An ARA's View of a Regional SCBWI Conference

Happy 2014! Okay, it's been a while since I've posted. But that's a good thing. I've just been too darn busy. Really, that's my goal. To be too busy to blog. Well, I'm still too busy, but I'm feeling guilty now, so I'm gonna try to get back on the wagon a little.

Me and Katie (and Carolyn Mackler--d'oh!)
So, last year I accepted the role of assistant Regional Advisor for my local SCBWI chapter, San Francisco/South. With all the perks and the huge salary (um, okay it's a volunteer position) also came a greater sense of duty to my fellow chapter members as well as the responsibility and ownership for our annual regional conference. I really wanted to do my all to make this year's gathering at Asilomar special and worth-wile for everyone. Along with our RA, Naomi Kinsman and our Illustrator Coordinator, Lea Lyon, I think we pulled off a truly great weekend in early February.

The Faculty we brought in was utterly amazing. They were open and inspiring and really engaged with the attendees. I had the privilege as ARA of inviting one person of my choice to the faculty. My absolute first pick was author-illustrator and social media maven, Katie Davis, and guess what? She came! It was so great to finally meet her in person and introduce her at the conference. She put on a stellar presentation about authors using video to promote their work.

David Shannon's thumbprint.
From YA novelist Carolyn Mackler photo bombing my selfie with Katie, to author-illustrator David Shannon smushing his thumbprint on my glasses, the whole weekend had so many layers of fun and surprise. It was a brain sapping amount of work and I can't say it was very relaxing. But it wasn't supposed to be. I stepped over to the other side. The side where the event only succeeds if you help make it work. By the end, the resounding feeling I went home with was pride. I was proud of the job we did, proud to be on the advisory committee team, proud of our volunteers whom we couldn't have survived the weekend without, and proud to contribute in my own little way to helping others in this incredible kidlit industry get a little further down their career paths.

If you've never volunteered for an SCBWI event, give it a shot! It will enrich your experience and who knows, maybe David Shannon will come by and press his thumb on your glasses, too.