Friday, March 19, 2010

Fourteen Years and Counting

This is the fourteenth year for KCWC, formerly known as Kentucky Christian Writers Seminar. To celebrate, I asked founder, Kate Thomas, to share how it all started and how her vision for KCWC has developed since the beginning. Kate has been a pastor's wife and public school teacher in addition to being a writer and proofreader. Her work has been published in several periodicals and two Guideposts compilation books. She has also published three books herself. Here's what she had to say.

My vision for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference at the outset was to provide an opportunity for persons who hold in their hearts a desire to write and to receive training to do so. I believed that this was possible because other states around Kentucky were offering writers conferences.

In 1996, after meeting Donna Goodrich at the ACW Conference in Nashville, I felt that there could be such a conference in Kentucky. It seemed the sensible place to establish the conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, due to its central location. I asked the trustees of Memorial United Methodist Church to consider our using their facility to host the first conference. They agreed, and the pastor’s wife, Brenda Loy, along with Joyce Joines, the friend who accompanied me to the ACW Conference in Nashville, agreed to meet with me to discuss my dream. We met monthly for a year.

I purchased 500 names of potential attendees from Sally Stuart and mailed the announcement and registration form to them. With little money or expertise and an abundance of faith and determination, our first conference was held in June of 1997. We had seventy-one conferees present for our first conference with Donna Goodrich as our keynote speaker. We had six states represented at our first conference, and a wonderful spirit prevailed.

My present vision is still much the same as the original---to meet the needs of the conferees regardless of where they are in their writing experience. The mission statement that we developed early on was: “To promote an annual event to equip and encourage writers in their quest for publication. The conference will provide a safe environment where writers can discover their gifts and share their work.”

In an effort to meet attendees' needs and comply with Kate's vision, the steering committee uses the conference evaluations to improve the offerings from year to year. For example, last year, attendees said they wanted more workshops. This year, we'll offer more workshop time slots so that attendees can have just what they asked for.

See the website for details:

Registration page will go live by April 1st.

For more on KCWC history, follow this link.

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