Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Domestic Skills Symposium 2018

My dear reader knows many things about me. I am impatient, messy, and sometimes even a bit clever with the right circumstances. Above all else I am a social creature that craves human interaction. (Or I start talking to myself. This is hilarious, if you ever get to see it). This year, I attended the conference alone!

At first, I balked at the idea of driving 6+ hours by myself. Can I handle staying in a hotel room alone? But there it was. People were sick, had other events, or family commitments. Sometimes the hand of fate twists things in just the right way. If I wanted to attend, I had no choice but to go solo. This made me incredibly anxious right before I left....

And I have to say....it was amazing!
Isn't it lovely?

Not that I don't love my family/friends who attend with me. It's my preferred way to go, no doubt. But there is something amazingly calm about a gentle drive alone in the woods. It was a break from human interaction that I didn't know I needed.

As for the conference itself; how does this thing keep getting better every year? I'm pretty sure there's  a history wizard out back that waves a wand and makes this happen. Because there's just no explanation for why it's always so good. (LOL I know it's blood, sweat, and tears).

On Friday I took a paper quilling workshop, an art I've seen on Pinterest boards for years. There were so many beautiful examples! Later that night I sneaked over to an AC Moore (which is better than Michaels or Joann Fabrics here in Michigan) and picked up more supplies. I think this little project will do well with my students.
 I made this!
 These were her creations!

The presentations were also quite interesting. I learned about differences in reading/writing education in the 18th century, Georgian dining delights, all that is Jello, and 1840's clothing from Queen Victoria's closet. I enjoyed the speakers and their thoughtful research. I appreciate the time it takes to gather sources, find images, and make an interesting presentation. And goodness do I love those primary source images!

The meal on Saturday was amazing! Though I realized I'm not a big fan of gelatin desserts. It didn't matter; I ate about ten rolls and artichokes. Also, I have a thing for pickled beets. (My hometown is not far from the big sugar beet factory). I have no pictures of my food this year-I ate it too quickly!

The Sunday workshop included me attempting to cut a goose feather into a pen. Then I tried to write with that pen. My fingers still have a bit of ink despite a few scrubbings. Turns out I also write cursive like a 3rd grader, despite my best efforts. Thank you Catholic school for that thoughtful instruction!


 And finally, I did some shopping. This needle book came from Anna Worden-Baursmith (She has goodies in her shop. Click here and spend all of your money...). I'm going to be really honest here. I haven't been sewing a whole lot lately. However, I like pretty things, and this is certainly a pretty thing that makes me look like an accomplished seamstress. *Sigh*

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I'm a bit under the weather right now, so I apologize if this post is a bit shorter than it could be. Something about the time/weather change always gives me a cough right about now. I'm excited that I pushed through my anxiety to have an awesome trip. Next year I'll be going back. I hope to see you there too!

~Kristen

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Citizen's Forum of the 1860s, 2019


We changed our theme this year to reflect the shift that we as organizers felt in planning. With a new site comes an entirely new set of expectations. Refashioning one thing for another use was quite a common practice in the 19th century too!

One of the buildings we will use this year!

This year's lineup includes an amazing cast of speakers, presenters, and vendors. And while we are still working through a new site with all of its newness, we want to make sure people know how awesome it will be!

Main seminars are available attendees on Saturday. Topics are centered around our theme. Seminars are approximately 45 minutes long, held in the historic church.


What You Have, Where You Are: Planning Civilian Events 
~Betsy Connolly Watkins
Civilian-centric events are a wonderful way to interpret and explore the lives on those at home during
the Civil War era. Yet so many would-be event organizers run into difficulties, especially around the
resources on hand to plan local events. In this session we will explore ways to cultivate local resources
and how to find those untapped treasures necessary for planning a civilian event. We will discuss how to gain inspiration for events, how to work within the possible limitations presented to you, and why it is important to plan events locally – where you are, with what you have.

