Literacy conference ‘sizzles’ into town

“Do you ever feel that you’re just being sucked up by the vacuum cleaner of life?”
That’s how Maggie Milne, a motivational speaker from Thunder Bay, summed up stress for about 100 delegates attending the annual Literacy Northwest conference here last weekend.
While stress can take its toll, Milne urged delegates to keep everything in perspective–and “sizzle” rather than “fizzle.”
“I think everybody, at some point in time, is stuck,” she remarked. “You just need somebody to give you a little boost every now and again. The whole conference is a boost.”
And that’s exactly how those on hand for it felt. Pam Hamilton, a teacher with the Valley Adult Learning Association, said the workshop was an excellent idea-sharing session.
She noted like in the schools, their curriculum was changing, with employment and communication skills–such as resume writing, interviews, and taking telephone messages–now part of the adult literacy program.
“There’s more accountability required from the programs,” Hamilton explained, adding they had to show movement.
“The workshop was wonderful,” she enthused.
“It was a big success,“ echoed conference co-ordinator Barb Eldridge. “We had a lot of positive comments.”
The workshops are the main reason for the annual get-together but Eldridge also said the camaraderie draws both learners and tutors back each year. They can visit and learn new things at the same time.
But keeping that conference high–or “conference-itis”–in the weeks that follow can be difficult. Milne said the best thing to do is take time out for yourself, review the notes, and circle things that are really important.
“And then you always carry that set of conference notes with you for the next few weeks,” she added, advising people to gradually carry those important issues from their notes into their lives.
She also said it’s important to keep track of the little successes, and to give each other a pat on the back for their accomplishments.
“You’re not just here to learn,” Milne told delegates. “You’re also here to find out about living and loving and leaving some kind of legacy. Something that will say here’s how you made a difference at this literacy conference.
“Don’t just take, give lots out,” she stressed. “And that’ll make you sizzle.”