1)    I’m a level (insert your present level) student.  Can I attend the ASL Immersion Weekend?  

Yes, everyone is welcome to come to the Weekend.

 2)    I’m a level (insert your present level) student.  Will I understand the presenter?  Will I be lost?

A very good question.  Anyone, regardless of skill and level,  might get that “lost” feeling at some point during the Weekend.  I believe that participants get out of the Weekend exactly what they put into it.  The Weekend has been attended by people who know NO sign whatsoever, to seasoned interpreters, to D/deaf people.  I’ve had level 1 students tell me how much they learned and loved the weekend, followed by a level 4 or 5 say they were lost — in the same Weekend.  If one comes to the Weekend with a positive attitude, one will learn.  Learning obviously takes place during the workshops.  I also believe you will also learn during free time, in the cafeteria, in your cabin, during the storytelling, etc.  You may or may not understand everything the presenter teaches – and that’s OK.  Please know that past presenters have had no problem repeating themselves, or clarifying with participants during breaks or after the sessions.  It is a FACT (regardless of your level) that your eyes continuously take in all the signing and everything that is occurring during the Weekend.  You may come to realize that something you sign or “remember” this year may have been something you didn’t realize you learned from the last Weekend!  I have had return participants tell me this.  I hope this covers the question.

 3)    I want to be in the same cabin as my friends.  How are cabin assignments made?  

I let you assign yourself to one of the eight cabins on site.  I will have a sign-in sheet for each, designated as WOMEN’S and MEN’S.  As you go through registration at the Weekend, you will pick the cabin of your choice from spaces available in each cabin.  If you are the first of your group to arrive, you may place their names on the list along with yours if enough spaces are available.  It will then be your responsibility to monitor the registration area and let your friends know where you placed them.

4)    Speaking of cabins… Are they dirty?  Is there air conditioning, heat, hot water, or BUGS???

The Park tries to keep things clean, but remember – you’re in a State Park.  Do not compare it to “home” or the Holiday Inn.  All of the cabins, as well as the main cafeteria/workshop area have heating.  They do NOT, however, have air conditioning.  Its a camp area and a state park and for the price we pay, this is what we get.  The cabins and workshop area DO have fans to circulate air.  If you’re a hot-temperatured person, you may want to consider a personal fan for your bed.  There is hot water, but again we are in a state park camp area – It seems we never get an ASL Weekend in without one cabin or another having hot water issues (one shower works, the other doesn’t… water temperature isn’t as hot as home, etc…).  If there are problems I ALWAYS report them to the Park staff as soon as you tell me but I cannot control what they jump on and what they ignore.  This is just the truth of it and while I wish it was otherwise the “real world” of Park under-staffing and limited funds rears its ugly head.  And yes, there will be BUGS!!!  You’re in a Park!    

5)    Can I bring beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages?

Please do not.  The Park’s official guidelines and insurance prohibit alcoholic beverages at site where the Weekend is held.  Park staff reserves the right to remove offenders from the Park.  You will not receive a refund if this occurs.  Thank you for your compliance.

 6)    Can I smoke at the Weekend retreat site?  

There are designated smoking areas outside the cafeteria and some of the cabins.  Other than that, smoking is NOT allowed in any of the buildings at the Park (Missouri State Park Regulations).  This includes each cabin and the cafeteria.  The Park provides ash cans for the disposal of your butts.  Please be responsible for your trash and cigarette butts and considerate of those who do not smoke.  Your cooperation is much appreciated.

 7)    I am D/deaf.  Can I bring my support dog with me to the Weekend?

The Park does recognize and accept certified support dogs.  If you are bringing your support dog to the Weekend, please let me know.  I will inform the Park staff.

 8)    I have special dietary needs.  Am I out of luck for eating the food provided at the Weekend?  