A Story in the Thread: The Clothing of Enslaved Women in the Antebellum South
~Cheyney McKnight
What is the difference between the clothing of enslaved black women and free white women during the Antebellum period? Discover what enslaved women were wearing and how their culture, circumstances, and creativity impacted their clothing. Find out the how the clues they left behind can help us to understand what they were wearing.

Second-Hand Plumage: Used Clothing Trades in Mid-Century America
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark
We are not the first to recycle or upcycle! We'll take a look at the vast system of used clothing and related trades at mid-century, including the people involved, and how re-used or upcycled clothing might affect your household, your impression, and your interpretive work. We'll focus on the expanding United States, and viewing our own wardrobe arrangements within a wider national and global context. This fast-paced overview is rich in inspiration for adapting and creating new impressions in multiple settings. Where do you fit in the grand life-cycle of a garment, both then and now?

Workshops are available all weekend. Some require a kit fee, while others are included with conference registration. Seats are limited in a few of these classes!

Interpreting and Reenacting Slavery 

~Cheyney McKnight
Would you like to address enslavement in your interpretation, but are intimidated by the prospect of speaking to the public about slavery? This workshop will provide you with the tools to get started interpreting slavery in a museum or living history environments. Participants will be provided with steps, common problems, solutions and scenarios that will provide them with the confidence to educate the public about slavery

1860’s Ladies Basic Cuff Workshop: A Basic Set for Coat Sleeves 
~Sara Gonzalez
Brief overview of period ladies cuffs and undersleeves, followed by a basic cuff workshop. Learn how to create a set of basic cuffs for a dress with coat sleeves! Complete Ensembles of the Past cuff kit is included in your price for this workshop, as well as information on other cuff and undersleeve styles!

Youth Participation Seminar
~Kristen Mrozek
Have you noticed dwindling participation with your organization? Are you looking for ideas to getting youth involved at your site? Spend an hour with Kristen Mrozek discussing different techniques that will increase participation of young people with your group or historic site. You will have the opportunity to speak one on one with group members, workshopping solutions to fit your needs. “One size fits all” does not fit here; we will try to tailor our discussion to help your site specifically.
Our goal by the end of the workshop is for each person to leave with at least an outlined plan for how to attract young people to their organization.

Youth Discussion Seminar
~Kristen Mrozek
Hey young person! This seminar is just for you! Kristen Mrozek will lead a discussion that will help guide youth in pursuing their historical interests. Topics include favorite event activities, opportunities for leadership, and how to fine tune a presentation. Children will receive a surprise gift to help further their interests in history. Parents and other adults are invited to listen or take notes. However, we ask that they hold off participation in the discussion until the end of the workshop.

Up Close and Personal Clothing
~Glenna Jo Christen
Using provided survey forms for dresses and wrappers, participants will get a detailed, inside and out “guided tour” of at least two garments they choose from a selection of original women’s dresses and wrappers. They will learn about typical dress and wrapper construction features and fabrics and the differences between them, along with common variations and some unique features. Everyone will get
their own Dress and a Wrapper Survey Forms to use to collect information when they have the opportunity to examine other garments.

Ladies Basic Collar Workshop
~Sara Gonzalez
This is a brief overview of period ladies collars, followed by a basic collar workshop. Learn how to adapt a collar pattern to fit you and your gown, and make it up by hand in this workshop! Complete Ensembles of the Past collar kit is included in your price for this workshop!

Franken-Corset: Remodel Your Foundation
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark
Corsets need to change as your body changes! Particularly of use to those dressing teens, or those experiencing figure changes of any kind. If you're in flux, not ready to commit to a new corset entirely, but need some alterations now, come and learn how to take a corset in to better fit your needs, or set in a gusset to add room! Take-home illustrated workbook included.

