Friday, July 9, 2010

Annual Leadership Retreat

Just got back from the IRC Leadership Retreat that we hold each summer in support of our local councils' officers. From what I could see, everyone had a wonderful time and got lots of planning done for the upcoming year. Local councils were able to come up with some great ideas for increasing their memberships and involving more people in their events as well as planning the events themselves. AND I got to give away two books by authors who are coming to the conference! Some lucky person will receive a free copy of Bad News for Outlaws, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, and another will receive a free copy of When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. The local council representatives who won these will give them away to a new member who has never been to the conference; those two people will present their tokens at registration (at the conference) and receive their prizes. I know it may seem a little complicated, but there are three reasons for doing it this way: providing door prizes for local councils to give away helps them with their events, a door prize that can only be collected at the conference might encourage someone to register (I know - it's just a book, but hey! It's a great book, and it's free!) and giving away these books promotes the authors who are coming to the conference.

Once again, we set up the BOX display that my husband had made for the IRC conference last spring, and my thanks to all of the good folks who helped with any aspect of this -it's always quite an undertaking, but so worth the effort. Also, HUGE thanks to the IRC office staff, who did all of the collating / printing / packing / organizing of materials (and candy!) and especially to Bobbi Sjenost, our intrepid IRA Regional Coordinator, who planned the whole thing, right down to the last detail. A wonderful time, and a productive one as well. A terrific addition this year was a session on technology - Tracy Turasiak helped local councils create Facebook pages in order to add a level of communication with their membership, and I believe some folks also started blogs and web pages. This will bring our communication further into the scope of reaching more members than we might have been doing before.

Anyone reading this blog who might be considering running for office for your local council, please go right ahead and take that step. And when you do, mark your calendars for next July for the IRC Leadership Resort at Grand Bear Resort in Utica. It's a great chance to get your questions answered about your office and to get your council's events for the year all planned out. Oh, and did I mention Membership Grant money? And the motivational speaker? And the book sale? And the indoor water park? Really, the guidance that this organization provides to new leaders is phenomenal. New officers understand their roles much better after attending Leadership, and all it costs you is your time. (Unless you stop at one of the wineries down the road.)

As for the conference, there are a few speakers who were not included in the printed version of the conference preview distributed at the conference last March, but within a few weeks, their information should be included in the online version of the preview. I'll post something in the blog when that's been amended.

I would encourage you to submit those proposals for presenting at the conference. I know the deadline seems years away, but it's only September 1st!

Did I mention that at the book sale at Leadership I purchased a copy of Harrius Potter? Yes, that's Harry Potter in Latin!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Love and Leadership

Well, the past few weeks have been a blur because my stepdaughter was just married this past weekend! Even as a stepmother, I had lots to do to get ready for the event, and it was even more wonderful than I'd imagined it could be. So today I've been trying to ready myself for the annual Illinois Reading Council Leadership event for this week - I need to leave tomorrow afternoon in order to be at the Grand Bear Lodge in Utica Illinois and will be there until next Friday. Leadership is always a fun event, though it's full of hard work! Local council officers have the opportunity to learn more about their offices and to plan events for the year as well as get ready for the annual conference in March the following year. Here are a couple of photos of some of the folks who attended last year.

Anyway, in a previous post I indicated that my goal would be to read EVERY book by EVERY author who will be at the 2011 conference. I've been balking at that a little bit, I will admit - quite a lofty goal I set for myself! And I'm not sure how to keep track of it - but I'm sure something will come up. Meanwhile, I'll just let you know in this blog about the books I'm reading.

Tonight I read Jane Yolen and Mark Teague's How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? and what an adorable book! I know Jane and Mark have teamed up for an entire series of "How Do" dinosaur books, and I do intend to read them all, but this one will really make you fall in love with it immediately. The dinosaurs in each illustration are different from each other, which at first I didn't understand, but then I realized that ... yes, our little 'dinosaurs' can seem like entirely different beings from moment to moment. And the wonderful thing about the different dinosaur illustrations is that each is identified on the page (and the inside of the front jacket). You and your students will learn a lot of new dinosaurs - I had never heard of most of them. Neovenator, Ouranosaurus, and Kentrosaurus, to name a few. At first I thought maybe Jane and Mark had created them out of their own imaginations, but I looked them up - so can your students!