To contact Silent Weekend please email us at Silentweekend@aol.com
Silent Weekend is a voice off venue that welcomes people interested and involved in visual language. We have classes for those with no functional skill all the way up to and including those with native abilities. Classes are provided for RID members to earn CEU/ACET's. We also provide Professional Development Certificates. Come learn from some of the nation's top presenters. Participants from all over the country enjoy the atmosphere of camaraderie.
Check out the 2016 Opening Orientation on YouTube!
The 2017 Silent Weekend will be held at The Florida Hotel and Conference Center from Thursday, June 22th to Sunday, June 25th.
Thanks to all who helped to make this Silent Weekend a good one! The 459 in attendance were from 20 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and Puerto Rico; we appreciate the many kind words and we are always delighted to hear of plans to return.
Each year we "wrap up" by answering issues mentioned on the evaluations. We believe that educated consumers are a great asset so we do our best to be transparent about the reasons we make the decisions we do. Below you will find our comments in a format that will hopefully allow you to find the specific issue you are concerned with.
Changes we have planned for next year:
1. A link on our website to make hotel reservations.
2. An evening offering for beginner/ intermediate level.
3. A more visible statement concerning no partial credit for CEU workshops.
Changes you will not see next year....and why:
Our schedule will remain in two hour blocks with a break or lunch between each.
Why: If the four hour workshops had no break we would have to mirror that for the simultaneous back to back two hour sessions. That would leave no time for the participants to leave/ enter and the next presenter to set up.
We will continue the 8:00 start time.
Why: Moving it to 8:30 would not resolve the breakfast problem since the mall does not open until 10. Starbucks is one solution. People might consider bringing something (a breakfast bar or piece of fruit) to hold them over until the lunch break. The only way Silent Weekend could address this would be to provide food with the hot beverage, but when you read about the coffee/ tea cost breakdown in the hotel section you will see why that is not an option.
Late classes will stay.
Why: For those concerned about how late some classes were, we can only ask you to please put your health needs above the class schedule. Many people function better at night and we do not wish to rob them of that opportunity.
Hotel set up and issues:
We will not be adding tables.
Why: the hotel fire code dictates how many people can be in a room based on how the chairs are set. A room set in theater can hold more than twice what a room set in classroom style( tables) can. In a visual language venue presenters often find tables cumbersome and counterproductive when it comes to breaking into groups.
The screens will remain the same size.
Why: Silent Weekend has kept cost down for many years by using Mike's personal equipment. Renting the 2 microphones for the opening was over $300. Renting larger screens for the entire conference would be cost prohibitive.
Lighting issues may remain.
Why: Every year we address this with the hotel. They can not change how the lights are wired. We finally got the wall sconces off, purchased a drop from the ceiling spot light for several room, changed how the rooms were oriented, etc. but the problem of having low light to see the screen display but bright light on a moving instructor remains. We haven't figured out a solution yet. The closest we have come is a floor lamp that can be aimed, but the presenter moved too much to make it worth the risk of people bumping into it and the annoyance of those who had to look around it.
The noise will no doubt remain.
Why: While we spend a good deal of money at the hotel, we don't buy it. Other hotel guests are free to use the corridors and gathering places. We rent the meeting rooms, not the hallways. This hotel has 511 sleeping rooms and Silent Weekend only occupies 150 on any given night. That means the chances of those not involved with our event "wandering through" are pretty good....as those of us who got a free tutorial on how a child should walk the run way found out! ν ½νΈ‰The hotel must continue to function; the rumbling of tables being rolled, glasses clinking, and hotel staff talking behind the wall will not disappear during our 4 day stay. If you are particularly sensitive to the sounds and our earplugs did not work for you, you might consider purchasing better quality ear plugs for the weekend.
We neglected to explain that the registration area workers are allowed to speak when needed. Trying to process people quickly, solve problems, interact with hotel requests and get things accomplished in a speedy manner with workers of different signing abilities can be a challenge. You will hear some voices in that area.
The hot beverage stations can not be controlled by participant request.
Why:This is a money issue. Silent Weekend orders 12 gallons of hot beverage for each break. Coffee, decaf coffee, and hot water each cost $65.95 a gallon. [the hot water because the hotel counts the energy to heat,the lemon, the half and half, the sugar, and the tea bags that "walk" when some take them to use later]. So each break represents $791.40 in hot liquid, $189 in 24% service charge, $47.48 in 6% state tax, and $3.96 in .5% county tax bringing the total of one break to $1,032.78. The hotel can not bring more coffee or refill the hot water without an okay from Silent Weekend because each gallon represents over $86 which will appear on the bill.When we asked about providing bagels or pastries for the break it was about $7 for each piece (not counting the service charge and tax) .We would then have to give a head count and pay for that amount whether they were eaten or not. With over 400 participants we did not feel the expense was a wise use of funds, and we were not willing to raise registration prices to cover it.
The opening/ orientation:
We will continue with the 2 minute time limit for presenter introductions.
We will not be introducing the fledgling group (or any other).
Why: Several reasons....many people would not remember them anyway....it would take time and extend the opening ....everyone at the weekend is special and we don't want to single out a particular group....being pointed out to a group of people who know what they are doing as a person who does not know can be intimidating to some......and many people can tell they are conversing with a fledgling anyway by the look on the fledgling's face when approached. If you are truly interested in taking time to pleasantly converse with participants in the fledgling group I'll give you our "in house" flag: Anyone with the color green anywhere on the name tag( stripe, diamond) is in that group.
