hard won right to cast a secret ballot.

Other advocacy milestones achieved in partnership with the American Council of the Blind and other coalitions are:

Passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) in 2010. The intent of this legislation is to enhance and ensure increased access to telecommunications, electronic equipment and technology for people who have sensory and cognitive disabilities. It provides more audio description for TV and internet broadcasts, audio output for emergency warnings on TV, and greater accessibility to telecommunications equipment for people who are sight impaired.

Passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act in 2011. A provision of the Act, Section 904 authorizes the Access Board to convene a stakeholder working group to develop best practices for making information on prescription drug container labels accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired or who are elderly.

Our involvement with the advocacy work of ACB is grounded in our participation in the annual ACB Leadership Conference held midwinter in the Washington, D.C. area. The Conference is devoted for information sharing about the priorities selected and followed by visits with our Senators and Congressman on Capitol Hill. These meetings are of great value in several ways and provide an opportunity to build personal relationships with lawmakers and their office staff.

If you are interested in learning more about the advocacy of ACB at the national level, call 1-800-424-8666 after 5 pm Eastern to go directly to Washington Connection. If you call during the day, ask to be transferred to Washington Connection and follow the prompts.

What can you do on the state level? Keep informed on current issues of interest to you. Contact your representatives and senators to support and share information.

Don’t know your legislators? Go to Hover on Legislative Assembly and click on Find My Legislators.

Participate in weekly meetings of a statewide legislative working group hosted by North Dakota Protection and Advocacy (P&A). Meetings are held weekly via Zoom when the legislature is in session.

You can also request to be added to their e-mail distribution list.

For more information contact: Protection & Advocacy Project By phone at 701-328-2950, toll free: 1-800-472-2670, TDD relay: 711 or by email at

Newsletter– The Promoter

The Promoter is the official newsletter of NDAB, published quarterly in February, May, August, and November. As the official publication of the Association, the Promoter includes notices, minutes of meetings and reports of committees. Our newsletter is the primary method of letting people know that NDAB is a viable organization, advocating for members and striving to obtain and provide the best programs possible. The publication is a valuable communication tool, and you are encouraged to read it to keep current on the organization’s news.

All members are encouraged to submit items of interest to the editor by email, mail, or phone. Deadline is the 10th of the month prior to quarterly publications. The Promoter is available in four formats – large print, digital cartridge, braille, and email. You may change your preferred format at any time by contacting the editor. Issues are also located online at

Communication Connections

Mailing Address

We are an all-volunteer organization and do not have a physical office. We do have a USPS mailing address which is:

NDAB, PO Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078

Website and Facebook

Find information about NDAB and connect with us on:



Email Connection

If you have something you would like shared on our Facebook page, Website, or to our member email list, send it to

Leadership List

Need to connect with someone on the NDAB Board or a committee chair? You will find their phone numbers listed at the end of each issue of The Promoter.


We have a pro Zoom account used for Board and committee meetings. It is also the platform used for educational, informational, and social NDAB events as well as the sessions led by the staff of NDVS/SB for NDAB members and others to learn technology and independent living skills.

Participants may attend Zoom events with multiple devices including landline phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, or PCs through dialup, one tap, or Zoom app.


NDAB Adult Summer Camp

In 1964, NDAB developed a summer school session designed to help adults who were newly blinded adjust to their disability. In 1971, a one-week summer camp program was initiated which replaced the previous summer school session. This program is held annually at Elk’s Camp Grassick on Lake Isabel, near Dawson, North Dakota.

For further information email: or call one of the co-Camp Directors:

Missy Miller 701-298-8091

Tim Kachel 701-952-2508

NDAB Summer Camp Guidelines


To provide an opportunity for persons who are visually impaired to come in contact with persons with similar impairments and share a common concern.

To help in the process of adjusting to blindness.

To provide an opportunity to learn new skills, techniques, and leisure time activities to enhance the quality of life.


1. Must be at least 18 years of age with vision loss as the primary disability.

2. Must be capable of participating in the program set-up for camp.

a. Must be able to care for one’s personal needs including bathing, dressing, eating, etc.

b. Must be physically able to get oneself around the campgrounds, with the exclusion of difficulty with mobility due to vision loss.