Tiny Tidy Things
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark
Explore a nifty facet of mid-century publications: a range of small, useful projects to be made with commonly-found household materials, with only a small expected influx of readily-available purchased supplies. Get familiar with mid-19th-century "Pinterest", and make something of your own! Participants receive a short list of stash items to bring along for their projects or to swap with others; a Common Findings table with findings and materials is also open for use, and the workshop includes an illustrated take-home workbook with templates and instructions for each project. All projects are drawn from US publications 1859-1865.

Mend, Remake, Remodel
~Elizabeth Stewart Clark
Learn some great period mending techniques to extend the useful life of your clothing, ways to remodel your existing garments for new uses, and how you can use these historical ideas to enhance your living history work. Rips, holes, strains? Gaping necklines? Pinchy armpits? It's all fixable in a period-appropriate way! Participants bring a garment or two of their own and basic sewing supplies to practice the techniques and get advice on re-fitting garments and extending the useful life of quality historical clothing. Take-home illustrated workbook included.

Decorated Hairnets
~Betsy Watkins Connelly
As demonstrated in countless original images, hairnets (both decorated and undecorated) were one of the most popular accessories for women of all ages in the mid-19th century. These functional bits of frippery kept the hair neat and tidy while also accessorizing the ensemble. In this workshop, we will
discuss hairnets and look at different examples of hairnets. Participants will have the chance to try their
hand at creating a decorated hairnet using ribbons, beads, and tassels. Basic hand sewing skills are
necessary to complete this workshop.

Make Your Own Hardback Blank Book
~Bob Sullivan
In this workshop you will be taught elements of book-binding and will make your own blank book.
You will learn proper sewing techniques for binding a stack of paper as a book, how to create a cover, attaching endpapers, and finalizing the book. The workshop includes a kit with all the materials necessary to make 1 blank book with 50 sheets of blank paper covered in marble paper and half-bound in cloth. Book covers made in this way can also be used as covers for phones, tablets, and other modern devices that find their way into camp.

Hair Flower Workshop
~Lucy Cadwallader
Step Back into the Victorian Era and Create your Own Hair Flower! Each participant will be shown how to construct their own hair flower using the "gimp" technique. All the necessary items will be available to complete a flower. If you elect to bring your own swatch of hair, it must be at least 10 inches in length and the diameter of a pencil-place in a ziplock bag (human hair or horsehair works best). You may opt to make your hair flower into a pin or display it in a glass paper weight, a glass dome or wooden box (available to purchase). Lucy will also be bringing a variety of original hair art as well as projects she has made from hair. Start your family heirloom today!
Ghost Tour (Friday Night)

1860’s Fabrics 101: Training the Period Eye
~Sara Gonzalez
Have you ever wondered how to know if a fabric is period correct? Is it possible to go to a fabric store and just know if that cotton print is appropriate for the Civil War years or to throw it out the window with the rest? How do you determine these questions if it doesn’t say “reproduction?” What type of fabrics did they actually have and use frequently in the 1860’s, and have those terms changed? Get the answer to these questions and more in this brief lecture class by fabric enthusiast Sara Gonzalez, all while you pour over images of original textiles and discover their uses!

A Brief Overview: Original Punch Paper Collection
~Kristen Mrozek
Perforated paper items were a popular project during the 19th century. From bookmarks to memorial pieces, this needle work displayed the fine skills of a lady from the time. Join Kristen as she displays parts of her original perforated paper collection and brainstorm ideas for your own project.


FAQ About the Changes

Why did we move?
Due to construction at Monroe County Community College, we spent months searching for the perfect location for the 2019 conference. We require so many moving parts that it seemed impossible to find just the right spot. Luckily, we found the Maumee Valley Historical Society, and their Wolcott Heritage Center Complex.

What is different about the space?
The Wolcott Heritage Center Complex includes seven different historic buildings. We will be working in and around a historic site for the weekend. This presents an amazing opportunity to learn in buildings that speak to the history of the 19th century. Of course we will still include modern conveniences like hot coffee, bathrooms, and wifi!

