co-op article contributed by The Dixie Crier

The following paragraphs are some excerpts from Dean Emery's March 7, 1998 letter to help all of us learn about this important work. Dean is the President of the U. S. Handicapable Square Dance Association. Some of you will recall that a portion of THE fee paid by VISA for the use of your Square Dancers VISA credit card goes to helping fund both the youth and Handicapable programs.

The U. S. Handicapable Square Dance Association grew out of a comment made by Kitty Emery at the 1987 Azalea Trail Square Dance Festival. The Square Dealers performed an exhibition for the entire festival on Saturday evening. After they danced and came back to their hospitality room, they were surprised by two other Handicapable Square Dance Clubs who had been in the audience during the performance. Kitty made the comment that it was too bad that there was no special dance where all Handicapable Dancers could get together.

Dean Emery, the caller for the Square Dealers, formed plans to hold the first Handicapable Convention the following July. The Alabama Square and Round Dance Association promptly appropriated $500 to help the project get under way. The USDA (United Square Dancers of America) then donated $1000 to help with the project.

The feeling from the first Convention in 1988, and with each succeeding one that takes place every other year has been one of friendship, caring and especially joy. You must remember that for many of these dancers, this was the first time in their lives they were part of a dance and social event that was for their benefit and programmed for their enjoyment! We have noticed the anticipation of these square dancers when they get to a Convention as they wait to see old friends from other clubs. They laugh and hug, and jump for joy when they greet these friends. Sounds like all other square dancers doesn't it?

If you can help a Handicapable Square Dance Club to go to their Convention I believe you will feel that you have helped our square dance activity grow. (For more information, you can access the US Handicapable Square Dance Association web site at http://www.zebra.net/~deanemery/ush/ush.html )

This article may be reprinted with no further permission from the authors and/or publications. Permission has been granted in advance for the reprinting with the stipulation that credit be given to the contributing author/publisher.