3. Must be cooperative and demonstrate willingness to abide by the regulations of camp.

a. Alcoholic beverages and/or unauthorized drugs are not allowed on the campgrounds. Any violators will be promptly sent home at their own expense.

b. All campers must remain overnight at camp.

c. Campers must attend the entire week of camp unless other arrangements have been made with the co-camp directors, or a situation arises, such as an illness or a family emergency.

d. Participants must notify one of the directors if leaving the campus for any reason.

4. Must demonstrate respect for authority.

5. Must display consideration for fellow campers.

Geographical Guidelines, Revised June 2023

1. Any adult who is visually impaired and not a North Dakota resident but is attending a North Dakota college or university will be eligible to attend Summer Camp as a camper at no cost.

2. One member of ACB leadership will be able to attend the NDAB Summer Camp as a camper annually at no cost.

3. Camp capacity is 60 people, which are both set by the Elks Camp Grassick Director. Residents of North Dakota would be given preference to out of state campers if the camp capacity were reached.

4. Any vision impaired member of NDAB, who is current on payment of annual dues is eligible to attend camp as a camper at no cost.

Sports and Recreation

The Sports and Recreation Committee held its first fall retreat in October 2019 at Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center near Dazey, ND. The weekend retreat started with registration on Friday from 1-3 PM. Each fall since then participants have enjoyed a variety of activities including ziplining, visiting around the indoor fireplace or campfire and leisure activities like hiking, rock climbing and yard games. Also, blind sports like beep baseball, a ropes course and creak activities have been enjoyed as weather allows.

At times we have moved the fun indoors and played indoor tournaments of darts, Jenga, ladder golf, carpet ball and Yahtzee.

Participants are required to bring their own personal items, including bedding, towels, and good comfortable shoes.
If you are a blind participant, the cost of the retreat is covered by NDAB. If a participant brings a sighted friend or family member to the event, NDAB pays for half of their retreat fees. All participants must be at least 14 years of age to attend.

NDAB Recreation Retreat Guidelines


  1. To provide an opportunity for persons who are visually impaired to come in contact with persons with similar impairments and share a common concern.
  2. To provide an opportunity to learn new recreational and leisure time activities to enhance quality of life.
  3. To help in the process of adjusting to blindness.
  4. To provide a family member or a friend understanding and insight about sight loss.


  1. Must be at least 14 years of age with vision loss as the primary disability.
  2. Must be capable of participating in the planned program.
    1. Must be able to care for one’s personal needs including bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
    2. Must be physically able to get oneself around the grounds, with the exclusion of difficulty with mobility due to vision loss.
  3. Must be cooperative and demonstrate willingness to abide by retreat guidelines.
    1. Alcoholic beverages and/or unauthorized drugs are not allowed on the grounds. Any violators will be promptly sent home at their own expense.
    2. All attendees must remain overnight at the retreat venue.
    3. Attendees must attend the entire scheduled retreat unless other arrangements have been made, or a situation arises, such as an illness or a family emergency.
    4. Participants must notify the retreat director if leaving the retreat for any reason.
  4. Must demonstrate respect for authority.
  5. Must display consideration for fellow attendees.

Other Eligibility Guidelines

  1. Any person who is visually impaired and not a North Dakota resident but is attending a North Dakota college or university will be eligible to attend the NDAB Recreation Retreat at no cost.
  2. Each attendee may invite a guest (friend or family member) to accompany them in attending the retreat.
    1. Such individuals need not be visually impaired.
    2. The guest must follow the same rules and guidelines as the attendees.
    3. Guests will be responsible for paying half of the determined attendance fee when registering for the event.
  3. One member of ACB leadership will be eligible to attend the NDAB Recreation Retreat annually at no cost.
  4. Any member of NDAB who is current on payment of annual dues is eligible to attend retreat at no cost.
  5. Retreat capacity will vary by location but will be announced during preregistration. Residents of North Dakota would be given preference to out of state attendees if the retreat capacity were reached.


Ski for Light

The Black Hills Regional Ski for Light annual weeklong event takes place at the end of January. The intention of the event is to provide persons who are visually impaired, blind, or physically disabled with an opportunity to experience downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. People of all ages and walks of life come from across North America to attend this annual event.

We usually leave on Sunday and return on Friday. You will have the opportunity to ski and snowshoe Monday through Thursday. Participants are transported each day by charter bus to one of two ski areas. The Wharf Reclamation area is where people cross-country ski and snowshoe. Terry Peak is where skiers enjoy downhill skiing.