How will the schedule look?
Here is one of the biggest changes. While Friday and Sunday will include only workshops, the Saturday conference day will include both workshops and seminars. The soiree will still be held on Friday, and will be held in the early 19th century Wolcott House.

Why did you add workshops to the seminar schedule on Saturday?
A seminar is a chunk set aside for a main speaker. These are topics that typically broad enough to pertain to most history lovers, regardless of their specific study focus. However, the long hours seated can be difficult for many.

Instead, we have included three seminars during the day, with workshops woven in to allow attendees to stand up and move around. A break for hands on activities can be crucial to the learning process. Also, people can schedule their own breaks to meet with friends or vendors throughout the day.

Will food still be included?
Food will be available throughout the day. We will have stations with food where you can grab a snack any time in the weekend. Coffee and drinks will be available as well.

Since we lack a large cafeteria space, meals will look different. We will have designated areas where you can eat (including outdoor, weather permitting) with a larger time frame to eat. The group will not be able to eat together as a large group, which will give everyone time to take the workshops/visit vendors/chat with friends.

What should I wear?
Modern clothing, all weekend if you'd like! On Friday night we will hold a soiree in the Wolcott House, where period clothing WILL be appropriate. But don't feel pressured!

I'm really new to this. Should I still come?
DEFINITELY! We love seeing new faces. We all started somewhere. Bring your questions, make new friends, and gawk at 19th century clothing and accessories. Enjoying history is a universal experience!



Space is VERY limited compared to our previous conference. If you are interested in attending, I highly recommend registering early. Registration is not complete until we receive payment. Let us know if you have any questions about this process on the website.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us or comment below. We love to help, and we're so excited to share another conference with everyone!

~Kristen



Friday, September 14, 2018

Teacher, Student, Whatever

It's been awhile since I've dusted off the keyboard for my blog! Lately I've been hammering away at my book (which will hopefully be available this winter), as well as toiling away with a strict training regime. For my new puppy...
My little future therapy dog in training...

I also have a ton of books to add to my summer reading challenge. Of course I read the books already, sometimes more than one a week, but I didn't write anything down. I let myself enjoy the summer without setting deadlines. 

One cool thing I DO want to show off is this video about my kids at school doing beadwork.



I feel so awkward about being on television. My face looks funny, my voice ridiculous. I take comfort in the fact that beadwork is awesome, and twice a month kids meet in my room to eat and hang out. During the school year, my entire front table is covered with beads, projects, and papers for ideas about projects. It will be clean again...in May?

So I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, and will hopefully have more blog posts this fall. If not, imagine that I'm instead spending my time whisking a puppy outside so he doesn't have an accident. Probably that!

~Kristen


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Book #1: To Net or Not to Net: Revisted


Title: To Net or Not to Net: Revisted
Author: Anna Worden Baursmith
Published: 2018 
Format: Downloadable PDF

Summary:


Anna Worden Baursmith explores the many aspects of wearing a hair net. This includes materials used, construction, and context of wearing. She clearly states and uses her primary sources to breathe life into the 19th century images throughout the text. It would be prudent to call this the definitive source on all things net related, and one that every reenactor should study.

My Favorite Things:

Dictionary-Since I've not had a lot of experience with the "hair" side of reenacting, understanding the language is key to delving into the primary sources. While the words are familiar, her explanations are clear, and help me to better grasp the context of each piece.

Tons of Images-Wait 'til you see these. Seriously, there is an appendix of fashion plates with descriptions. And that's just a tidbit of the primary sources! There are oodles of CDVs to show what these nets look like in person. I'm a visual person, so her attempts to teach to my brain are very well received.

Ridiculous Bibliography-Why do I use the word "ridiculous"? Because it involves PAGES of sources. Primary documents. Links to sites that can help you expand your research. Essentially the blood, sweat, and tears of Anna Worden Baursmith committed to page. If you're not crying by the end of that beautifully formatted work, you're a monster go back and think about the dedication it takes to track down that many leads and then just give them to others in this book.

