Luxury resort in the mountains. Over 200 people who love books. Experts who give thrilling presentations. An on-site bookstore. And fabulous food.
Doesn’t that sound like the recipe for a most marvelous weekend? Well, it was! Last weekend I had the privilege of attending, participating in and presenting at the UVU For the Love of Reading Conference.
About a year ago I got a phone call from a professor at UVU inviting me to be on the planning committee and present for this conference. I almost fell off my bed (where I was sitting, hiding from the children. What an amazing opportunity. On that day, February seemed so far away, but it came in the blink of an eye.
Friday morning I left the house before the sun was up and drove for an hour up to the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah (one of my favorite little towns). It was a spectacular drive – fresh snow, rising sun, peaceful canyon.
The entire day was amazing from the rousing keynote presentation by Dr. Steven Layne, to the pure inspiration of Yuyi Morlaes’ lunch presentation and all the informational breakout sessions. In between I browsed the UVU on-site bookstore – everything 15% off – and bought too many books.
At the dinner banquet, my fellow KSL columnist and now good friend Susie Boyce and I chatted over delicious food and listened to Stacey Bess descibe her experiences as a homeless shelter school teacher.
Saturday started out with breakfast and The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller. After her great presentation, the day passed very quickly with more inspiration from Yuyi, fascinating info on the book world from Anne and Margaret of The King’s English Bookshop and then *gulp* it was my turn. I’d spent over six weeks preparing and it was all about to pay off.
Note: Being a presenter in the last breakout session of a two day conference is torture. Two days of anxious waiting and excited anticipation. Exhausting!
But there I was, fancy table with pretty tablecloth, some gorgeous orange roses and a bunch of books (yes, I was too crazy to remember to take a pic), computer hooked up and over 40 people smiling back at me, including the founder of the conference, Nancy Peterson – thanks, Nancy! Oh, and a total surprise, my parents and sister were there as well.
That 45 minutes was truly unforgettable. Standing there talking about books and reading, the power that books have in our homes and the books I love most, I knew I was doing exactly what I am meant to do. And it was so much fun!
If you missed the conference this year, plan on coming next year, for sure! There was an amazing energy constantly rippling around the conference center, generated by a collection of book lovers, readers, teachers, librarians and parents.
I learned so much, met so many great people, slept in a quiet hotel room with no children(!), and had an incredible time. I know I can’t wait for next year.
PS – Sorry I don’t have more and better pics. I was so absorbed in the conference I totally spaced the fact that I’m a blogger and need pics for posts 🙂
If you were at the conference I’d love to hear what you thought??