Sunday, April 26, 2009

General Federation of Women's Clubs

Yesterday I was a guest speaker a the 114th annual State Convention of the General Federation of Women's Clubs in Clare, Michigan. This was a first for me as I received a standing ovation from the members.

I made my presentation using special technology. My speech was presented on the screen via power point while I stayed visible pointing to special points of the presentation. The voice portion of the presentation was accomplished through my computer by a speech assisted program called "write out loud". This program allows me to type my thoughts and the computer will read my text and convert it to voice. The computer reads words phonetically however and I must keep this in mind and write their sounds and not their correct spelling. The power point presentation was all spelled correctly as the members read along with the speech generated by the computer.

Feeling like a celebrity, I was overwhelmed by requests for pictures and hand shaking.

You can read my speech below:
My name is Eugene Fletcher. My computer is speaking for me today. I am 14 years old. I attend Big Bay de Noc School in Garden in the U.P. I am in the 9th Grade. I carry a 3.5 G.P.A. I like to participate in as many activities as I can. In fact, Sunday night, I will be ushering our school play “Oklahoma”

I have a sister (31) and brother (29), one nephew (5) and two nieces (10 and 3), all who live in California. My family and I moved here from California in 2002. We live on my family’s heritage farm in Delta County. I am the sixth generation to live there.

My first Bay Cliff experience was in 2003 when Sams Place (Unit five) was still drafty and cold, with lots of places for mosquitoes to romp and play in the middle of the night. Two years ago, Sams was completely renovated. We now have a great room with a beautiful fireplace, and large dorm rooms for those of us who need extra help to get around. We also have a screen porch to keep the bugs out, making evenings more pleasant.

I have met a lot of great friends in the last six years, campers and counselors alike. I do not receive therapies at my school, but camp really makes up for that. I grow stronger every year because of camp. I enjoy the waterfront activities. Last year was my first try at adaptive waterskiing. It was scary, but really fun.

Last year was also my first year in the teen program. We were able to interview for camp jobs to earn camp bucks so we could buy treats and gifts from the Teen Store. My job was getting the paper every morning, and watering our memorial tree, dedicated to Mr. Brian, the Camp Maintenance manager.

Teens also have a prom every year. We went to a local church where we had a formal dinner, then back to the auditorium for the dance.

When large groups, major donors and board members visit camp, teens are asked to provide tour services to show the groups around camp and brag about all the great activities

We also had a pie sale last year. We were challenged to sell pies to the staff. I sold the most pies (over 100), and we helped make them, too. I was also honored to receive the Frank Donckers Memorial Flag award for my respect of the flag during camp ceremonies. The flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol by order of Congressman Bart Stoopack.

The volunteers and staff at Bay Cliff Health Camp help me, and kids like me, develop to our full potential. Your organization, its volunteers, and each and every one of you; are all an arm of Bay Cliff that help make our abilities all possible. On behalf of campers, past, present and future, I want to thank you.

Your generosity has kept us warm on chilly nights, and made our dorm rooms so much nicer every year. As Bay Cliff grows, so does the flock of angels that help to keep it running and in tip-top shape. You are all angels to us.

This year, I have come up with an idea to raise money for Bay Cliff by riding my wheelchair from Rapid River on northern Lake Michigan, to Big Bay, on southern Lake Superior where Bay Cliff calls home. There is still time to help in many of the planning stages, including rest stops, and an ability fair in Marquette.

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. I hope to see you all again soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Updates… since stitches were out; I have been doing ok and have been going to school. School still isn’t fun. Wait, when was it ever fun? The only fun part about it is Gym and lunch. Everything else is so not “fun.”
Anyways, my back hurts here and there but other than that I’m back to my normal sarcastic self.
Something I find scary. On Google maps, you can see a 3D image of any house. Does that make you rethink what you do in front of your window?