Notable Quotes:

"When I wrote “To Net or Not to Net” fifteen years ago it was the most in depth research I undertook to that point. Online research was in its youth. I was in my research infancy. Since that time, the information publicly available on the internet has compounded, while I have come to understand the depths of locally available materials far better." 

Excuse me? An update??? While I've not read the original, I was VERY impressed by the current edition, and have a lot of respect for a person who goes back to update research. It's all too easy to sit back and say "Welp, I'm done." Not Anna Worden Baursmith. Again, that's a true educator move.

"Hair nets were worn for both function and for fashion." 

Context is key, and she nails it. She's not just looking at the frilly side of history. She's clear that she wants the reader to be well-versed in all that is hairnet and holy by the end of the book. Praise be!

"Here are two examples of images I purchased thinking the women are wearing hair nets..."

You really need to buy the book to fully understand this line, so let me explain just a bit. She comments here on one of the pitfalls she encountered during her dive into history. Not only is she sharing all the RIGHT stuff, but she's walking you through the challenges you may face in your own research. Thank you!

Suggestions/Advice for Reading:

Can we have TWO Anna Worden Baursmiths? Maybe clone her so she can keep writing at a non-stop pace? I'm currently debating the ethics of such a decision...

Anna Worden Bauersmith - After a hail stormAnna Worden Bauersmith - After a hail storm

Seriously though, I loved this book! While it falls more under my "reference" category, it answers many of my questions without coming off as dry or boring. Her words are precise, the pictures relevant, and the sources lengthy. My suggestion for Anna is that she continues to write (clone or not), as her blog If I Had My Own Blue Box is awesome too.

If you're looking for a link to buy the book, click here. It is available as a downloadable file on Etsy for only $15, so you will instantly receive access to more research than you'll know what to do with. Give yourself time to read, maybe a pillow too because you'll fall asleep smiling next to the screen.

What, that doesn't happen to everyone

I hope this first post quenched your thirst for knowledge, and opened your mind just a bit. Happy reading fellow history lovers, and until next week!

~Kristen

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Kristen's Summer Reading Challenge

Oh no. Here I go again, doing a thing.

Kristen's 
Summer Reading
Challenge

Why?

As you probably already know, dear reader, I am a teacher. Teachers are blessed with so many things; smiling students, cheerful staff meetings, and the stray puddle of vomit at the end of the day. Summer vacation is that blissful time to get away from it all to preserve some semblance of sanity.

LOL

Teachers use the summer to refine lesson plans, design curriculum, plan new classroom setup, catch up on current teaching pedagogy, and set aside cash for those new books/carts/posters. While the day to day classroom teaching no longer exists, a sense of purpose certainly continues.

This summer, I would like to extend that learning time into my reenacting life. Sure, I read all the time. But it is usually for reference, and I hardly take many notes. Hence the beginning of an awesome summer reading challenge I have named...Kristen's Summer Reading Challenge. 

What is it?

Each week I will craft a blog post about a book that I've read, specifically one related to history. While many of these books will focus on the Civil War Civilian experience, I do enjoy Regency and Edwardian text. There's a good one about King Henry VIII too! I'm not limiting myself to a genre either, and I will gladly read fiction and non-fiction. 

Can I participate?

I would love to hear your thoughts about the books that I read, or recommendations for others like it. Maybe there's a line you just love, and have to share! While I don't have a specific "plan" for a group reading list, if enough people are interested, maybe we'll try in the fall?

To sum up...

Look for blog posts from me this summer. Read them. Enjoy them? And perhaps buy a book yourself and have a good summer!

~Kristen

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April Post-Conference Recovery

Back to it!

I find that the conference eats up so much of my time every year. I love every little bit, but the decompression afterwards is a necessity. We've certainly planned for next year already (March 23-25, 2019, Monroe County Community College). However...it is so important that I spend this time regrouping and catching up on things I may have put on the back burner. Things like watching my little brother play in a baseball tournament, or going rock climbing. 

