St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference Offers Special Value
By Crystal Hayduk
“She can turn a dime into a dollar,” said my father, praising my mother’s ability to balance the household budget. Frugality runs in my family, a result of surviving the Irish Potato Famine, a hardscrabble existence, and eventual immigration to Pennsylvania. Even then, my ancestors practiced thrift on the farm as they strived to improve their financial lot. Their prudent use of resources got them through two world wars and the Great Depression.
Since my parents and grandparents lived the well-known mantra, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” economy is second-nature. I don’t like to spend money without assurance of the value of the goods and services I will receive. Value is one of the reasons I first chose to attend St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference, and the reason I choose to return.
Most people attend conferences to learn new things, and at St. Davids, full-time conferees get information from Wednesday evening through Sunday morning. You’ll be inspired by the keynote presentations of best-selling authors. On each full day, there is a general session (all about marketing at this year’s conference), along with three separate classes on a variety of topics related to the writing life and publication. You can choose from continuing courses or pick something different for each class. (See this year’s schedule at http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/schedule/.)
Of equal importance is networking. Conferees interact with faculty, agents, editors, and other writers whose experience ranges from beginner to advanced. During an entire conference, that’s networking during eleven meals, three late-night snacks, six breaks, and three extended break times or genre critique groups. (See this year’s currently scheduled faculty at http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/markets/.)
Now that you’ve committed to get out there and learn something new, you need to think about location. St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference is held on the scenic campus of Grove City College. Its beautiful landscaping and interesting architecture provide a relaxing, vacation feel. The small town of Grove City is in western Pennsylvania, roughly halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie, and only a short drive from either I-79 or I-80. (If you are a savvy outlet shopper and have some time to spare before or after the conference, Grove City Premium Outlets are only about five miles away. Sometimes I manage to do some birthday or Christmas shopping before heading home to Michigan – if the price is right, of course.)
There’s no need to be concerned about the additional cost of a hotel while attending St. Davids, because room and board are included for full-time conferees. Imagine moving into an air-conditioned apartment where you get your own bedroom retreat (although you will share a bathroom with one other person). Each apartment also has a spacious living area and kitchen for hanging out with your newfound friends.
Three cafeteria-style meals a day are provided in the Breen Student Union, with a variety of large and small tables to facilitate friendly discussion. If you still have energy past 9 p.m., you can enjoy snacks and more networking in the basement lounge of the apartment building each evening.
St. Davids offers on-site entertainment. There’s an open mic night on Thursday, so consider signing up to share a talent or a reading from your work. And there is a hilarious auction on Friday night that you won’t want to miss. Money raised at the auction funds conference scholarships for the following year, so it’s all for an excellent cause.
You’ll even have the opportunity to dress up for a special evening on Saturday when St. Davids hosts a delicious banquet in Rathburn Hall as part of the conferee awards ceremony. If you entered any of the free writing contests, you might be a winner.
Three and a half days of conference and networking, four nights of lodging, meals, and entertainment with friendly folk in a lovely location – all this and more for the incredible bargain of $535.
If you can’t spare that much time, or you live close enough to drive each day, see the registration page (http://stdavidswriters.com/conference/registration/) for alternate price points.
Come and see why author and speaker James Watkins dubbed the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference “the happiest conference on earth.”
I’ll see you in June!
Crystal Hayduk is a freelance writer and part-time university instructor who currently serves as president of St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. She and her husband, the Duke of DIY, live in a partially finished house in rural Southeast Michigan. Their daughters help them save money by clever consignment shopping and cutting the Duke’s hair.