The first U.S. Handicapable Square Dance convention was held in 1988 in Chickasaw, Alabama (a suburb of Mobile). The Convention was started by Dean and Kitty Emery to bring Handicapable Square Dance Clubs together for a convention planned exclusively for the special dancers and their families.
The majority of our dancers consist of adults with developmental disabilities who range in age from adults to senior citizens. We also have clubs whose members dance in wheelchairs and do not have developmental disabilities. Anyone who enjoys square dancing and having a good time is welcome to our clubs and to our conventions! Friends, families, volunteers, and other interested people provide support and participate in our activities.
The Conventions are held every other year to allow our clubs sufficient time to raise funds to travel to the Conventions. The U.S.H. Convention is most commonly held on the fourth weekend of July (in even numbered years), except when we have to move the convention date in order to get facilities. Jerry and Pam Yerby helped establish the first Western Handicapable Convention in 2001 which meets in odd-number years.
Our Conventions are family affairs. Entire families come with their special dancers. Group homes and Arc groups furnish buses for their dancers. Some clubs have even flown from their home area. Everyone looks forward to the Convention as one of the highlights in their lives. We choose hotels that can accommodate our entire convention, including rooms and dance area. This makes it easier on our dancers and their caregivers. We also choose sites that will make outstanding vacations for all of the attendees.
We hope that you will attend a Handicapable Convention and have a great time with all of your friends, and feel joy in your heart for this beautiful time square dancing together!