In my extra time, I've decided to pick up bullet journaling. Basically it's a book with dots that you turn into whatever you want. For me it has become a planner/goal tracker/list holder. I have all these cute little stencils that make the pages so adorable that it doesn't even feel like they represent work. I may form a Facebook group for my fellow history lovers who utilize historical themes (I have a few pages solely dedicated to that!). Maybe a blog post ahead? This summer?
My handwriting is atrocious. I accept this cruel twist of fate.

Also, the amazing Greenfield Village event is underway. While I do have a decent amount of stock left over from last year, I will need to really push to have enough jewelry/accessories/other to sell all weekend. I also like to add new items, which will include some hair ribbons (if I don't keep them) and painted floor cloths (which may stay with me too). I have to keep an eye on my wrists too; the "sewing soreness" can put me behind if I'm not careful.

All in all I think the last month gave me the breathing room I needed to proceed with the hobby I love. Sometimes you need a bit of time to refresh. Burnout Blues are definitely a thing! It helps that Michigan finally decided to cooperate in the whole "starting spring" department. That last ice storm was hardly conducive to work. She can be such a brutal place when she wants to be...

Good luck with your preparations for the season! I wish you all dresses that didn't shrink in the closet, shoe sets where one didn't walk away, and canvas free of little mice nibbles. Having experienced all three, I don't wish them on anyone else!

~Kristen




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Citizen's Forum of the 1860s 2018

So we did it again. We did another conference. It was awesome.

This year was such a vast improvement compared to 2017! And although I thought we did well in 2017, we did fantastically better. Maybe it was the better communication. Maybe it was the added signs (a few arrows pointing the wrong way that we fixed....I did that...). Maybe it was the improved menu. Maybe it was the addition of extra workshops. Maybe it was the in-depth look at originals with accompanying 19th century images. Maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Whatever it was, we had fun.


(The following photos are a mix from Andy Assenmacher, Jennifer Long, Matthew Music, Eric Smallwood, Sara Gonzalez and myself. They have taken pity on me and let me use their photos!)

Soiree
On Friday we mingled at The Historic Sawyer House in downtown Monroe. This included copious amounts of food and punch. We had a real southerner make the punch, so you know it was legitimate punch. Seriously, I ate more than my corset could handle! Some settled into conversations with friends, while others had their likeness taken by Robert Beech.

Rocking Horse Toys and games also brought a selections of period toys and games for people to enjoy throughout the night. There's nothing more satisfying than playing with toys!

Keynote Speakers
As a high school teacher, five days a week you can find me giving a lecture to a group of teenagers. I enjoy my job immensely, and it's part of the reason I adore offering educational opportunities to the reenacting community.

However...

I actually enjoying learning from others WAY more than speaking. Is it a needed break from my day job? Perhaps. Or maybe I know to learn from the best! In any case, here is the line-up of our seminar speakers, and their presentations. They were absolutely fantastic in every way! They prompted deep conversations about how we look at and talk about history.

Elizabeth Stewart Clark
An Eye for Detail: Examining Period Imagery
and
Our Latest Issue: Original Publications and What We Can Glean From Them

Robert Beech
19th Century Photography

Elizabeth Aldridge
Removing Roadblocks from Research

Jillian Drapala
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly; Female Anomalies of the Civil War

Workshops
Another addition to this conference: more workshops! Based on the surveys from the previous year, people wanted more hands-on opportunities to learn.

We also decided to add "drop in" to our Sunday schedule. Perhaps someone couldn't make their Friday class, or originally thought they had to leave earlier. Or maybe they spotted a near-complete project across the room on Saturday afternoon and were instantly smitten...whatever the case, these classes were full of happy, hardworking individuals ready to learn!