Lodging for five nights is provided at the Mineral Palace in Deadwood South Dakota. The cost for five nights lodging, ski rentals, lift tickets, four lunch meals and two evening meals, including the banquet, is $250. Partial funding may be available for people in financial need. Also, you can sell raffle tickets to offset costs.

The Black Hills Regional Ski for Light website contains event information, online registration forms and pictures. The website can be located at:

To receive mailings, registration materials and a scholarship application contact the BHSFL office at 605-341-3626.

To learn more about transportation from ND and to sign up, contact Amy Osvold, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, for participants in western North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-857-7635 or emailing Pam Haus, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, is the contact for participants in eastern North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-795-2719 or emailing They are willing to aid with applications, raffle tickets, discuss transportation details or to answer any other questions you may have regarding the event.

Life Enrichment

NDAB has created a Life Enrichment program, and we challenge you to explore new possibilities. The idea was discussed, approved, and funds set aside during the 2019 Convention. We began accepting Life Enrichment applications in August 2022. When you are ready to apply, or if you have questions, contact the committee at or call 701-709-0262.

Life Enrichment Guidelines

Approved: May 22, 2022


To financially assist members in their quest for new life experiences in ways that enrich their lives by pursuing skills, training, and nontraditional education.

Budget Available:

$5000 annually


NDAB Members

75% not to exceed $1000

Preference will be given to applications from individuals who have not been awarded a grant in the previous three years.


May include but not limited to training, workshops, classes, seminars in a variety of areas such as technology, arts, exercise and wellness, cooking, etc.

“First Time” experiences will be given preference such as attendance to Ski for Light for the first time.


Monies will be distributed directly to the entity involved upon submission of registration or as reimbursement of expense receipt.

Application, Promotion and Awarding Process:

Ongoing promotion in the Promoter.

Application review and award determination will be made within 30 days of receipt of application.

Selections will occur throughout the year with up to 50% of life enrichment budget being disbursed prior to December 1st.

Selection Committee: Shall include at least three members.

Expectations of Recipient:

Award recipients are asked to share information about their life enrichment experience including, but not limited to, their choice of the following – a presentation, a video, or a Promoter article.

Requested Application Information:

Describe the opportunity.

State why you are interested in this opportunity.

Describe expected benefit to you and/or others.

Where will the experience be held?

When will it occur?

How much will it cost? (List expenses such as registration, transportation, supplies, etc.)

Submit Applications:

Email –

Mail – NDAB Life Enrichment, PO Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078


Knowing the ever-rising cost of tuition can cause a financial barrier in achieving one’s career goal, The North Dakota Association of the Blind (NDAB) established a college scholarship fund in 1990.

We annually grant scholarships to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate students who are blind or visually impaired. One $2,000 and two $1,000 cash awards will be given to three qualifying students.

A vocational scholarship was added to the program in 2004, when Emma Skogen remembered NDAB with a final bequest in her will. The Emma Skogen Scholarship annually grants a $1,000 cash award to a student who is visually impaired with plans to attend a vocational or trade school.

Previous applicants and recipients of our scholarships are encouraged to reapply, so we may support your efforts toward achieving gainful employment.

If you have any questions about the application process or would like to obtain an application, contact our scholarship chairperson.

Tracy Wicken 218-791-2466 or go to or the direct link to the scholarship page with information and application form:

The American Council of the Blind offers annually more than $100,000 in scholarships for students who are blind or have low vision. To obtain an application form, you must log in to your Member Account. Go to to log in or create a Member Account. The scholarship tab is located at the top of that page. For more information, please contact the ACB Office at (612) 332-3242 or (800) 866-3242 or send an email to

Lions Video Magnifier Program

The Lions Foundation of North Dakota approved a statewide Lions Foundation of North Dakota Video Magnifier Program.

North Dakota Lions Foundation

Video Magnifier Program

This video magnifier program was put into place as a joint effort of the North Dakota Lions, NDAB, North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and NDVS/SB. The committee consists of two members from each group.

The committee spent much time on research and found the initial need in North Dakota to be approximately 120 video magnifiers.

