Dear OCWW Friends,
After a year of challenges and tremendous progress in 2015-16, I'm delighted to report that OCWW is raring to go in 2016-17, with one of the most scintillating speaker lineups in recent years. I'm writing now to bring you up to date on all that has happened, and what we have planned for the year ahead.
The 2015/2016 season was challenging but successful for OCWW. Changes occurred in programming and Board Membership. We maintained the best of OCWW’s past successes, while introducing some unique new programming to accommodate member requests to try different program approaches.
In December, 2015, and the first half of 2016, the Board underwent major changes. Penny Fields stepped down as President, and became Advisory Past President for next year. As Vice-President, I took over as President. Jeanne Mayer, formerly Secretary, was appointed Vice-President, Rita Angelini maintained her position as Treasurer, Tom Benz who previously served as At-Large Board Member was appointed Secretary, Renee James was appointed Programs Director, Melissa Weidner was appointed Publicity Director, Marne Glaser remained an At-Large Board Member until August 31, 2016, and Bobbi Ruby remained a Board Member and Summer Program Director until August 31, 2016. Both Marne and Bobbi, after several years of great service to OCWW, elected to step down from the Board at the end of this season, though both will remain active OCWW members. Marne volunteered to assist the Publicity Committee. Bobbi volunteered for the Summer Program Committee and will establish a critique group.
We still need Member volunteers to fill the voting Board positions of Assistant Treasurer and Arrangements Director. There are also openings to serve on the Publicity Committee, Programs Committee, and Arrangements Committee. Please contact me or any Board Member if you wish to volunteer. Volunteer positions require only an hour or two, or less, per week. As a volunteer organization, spreading workload helps assure quality programs and service to Members.
Our 2015/2016 programs received high marks from attendees for quality and relevance. We started the year with a highly successful four-part workshop series conducted by Fred Shafer, and closed the year with standing room only presentations by Ellen McKnight, Stuart Dybek, and Rebecca Makkai. In between, we had an array of brilliant presenters speaking on a diverse spectrum of writing topics.
The 2016-17 Season
Workshop Calendar. For the first time in years, the new season has already been scheduled. A summary of the 2016-17 workshops is attached to help you plan your Thursdays. A more detailed guide will be published on our web site (https://ocwwinfo7333.wildapricot.org/) by September 1. Credit for the superb scheduling job goes to Program Director, Renee James, and Program Committee Members Susan Levi and Tom Benz, and the Board Members and OCWW Members who suggested names for consideration as workshop instructors.
OCWW Anthology. The Board voted not to undertake development of an OCWW Anthology for 2016/2017. Once we have all Board and Committee position filled and our financial reserves are enhanced we will again consider such undertakings.
OCWW Conference. The Board deferred discussion of an OCWW Conference to the October 2016 Board Meeting, at which time consideration of the expense, manpower requirements, and competition for the undertaking will be assessed.
Manuscript Critiques. To be competitive with rates in the market, and to entice workshop presenters to devote their time and effort to critique Member manuscripts, the Board set new critique fees at $3.00 per page, with a minimum of $15 per critique. Individual instructors will be allowed to set limits on the number of pages and number of manuscripts they will accept. Only paid-up Members are allowed to submit manuscripts for critique. The Workshop Attendance Fee, which is non-refundable for non-attendance, must accompany the Manuscript Critique Fee payment. All payments go to OCWW, and all manuscripts submitted for critique must be submitted to Melissa Weidner, Publicity Director, with manuscripts accepted for critique on a first come first served basis, based on instructor number limits.
Membership Fees. OCWW’s expenses have risen. For years there has been no increase Membership or Workshop Attendance Fees. To cover expenses, the Board has authorized an OCWW Membership Fee increase to $35 per year, workshop attendance fees remain at $10 per session for OCWW members, while non-member attendance fees increase to $20 per workshop. We also established a Student Fee of $10 per workshop, and students are not required to be members.
Revised OCWW By-Laws. Revised OCWW By-Laws were approved and are available to any paid-up Member who requests a copy in writing.
Board Meetings. To demonstrate transparency in OCWW operations management, any member wishing to attend any OCWW Board Meeting is welcome. All we ask is that you register your intent to attend in advance, so the Board can schedule a meeting venue that will accommodate everyone who attends.
Workshop Times and Venues. To accommodate a larger spectrum of members, this season we will introduce some different workshop venues and meeting times. In addition to maintaining a solid schedule of Thursday morning sessions at Winnetka Community Center, we will offer a limited number of evening sessions, including some at locations other than the WCC.
Finally, the OCWW Board and I wish to thank all members who lent assistance to us during the past season, especially those who so generously provided nourishment for our speakers and attendees at each workshop. My personal thanks go to the several members who provided suggestions and counsel during our transition. Thank you.
Fred Fitzsimmons, OCWW President