This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the I Am In Print 5 Year Celebration. In Print is a premiere writer’s organization in the stateline area along the Illinois/Wisconsin border. We meet most month’s in Cherry Valley, a small community tucked around the I90, bypass 20, I39 interchange between Rockford and Belvidere.
Although we meet in Cherry Valley, our members are from all over the stateline area; from as far away as DeKalb to Lanark, to Madison, to Woodstock. In Print seeks to inspire and serve writers from all genre and at all levels.
The group was founded 5.5 years ago by five visionary women, Kristin Oakley, Kathleen Tresemer, Mary Lamphere, Carol Ahrens, and Pat Noel. I don’t remember how I first heard about the group’s inaugural meeting in March, 2011 but as soon as I did, I knew I had to be there. It didn’t take long after I walked through the door that they recognized the volunteer sucker insignia tattooed on my forehead. Within a month I had become the newsletter editor (not sure how that happened either) and shortly after that the website administrator.
For that first meeting, the conference room at the Cherry Valley Library was packed and Kelly Epperson, In Print’s first guest speaker, was engaging and inspiring. The members of In Print have really become like family, they have comforted me, pushed me, nurtured me, inspired me, and humbled me. I am as awestruck today as I was five years ago to see and meet so many talented individuals up in my neck of the woods.
Fast forward five years. Has it really been five years already? Dozens of meetings later (5 dozen to be exact) and In Print is going strong. Part of the I Am In Print Celebration program was a slide presentation of some of the speakers, events, workshops, and retreats that In Print has hosted since 2011 and I have to admit that I got a little teary watching it.
On the tables at the celebration there were postcards that attendees could fill out if they so wished. The question to answer was What has In Print meant to you? Just like the decision to go to that inaugural meeting, it didn’t take me but a minute to come up with an answer: What has In Print meant to me? I have found my tribe.