BVA Braces for Reno Rendezvous

by Christina Hitchcock

Highlights of The Gathering


The Blinded Veterans Association extends an invitation to you and your family to join us in Reno, Nevada, for the 69th National Convention August 18-21! If you have never been to a BVA convention, we urge you to bring your voice and your vote to “The Biggest Little City in the World!” The hotel staff and BVA volunteers are eager to make your visit as memorable as they can, but the first step is for you to attend.

Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Reno is in a high desert climate at an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level. It has four seasons with sunshine nearly 80 percent of the year. Highs are typically in the low 90s and lows are in the low 50s during the month of August.

We have listened to the feedback of past attendees and have expanded the education and information sessions. By joining us in Reno, you will meet fellow veterans and their families while learning more about programs, services, tools, and devices that may benefit you. In addition, you will gain knowledge and experience to share with your regional groups and other veterans. We encourage you to get involved and support the mission reflected in the BVA motto “Blinded Veterans Helping Blinded Veterans.”

BVA has a proud history. Nevertheless, we need your guidance for the future. We must strive to improve access to rehabilitation and services for all of America’s blind and visually impaired. We hope you will join us during the orientation sessions that will highlight our history and legislative successes. These sessions set the stage for what the organization now does and where it may go in the future.

Your voice and vote are critical to a membership organization such as BVA. This year there are six proposed amendments to the bylaws: Article III-Qualifications for Membership, Associate Membership, and Honorary Membership; Article VI-District Directors; Article IX-National Convention; Article X-Dues; Article XIV-Regional Groups; and Article XIX-Amendments to Bylaws/Petitions.

About the Hotel


The convention will be held at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort. The hotel offers a vast array of amenities that are sure to please this year’s attendees. It is conveniently located in the City of Sparks just east of the excitement of downtown Reno. It is also a mere ten minutes away from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which serves the entire metropolitan area.

The Nugget also offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport every 30 minutes. Parking is complimentary to BVA guests.

Reservations for the hotel can be made by calling 800-648-1177. When securing reservations over the phone, please be sure to indicate your affiliation with the Blinded Veterans Association. The room block code is “GBVA.”

The room rate is $55 Sunday through Thursday and $79 Friday and Saturday plus a tax of 13.5 percent. There is also a $7 per room resort fee per night that covers transportation to and from the airport, wireless Internet in the guest rooms, and access to the gym and pool facilities. Participants are urged to reserve rooms as far in advance as possible with July 18 being the deadline to receive the BVA rate. 

Hotel restaurants are Gill’s (barbecue), Steakhouse Grill (fine steak and seafood), John’s Oyster Bar (fresh seafood), The Rotisserie (buffet), Rosie’s Café, (24-hour American meals), Noodle Hut (fast food), Gabe’s Pub & Deli (fast deli food), Starbucks (coffee, tea, and pastries), and in-room dining available 24 hours a day.

Convention Registration And Outside Activities


BVA mailed convention announcements in mid-May to all members. If you did not receive your notice, please contact Alyson Alt, Director of Membership, to confirm your mailing address. Members must request a registration package or go to the BVA Convention webpage to download the registration form and other information ( The registration fee is $100 per person.

Reno/Sparks sightseeing and activities include the following:
  • Golf – Home of the PGA Reno/Tahoe Open and more than 25 courses, Reno is truly a golfer’s paradise.
  • Legends – Just minutes from the Nugget is the new Legends at Sparks Marina. The facility offers shopping, dining, and entertainment in a large complex next to a 77-acre lake. Legends is surrounded by walking paths, trees, and sandy beaches. The center also features uniquely themed restaurants and top brand outlet stores.
  • Wild Island Family Adventure Park – This family park offers a first-class water park, go-carts, food and refreshment facilities, and an indoor, nine-hole miniature golf course.
  • Sparks Heritage Museum – Explore the history of the West. Filled with historic photos and pieces from the era of the Old West, the Museum has something for every explorer, gun slinger, and adventurer.
  • Truckee River Walk – Located in downtown Reno, the Walk affords picturesque views of waterfalls, restful park benches, and some of the best shopping in the city.
  • National Automobile Museum – Antique, classic, and one-of-a-kind wonders co-exist in an automotive time warp.
  • Lake Tahoe – Just 45 minutes from Reno, the Lake Tahoe recreation area offers breathtaking scenery. Paddleboats, catamarans, and horseback riding are just a few of the additional attractions.
  • Virginia City – Step back in time by strolling along authentic board sidewalks. View historic churches, scores of 19th century homes, public buildings, and quaint cemeteries. Visit Old West saloons, shops, and museums. Ride on a stagecoach, horse-drawn carriage, trolley, or the historic steam engine that was part of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.

Remember These Dates


Wednesday, June 18 – Early registration deadline for attendees wishing to enter the complimentary hotel room drawing. Attendees who submit their hotel reservation and Convention registration by this date will be entered to win a complimentary five-night stay. The winner will be notified during the Convention and announced at the Awards Banquet.
Wednesday, June 18 – Deadline for members and regional groups to submit a Convention program page. Please contact me, Christina Hitchcock, if you would like additional information on purchasing an announcement or ad in the Convention program by calling 800-669-7079. The cost of a full page is $100 and half page is $75.
Friday, July 18 – Deadline for receipt of registration form and payment to BVA National Headquarters. After July 18, the late registration fee is $20 per person.
Friday, July 18 – Last day to register at the hotel at the special room rates. Due to Reno’s popularity, the room block may fill up prior to this date. Early registration over the telephone is much encouraged.
Friday, August 1 – Deadline for all cancellations and refunds. A $35 administrative fee will be applied to any refund requests. If you have reserved your hotel room and then cannot attend for any reason, please notify me, Christina, at 800-669-7079 as soon as possible.