We have no plans at present to put the handouts on line or create an Ebook.
Why: As we said at the opening, the workshop material is the intellectual property of the presenters. Once it is on the website anyone can view it and use it. That might cut down on the number of participants who would pay to come see the presentation and/ or be interested in inviting the presenter to their area.We will offer any presenter who wishes to the opportunity to put a link on our site.
We won't be "tweaking" Yapp.
Why: The Yapp application was offered to us by the hotel. They control the schedule information on it.
Children at Silent Weekend:
We will not be adding a children's component.
1) people used it as babysitting service when we tried it
2) we have our hands full planning adult programs
3) liability/ safety issues
Our policy , as stated in the web site is:
We have a room for nursing mothers.
Why: We know new parents must continue their education the same as those in other demographics. With eleven simultaneous sessions we do not always catch that there might be someone in a workshop with an infant/toddler who may not know about that room. If you notice one in the future please quickly step out to inform the registration desk and we will be happy to handle informing the parent about the room and to show him/her where it is.
Minors may not go to the Fledgling class without a supervising adult in the room with them.
Why: Even though we know there are many teens that could attend the class in a mature manner we can not take the responsibility of overseeing the whereabouts of those under 18 years of age.
Long titles may remain.
Why: As the people who type the program book we understand your frustration in having to write a long title on the professional development certificate log, but we can not truncate titles because we respect the presenters' rights to call the workshops whatever they wish. We are thinking of redesigning the professional development sheet to prevent this frustration.
We will continue to try to match presenters' skills with the appropriate level.
Why: We believe people at all levels deserve to have the best teachers (we pay all presenters the same no matter the level taught). If presenters tell us they can teach all levels they are given the chance. For those who felt some beginning/intermediate teachers were too fast we want you to know that if we see that comment several times ( and if the presenter is invited back) we do move him/her to the advanced track only.
Presenter equipment problems may remain.
Why: All presenters are given a room to test equipment on when they arrive. We can not force them to do it. We will be purchasing a dozen wireless laser presenters in hopes of cutting down on the long cords and getting on and off the riser. We have not done so before because each computer has its own requirements and we don't know what presenters are bringing from year to year. We hope what we purchase will be universal enough to be used on the computers presenters bring next year.
Presenter power points may remain difficult to read.
Why: We know that power point slides and handouts are more clear when there is less on them , the type is larger, and when the background is plain; however, many of our presenters have so much to share and are so creative that they choose to put it all in print in an artistic way. We will remind presenters of the best format for a large group, but other than a friendly reminder we have no power other than to not invite the presenter back.
The advanced track will continue to be the place for most of the CEU workshops.
Why: RID has a certain set of standards that must be adhered to in order to grant CEUs to a workshop. The presenter must fill out an instructor's form for each workshop he/she decides to offer for CEUs. The paperwork must be submitted to the host( Silent Weekend) by May 1st. We then have about a week to get all the proposals together and submit them to the CEU sponsor( FRID/ Shannon Simon). The sponsor then has about two weeks to check them all for compliance (this year there were 37) , give each a number, communicate with those not in compliance and then submit it all to RID no later than 30 days before the event. We contact presenters and ask them to teach a certain number of hours at the levels for which we feel they are a good fit. Some presenters could certainly teach all advanced but if they have the skill to teach beginners and intermediates as well we ask them to do that so the enthusiasm can be spread around! They may not wish to do the paper work for CEUs for something we are putting in the intermediate track. By not doing so it keeps that room more open to people it is actually being taught for even though the material itself is good enough to grant CEUs.
The new self reporting system will stay.
Why: Even though the feedback we got was split about 50/50 between those who liked it ("I feel respected as a professional") and those who did not ("those arriving late were rude and distracting") the fact is that this is the way RID wants it and so it will remain.
We will continue to offer workshops that are not directly related to interpreting.
Why: While we have many interpreters at our conference, we also have teachers, nurses, parents, Deaf individuals, ASL students etc. that have little interest in the interpreting classes. We try to maintain a balance for all who attend.
We will not be moving the conference to Disney property.
Why: This was recommended previously and so we check it out. While Disney may give discounts for family vacations they do not give discounts for conference planners....it was very expensive.
We don't recruit vendors per se and we don't post their hours.
Why: If we recruited vendors we would have to pay them to come. We do attend conferences and inform others of our event. We ask that you do the same. There is a link on our website where vendors/ exhibitors can access the details. Every table is given a sheet with "the rules" and a schedule so they know the times our participants will be out of classes. One vendor did leave a note on the message board announcing when his display would be taken down. Because that is a personal decision we feel it is the vendor's prerogative to inform the public rather than ours.
The fledgling class will remain a closed class.
Why: This class was originally designed for those who might be traveling with people who were attending Silent Weekend. It was a way to give them something to do during the main hours of the conference. We cap it at 15 participants so the group can become comfortable with one another. This is not open to the general conference attendees because the group would keep changing through out the weekend and might swell to numbers we are not prepared for in that room. If one is registered for Fledgling he/she may not go to the general conferences classes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. because if we allowed that there would be no way to prevent people from paying the Fledgling price (which is always $100) as a cheap way to get into the regular classes.
We hope sharing these explanations will let you know that we care about the thoughts of our participants and we make decisions based on what we believe is good for the conference and all those who come. We wish each of you a good year and hope to see you in 2017!
Mike and Maureen