The Video Magnifier Program is a simple process. After you have completed the application, it goes to the selection committee for review. If approved the applicant goes onto a waiting list for placement. Placement then occurs when a video magnifier becomes available.

At the time of placement, you will be required to fill out the terms and conditions of the lease. The lease is $20 per month plus a one-time delivery and set up fee of $50, which is non-refundable. The lease will stay in place for as long as the applicant wishes.

Anyone with vision loss who would benefit from the use of a Video Magnifier, may apply if they meet the following eligibility criteria of being a resident of ND for at least 8 months out of the year and agree on a monthly payment option. Also, students under 18 may apply for “at home use only” as schools should provide for student needs in the school setting.

Helen Keller asked the Lions to help her bring light to others. They have answered that call as no other organization could, and the light of service is more relevant today than ever before.

To obtain an application contact the Executive Director.

Dennis Friesz 701-751-2266, or

VMP 3801 Memorial Hwy, Ste A PMB 106 Mandan ND 58554

Testimonial: “Many tasks that would be frustrating or impossible to do, I can do independently with the help of my video magnifier. That independence is worth so much to me.”

Stutsman County Resident


Honorary Membership

The title of Honorary Member may be conferred on any person at any convention by a majority vote. Persons so entitled shall not hold office, vote or be required to pay dues. This special award is given to recognize individuals from the community who have dedicated themselves to serving persons who are blind or visually impaired.

See Honorary Membership List in Appendix.

Lifetime Membership

Only a few members of NDAB have been presented with this special award. The recognition is based upon a member’s accumulated years of service to NDAB and demonstrated consistent dedication to the purposes for which the organization was established.

Lifetime membership Criteria

To maintain a high level of true honor, no more than three lifetime memberships may be given in any one year.

Lifetime members have all member privileges without the requirement of dues payment.

Member for 40 years or more.

Minimum age of at least 55 years old.

Ten years or more of combined service within NDAB’s committee structure.

The individual should exhibit a cooperative nature and willing spirit.

The above criteria could be waived in a circumstance where a member, who has been very active, is facing a terminal illness.

See Lifetime Membership List in Appendix.

Ed Christensen Award

This award is given to recognize an active NDAB member and their years of dedicated service to the Association. The recipient’s identity will remain a secret until the award is presented following the banquet meal of the state convention.

History of the Ed Christensen Award:

The first award was given in 1993 following a motion made by Joe Hintz to honor Ed Christensen who was the Administrator of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Forks.

This was a state program funded by Vocational Rehabilitation for adult individuals with visual impairments. Several of NDAB’s members took part in this six to ten-week training program. Ed was a member of NDAB from 1975 until 2001 and was active in updating the By-Laws in 1983.

See Edwin Christensen Award List in Appendix.

Robert John LePage Service Award

The purpose of the Robert John LePage Service Award is to annually acknowledge an outstanding Lion member who has assisted individuals with sight loss within the state of North Dakota. The award is to be presented only to ND Lion Members. If no applications are received, no award will be given that year.

History of the Robert John LePage Service Award

A motion was made by Michelle Zentz and was passed during the 2008 November NDAB Executive Board meeting for our organization to establish an annual service award in honor of Robert “Bob” LePage.

Our friend, Bob, was presented a service award by President Rick Feldman and the Fargo Convention Planning Committee for his 24 years and many hours of devotion given to assist individuals with sight loss within the Fargo-Moorhead area. Bob was a very humble and active Lions member. He never held an office as a Lion, preferring to provide direct service wherever needed. Most notably were his contributions to providing transportation. Bob also inspired other Lions members to assist as well. No matter what, he always found a way to get individuals where they needed to go.

See Robert John LePage Service Award List in Appendix.

Friend of NDAB Award

The purpose of the Friend of NDAB award is to recognize those individuals who have been supportive of our organization, members, or programs.

This award provides an opportunity to encourage further development of connections and awareness in our local communities by acknowledging our appreciation of the efforts of those who support our organization’s mission.

Selection Criteria for Friend of NDAB Award

The chosen individual is to be from the community of the year’s state convention.

The recipient is to be someone who has gone out of their way to share their time, resources, or personal efforts in support of our members, programs, or the organization.

Nominations shall come from the Convention Planning Committee or a member from the host city.