Collars~Sara Gonzalez


Cravats~Eric Smallwood

Textile Identification~Glenna Jo Christen

Fitting from Patterns
and
Draping~Elizabeth Stewart Clark

A Beaded Bracelet~Kristen Mrozek

Originals Area
This year we took a slightly different approach to displaying our original, 19th century items. You'll notice quite a few little signs with images and explanations. Possibly an excessive amount, upon reflection. That's because this year Glenna Jo and I set a ridiculous goal:
EVERY ORIGINAL MUST HAVE AN IMAGE.

Let's briefly recall our theme this year:
"How does imagery inform our historical representations?"

What does that mean? If we display a dress with a gathered bodice, a CDV of a woman with a gathered bodice will be featured below. That crazy men's plaid pattern of pants? Got it! Children's shoes? We found an advertisement in a 19th century magazine that is identical! Jewelry? Check. Cool perforated paper? There's the original instructions for that exact project in Godey's Lady's Book.

Learning from speakers is fantastic (especially those with images and wit). But many people are visual learners too. Last year we did have a display of original items, though it was difficult to compare those originals to images Glenna Jo and I know we've seen. Having an image right there helped everyone better understand what they were looking at. An amazing teaching tool!

It was one of the most difficult but rewarding things we've ever done.
(Glenna worked much harder on this than I did-she's awesome!)

Now let your eyeballs soak it in!

Vendor Area
I always find the vendors to be an essential part of what we do. Here we have a group of talented, research-driven individuals who reproduce many of the items we use in our impressions today. They are a valuable part of the reenacting community, and should be supported in every way. Needless to say, I spent a bit of money, as did many other eager conference attendees!

I must add that all of these hard-working individuals are very nice, and love to answer your questions. Feel free to message them from the links I've provided here.



Elizabeth Aldridge & Elizabeth Stewart Clark
They are two separate businesses, but shared a table!


*I will do a post about her conference coming soon!


Mrs. Christen's Miscellanea 



Youth Workshop
We explored different topics in our youth workshop this year. With ages ranging from 8-30 (haha-me!), eleven young people congregated to discuss a variety of issues, from making their voices heard to implementing their own ideas within their reenacting units. It was fascinating to hear their hopes and struggles within the historical community as a whole. At dinner, a young person addressed the main conference with many of these thoughts...

And the lady speaking into the microphone? Miss Ava. She is an amazing young woman who did generally anything that was asked throughout the weekend. She manned the front door, participated in the youth workshop, and helped hand out prizes. In the future, I plan to continue utilizing young peoples' talents in every way. They are certainly awesome and are the future of reenacting.


Positivity Board
What is a "positivity board"?

Good Question.

As a society, we can sometimes focus on the negative. I battle with this in my classroom every day, and I know it doesn't necessarily stop in adulthood. I've created a "positivity board" to remind ourselves and others that YES! someone does care about you, and is grateful for your contributions to our community. It was basically a board with markers, sticky notes, and that warm fuzzy feeling in your chest when you see something that makes you happy.

While many of the notes were "thank yous," I saw beautiful writing. The best were written anonymously to speakers and fellow conference goers, offering their support in many ways. It gives me hope that we are going in the right direction, one filled with thoughtfulness and learning. 


Conclusion
I do have a few more blog posts planned. As an event organizer, I feel compelled to share what worked, what didn't, and how we plan to improve each year. People read my blog for different reasons; you might be my Mom showing this post to friends, a curious future attendee, or an even more curious event planner, wondering just how in the heck we managed to pull this off again!
(Mom, I can help you download these pics later, just remind me...)

To me, the best part of the conference is watching groups of people come together in pursuit of knowledge. I witnessed at least one friendship bloom! I'm glad we can create a safe, welcoming environment where everyone can learn, share, and grow together. We left feeling a bit like a family; I know I said goodbye to many people that I wished would stay.


So here we are again. I've had a few weeks to clean out my car, cuddle with some kittens, and pretend that I live a normal life. But here's the burning question...are we doing another conference?

2019 Conference!
Here we come!

Details coming just as soon as I catch another breath.
Take care friends, and have another safe and fun reenacting season!

~Kristen 

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