By Francisco Picado and Anna Stout, CAPI Co-chairs
Since the announcement that CAPI would be hosting the First Annual CAPI Regional Conference in Western Colorado this fall, we have fielded questions from some Denver-based members about why we are putting on an event outside the Denver metro area. One of our colleagues even called it “absurd” that we would try to accommodate “the 5 interpreters that live in that region.” We find that mentality narrow-minded and wanted to address these concerns here on our blog so that all of our members understand the reasoning and benefits behind the board’s decision.
A historical perspective
The fact is that CAPI has always intended to be an organization of Colorado interpreters. When it was founded in 2001, the purpose was never to serve Denver interpreters alone. In its formative years, CAPI projected to hold one conference in Denver and at least one other conference outside of the Denver area. In fact, there was language in the original bylaws to that effect. Language that mandated a conference to be organized outside of the Denver metropolitan area every year was changed last year, not because we disagreed with it, but because in recent years we had not been strong enough to live up to that mandate. We feel that CAPI is now armed with the tools and manpower to return to the founding vision of the organization.
The Western Slope
The notion that there are only 5 interpreters in the western region of the state is also grossly misstated. We must be cautious not to count only the interpreters that work for Judicial that live in that area. There are also countless medical and community interpreters, translators, interpreting students, and bilingual professionals that serve in an interpreting capacity, despite carrying out other primary duties (such as social service professionals, medical personnel, paralegals, and community organizers).
Additionally, the Western Slope is not limited to Grand Junction; it encompasses everything west of the Continental Divide. This includes Garfield, Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray and San Miguel counties. Historically, these interpreters have been cut off from the benefits of organizations like CAPI, like trainings, networking, and professional development opportunities, unless they were willing to travel very long distances and spend large amounts of money to attend events in the Denver area. The board has resolved to make CAPI more accessible to these members and ensure that CAPI truly is a statewide organization that takes into account the needs and interests of all of its members.
A stronger CAPI is better for all of its members
As a membership-based organization, CAPI exists to serve its members; without a strong membership base, CAPI would cease to have purpose. In its strategic planning session in June, the board identifying “new member recruiting” as a priority goal for the 2014-2015 term, specifically referring to interpreters from other parts of the state. This will ensure that CAPI truly represents and hears the needs of all of Colorado’s interpreters.
The fact is that a stronger and broader association of Colorado interpreters will be able to provide better educational opportunities and more benefits to all interpreters, including, of course, those that live in the Denver metropolitan area.
The argument for Grand Junction
It is our hope that this statement of CAPI’s goals, motives, and intentions may help clarify our decision to hold this conference outside of Denver. We also believe that conference attendees will truly enjoy the experience of spending a fall weekend in Grand Junction.
Grand Junction is located about four hours from Denver. Interpreters from the Front Range travel to the Western Slope regularly without giving it much thought, and vice versa. The drive along I-70 is beautiful, but for those members who wish not to drive, CAPI is helping to organize carpools and if enough people express interest, a comfortable bus will be organized at cost. According to the website “Cost2Drive”, the round trip to Grand Junction in a big SUV today is about $80; in a sedan it costs about $42, and that can be divided by the number of passengers in the vehicle.
If you have not been to Grand Junction during this time of year before, it is actually our favorite time of the year to visit (or in Anna’s case, live in) that area of the state. The average temperature in Junction in October is 54 degrees, and in early October it is likely to be higher than that. The conference dates fall within the foliage change peak season on the Grand Mesa (just one week after Color Sunday at Powderhorn) and the landscapes are breathtaking. OctoberFest is held outdoors in the quaint downtown on that weekend and some folks are planning to include a visit to one or two of the 20 wineries in the Grand Valley.
In short, the board is very excited for this conference and we are encouraged by the feedback we received at Monday’s CAPI Judicial Conference. Many of our Front Range colleagues have already expressed their intention to attend and we have been watching registration numbers rise.
If you have any further questions about the conference, Grand Junction, or CAPI’s goals and objectives, please contact either of us. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you in Grand Junction!