History of Friend of NDAB Award

In December of 2017, a motion was made by Carol Schmitt to develop an award that would acknowledge those around us who go out of their way to be supportive. The board voted to initiate the recognition award called “Friend of NDAB”.

See Friend of NDAB Award List in Appendix.

Advocate of the Year Award

The Advocate of the Year is awarded to a NDAB member who exemplifies the positive effects that can be accomplished by one person. This award is given to honor the spirit of volunteerism by recognizing an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding level of advocacy on behalf of others at the local, state and/or national level and has supported the NDAB mission by year-round advocacy efforts.

History of Advocate of the Year Award

In May 2018, Trampes Brown, Board Director, presented the idea of initiating a new membership award. He acknowledged that we have a lifetime achievement membership award in the Edwin Christiansen Award but that we did not have a way of recognizing a member’s short-term volunteer efforts. Counsel of the Awards Committee was sought to help create policy and criteria.

The inspiration for this award came from Genie Lang and her spirit of volunteerism, her outstanding contributions of advocacy and fundraising and her positive outlook that affected those with whom she was in contact. In her brief time with the organization, she wholeheartedly and tirelessly promoted NDAB.

The board decided to award the first Advocate of the Year Award posthumously to Eugenie (Genie) Lang.

See Advocate of the Year Award List in Appendix.

Appendix A: Dispute Resolution Policy

The North Dakota Association of the Blind Inc. expects of its officers, Directors and members high standards of businesslike conduct and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The expectation includes but is not limited to respect of authority, to treat one another with common courtesy, and to abide by proper decorum during business meetings. We all must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling these responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure NDAB has a clearly written procedure and accountability structure that will enable all members to report serious concerns internally so NDAB can quickly address and correct inappropriate conduct of members and the leadership of the organization.

Reporting Responsibility

All members of NDAB have a responsibility to report any behavior, action or suspected action that is believed to be unethical for violating any adopted policy or procedure of the organization or fails to comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Anyone reporting a violation must act in good faith, without malice toward an individual or the organization. The grounds of the complaint must be reasonable and indicate that a violation is suspected to have occurred. The person submitting the report does not have to prove the violation has occurred. However, any report made maliciously or made knowingly that is known to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

Anti-Harassment Statement

No one who in good faith reports a violation or cooperates in the investigation of a complaint shall be subject to harassment, retaliation, or adverse consequences.

Anyone found to behave in such a manner toward another member will be subject to disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion after a fair hearing has been conducted.

If you believe anyone is suffering harassment, retaliation, or adverse consequences; please notify the secretary or president immediately.

Reporting Process

Using direct and open communication is the best practice to voice questions, clarify misunderstandings, and resolve conflicts within a group.

The first step to follow is to have direct, honest, and open communication with the other individual but if it is not possible to speak directly with the individual regarding your concerns or you are unsatisfied with the other person’s response, the next step is to speak to a member of the Board of Directors for further clarification regarding the issue. If questions remain then the next step is to lodge a formal written complaint with the president. Reports may also be submitted in writing on a confidential basis to either the secretary or president. The receipt of such reports will be acknowledged within ten days.

The president or a disinterested party will be appointed to investigate the reported violation or complaint.

The treasurer is to address all reported concerns relating to accounting practices, internal controls, or audits.

All investigations shall be conducted objectively, hearing both sides of the issue at hand before an appropriate corrective action or actions are to be taken. If deemed necessary after the investigation has been objectively conducted. The reported violation or serious complaint will be brought before the executive board. Any proposed solution or alternative solutions must receive a two thirds majority vote by secret ballot before any corrective actions are taken.

The minutes of the executive session of the board meeting shall contain:

A. The name or names of the person or persons who made the report of a complaint, the nature of the claim, the procedure followed to objectively determine whether a serious violation was present or not.

B. Names of the persons who were present during the executive session, summary of the discussion including any alternatives taken to resolve the situation, and the board’s final decision including results of ballots cast.

Recommended by Board of Directors for adoption: February 8, 2015. Presented and adopted at the 2015 State Convention.

Source: D. C. Bar Pro Bono Program

Appendix B: Award Recipients

Honorary Membership List

Terry Nelson, Low Vision Store, MN Honorary Member 2016 – 2021.