The Weekend’s food menu will be available before the event.  There are vegetarian options for each meal and I TRY to consider gluten-free options as well.  If you let me know your requirements in advance, I will work with you as best I can.  If you need to bring your food, there is a refrigerator and microwave in the cafeteria that is available for your use.

 9)    I can’t get to the Park until later on Friday night.  Is that a problem?  

Be aware that the Park’s security gate closes at dusk.  It has a keypad that allows entrance via a security code.  If you know you are going to arrive after dusk, let me know in advance and I will get you the code.  Once you arrive please find me to register.  We will be in the cafeteria area.

10)    I’ll be there on time, but I have to leave early.  How about that? 

That is OK too.  For security reasons and in case of an emergency please keep me informed when you leave.  Your cooperation is appreciated.

11)    Is the Outdoor Education Center ACCESSIBLE?

Yes, all areas of the Weekend ( and main areas of the Park for that matter ) are accessible.

12)    Can I call my family/friend/husband/wife/partner/dog to let them know I arrived safely?  

Yes.  The Park has a pay phone you can use.  Since this is an Immersion Weekend, consider keeping to a no-voicing mentality  If you need to use your cell phone, try texting instead of voicing.  If you have to make a call, please do so in the parking lot where your voice will not intrude on other participants’ ASL Immersion Weekend.  Be advised that since the area of the Park where the Weekend is located is in a secluded valley, cell phone reception ranges from good to non-existent.  Do not rely on these forms of communication while at the retreat site.  If need be, drive out to where you DO find reception and place your call.

13)    I have some games I’d like to bring for Free Time.  Is that OK?

Of course!!

14)    I will need a certificate of completion for my records.  Do you provide one?  

Yes, a Certificate of Completion will be presented at lunch on Sunday.  Any time away from the workshop(s) will be deducted from the total.

15)    Oh no!  I’ve registered and paid, but due to a conflict I now cannot attend.  What is the refund policy?

A full refund will be given up to the Friday before the Weekend starts (one week).   After that, if anyone on the Waiting List will take your spot, you will get the price you paid for the Weekend minus $10.00 to cover paperwork, administrative costs and printed materials.

16)    Will I get CEU’s for coming to the Weekend?  

Yes, I apply for both R.I.D. and Missouri CEU’s each year.  A total of 1.2 CEUs (12 contact hours) will be awarded each Weekend!

17)    I want to leave the Weekend area temporarily for (insert your reason).  Is that OK?

Of course I’d want everyone to stay and benefit from every minute of the Weekend, but as we all know “things happen”!  It is OK that you leave for whatever your reason.  You’re an adult; you paid for the Weekend and are free to leave as you need.  In the past, people who have left and returned told me they kept their vocal silence — I applaud that, but it is a choice you will make on your own.  If you choose to leave during the workshop(s) that time will be deducted from you CEU total.

18)    Will there be a lot of D/deaf people at the Weekend?  I’m coming so that I can socialize with (and hopefully learn from) D/deaf folk!

D/deaf folk are invited and are always welcome to come on Saturday night for the Storytelling portion of the event.  Often D/deaf folk register for the Weekend as paid participants for their work, professional growth, or for fun.  However, if you plan to come to the Weekend to meet dozens of D/deaf people, you will be disappointed.  Think of it this way:  A “silent” weekend is certainly no draw for D/deaf people.  And while many love to visit and socialize with the Deaf presenter and with Weekend participants, the event has been running for over 20 years!  You might imagine that’s engendered a “been there, done that” thought.

19)    How much energy will I need to complete the Weekend?

I can pretty much promise you some fatigue by the end of the Weekend.  Factors for this include:
Using your eyes for the whole Weekend which will fatigue your eyes and          your brain.
Dealing with workshop area florescent lights that aren’t necessarily eye/signing friendly.
Not sleeping as well as you would at home due to noises, unfamiliar bed, and surroundings.

19)    I have another question that is not posted here.  What should I do? 

E-mail me at joe@aslweekend.com or call me at 636-227-2277