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BY ROBIN GINER
We’re in the midst of the deadline crunch … The first couple months of the year end up being a list of one deadline after another for OWAA members.
I hope you took advantage of entering your best work in the 2012 Excellence In Craft contests — Feb. 1 was the cut-off to get your entries submitted. The electronic format was more fully embraced by members this year – partly because of further refinement to the rules, partly because of a better submission system put together by OWAA staff. While the rules will be a work in progress over the next couple of years to get them honed to perfection (or near perfection, as the case may be), I think we’re clearly on the right path to the EIC contests being a lean and mean competition that offers enough opportunities for members to win, without being overwhelming. If you didn’t enter this year’s contest, I hope you’ll be keeping track of your best work for next year.
Feb. 1 was also the early bird deadline for conference registration. Folks are taking our advice and registering early; even if you missed the early bird cut off, there’s still plenty of time to register. This is proving to be a popular conference locale, despite the remoteness. As of Jan. 31, 80 people have registered. Perhaps that remoteness is part of the draw. Speaking of “draw” — we’ll be drawing the winner for the bison hunt on Kodiak Island on Feb. 2, keep an eye on your inbox for that announcement coming soon!
One upcoming deadline includes the March 1 cutoff to enter your application for the Madson Fellowship. Fellowship funds can be used for any number of continuing education opportunities from Goldenrod to OWAA’s annual conference, or workshops and institutes held around the country by other writers groups and universities. Application details are at https://owaa.org/programs/scholarships-fellowships/madson-fellowship/.
Not sure if it’s worth your time to apply for the Madson Fellowship? Well, last year only five applications were submitted. So the odds may very well be in your favor!
We’re going to give the Goldenrod Writing Workshop a go again this year, and the Madson Fellowship is a way to help defer those costs, allowing you to enjoy a truly rewarding experience in western Montana this July. The dates for the 2012 Goldenrod Workshop are July 22-28, and it will be held at the University of Montana here in Missoula. Sign up by June 1 to secure your spot. Registration includes room and board, plus a full week of intensive instruction in outdoor communications. If you know of an outlet for us to market the workshop, please let us know. It’s open to OWAA members and non-members alike.
Also, if you’ve not been to Goldenrod before, we will defer $75 of your annual dues toward the price of registration. If you’re not able to join us in Alaska, this is an opportunity to network with other outdoor writers, improve your skills and revel in America’s “Last Best Place.” Contact OWAA headquarters for more details.
Do you have a son or daughter who’s following in your footsteps? March 1 is also the deadline for college students to apply for the McDowell Scholarship. We have roughly $16,000 to award to students of outdoor communications fields including print, photography, film, art or broadcasting. Students must of graduate-level or entering their junior or senior year of undergraduate study in the 2012-13 school year. Application info can be found at https://owaa.org/programs/scholarships-fellowships/bodie-mcdowell-scholarship/.
If your youngsters are not yet of college age, don’t overlook the Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards. If they had a story or poem printed in a newspaper, newsletter or other publication in 2011, they’re eligible to enter that piece in the 2012 Norm Strung competition. You can enter work on behalf of other students if your publication printed their stories last year, too. Entry deadline is March 16. You can find the full list of rules on our website at www.owaa.org/programs/contests/norm-strung-youth-writing-awards/. With the generous support of the Safari Club International Foundation, OWAA has $1,700 to award to budding outdoor writers in grades 6-12.
These are just a few of the ways that OWAA serves the outdoor writing community, regardless of age or skill level. If you’re not able to take advantage of these opportunities this year, please keep them in mind for the future. It’s programs like these, along with the long list of member benefits, that sets OWAA apart from other writers groups. We’re working hard to strengthen our community, improve opportunities and increase your skills so you can be the best at what you do. ♦
— OWAA Executive Director Robin Giner, firstname.lastname@example.org