Lifetime Membership List

Olga Neal Member 1944 – 2017, Award 1994

Doranna Robertson Member 1944 – 2016, Award 1994

Deloris Stenvold Member 1963 – 2016, Award 2011

Richard (Dick) Veal Member 1977 – 2018, Award 2015

Elaine Kelm Haugen Member 1977 -2020, Award 2015

Shereen Faber Member 1977 – 2021, Award 2019

Helen Baumgartner Member 1979 – Present, Award 2019

Richard Feldman Member 1979 – Present, Award 2019

Edwin Christensen Award List

Ed Christensen – 1993

Darrel Klein – 1994

Olga Neal – 1995

Cora Como – 1996

Dick Corcoran – 1997

No record is available for 1998.

Loris Van Berkom – 1999

Leo Brilz – 2000

Kathy Larson – 2001

Dennis Everson – 2002 (Posthumously awarded to his family.)

Doranna Robertson – 2003

Allan Peterson- 2004

Renae Huseby – 2005

David Sundeen- 2006

Stan Larson – 2007

Romelle Thielman- 2008

Richard Feldman- 2009

Sheryl Gerhardt – 2010

Lester Ketterling – 2011 (Posthumously awarded to his family.)

Shereen Faber – 2012

Janelle Olson – 2013

Helen Baumgartner- 2014

Mark Kueffler – 2015

Michelle Zentz – 2016

Zelda Gebhard – 2017

Karlyn Frantsen – 2018

Milissa Miller – 2019

Paula Anundson – 2020

Carol Schmitt – 2021

Mary Lou Stip – 2022

Susan Jorgenson-2023

Robert John LePage Service Award List

2008 – Robert John LePage was presented with the first service award at the Fargo, NDAB Convention. Bob died three months after the presentation on September 9, 2008.

Terry Narum – 2009, Minot Lions Club

Ruth Wagner – 2010, Williston Korner Lions Club

Jan Merry – 2011, Garrison Lions Club

Helen Baumgartner – 2012, Mandan Dakota Lions Club

Jim Dahle – 2013, Lake Metigoshe Lions Club, Bottineau

Kory Peterson – 2014, Horace Lions Club

Kathi Runge – 2015, Mandan Dakota Lions Club

Leon Comeau- 2016, South Forks Lions Club, Grand Forks

Paul Nelson – 2017, Gateway Lions Club, Fargo

Doug Schindler – 2018, Gateway Lions Club, Fargo

William Wieland- 2019, Edgeley Lions Club

Tracy Wicken – 2020, South Forks Lions Club

Donna Ruff – 2021, Lehr Lions Club

Gary Pedersen – 2022, Gateway Lions Club

Russell Doe 2023, Reader Lions Club

Friend of NDAB Award List

Linda Kaap – 2018, Tappen

Amy Osvold – 2019, Minot

Karla Pederson – 2022, Moorhead, MN

Tami Purcell 2023, Grand Forks

Advocate of the Year Award List

Eugenie Lang – 2018 (Posthumously awarded to her family.)

Mary Lou Stip – 2019

Allan Peterson- 2020, Virtual Convention 2021

Shereen Faber – 2022 (Posthumously awarded to her family.)

Trampes Brown – 2023, Minot

Milissa Miller 2023, Fargo

Appendix C: Historical List of Officers


Melvin Eckberg – 1936

Ada Mark- 1940 (Only President to serve three terms.)

Arthur Strom – 1946

George Iszler – 1948

Lloyd Robertson – 1950

Rudolph Bjornseth- 1954

Darrel Kline- 1958

James McLauchlin – 1962

Paul Barber- 1966

Mildred Kline – 1970

Lester Ketterling – 1974

Olga Neal – 1978

Elmer Morlock- 1982

Leo Brilz – 1984

Don Berg – 1988

Loris Sinness – 1992

Dennis Everson – 1994

Olga Neal – 1998

Allan Peterson – 2000

Rick Feldman- 2004

Michelle Zentz- 2008

Mark Kueffler- 2012

Zelda Gebhard- 2016

Trampes Brown – 2021



Ina Eide 1936 – 1961

George Oleson 1961 – 1979

Lester Ketterling 1979 – 1981

Elmer Morlock 1981 – (Partial Term)

Cora Como 1981 – 2001

Renae Huseby 2001 – 2010

Helen Baumgartner 2010 – 2018 (2018 – Partial year of term.)

Rebecca Anderson 2018- present