Chance, luck, and work can throw me into meeting exceptional communities. Those special groups of people who make you realize there is real pride and fun in life. The Cat Writers Association is one of these.
Each year they have a conference, and the past two years I have been lucky enough to go. It is always great to go to a conference that is about your life's passion (animals) but with a twist (writing, rather than just sheltering and rescue, although rescue is often a topic of the writing).
This community is incredibly welcoming. Every new "kitten" -- a first time attendee -- received a sincere round of applause, and a reminder that "someday, YOU will be leading this organization."
I hope to blog more on actual topics, but in this post I want to point out that inclusiveness has its rewards. This association is rewarded not just with a wonderful, engaged membership, but sponsors (and members) who participate with financial sponsorship, products to share, and gifts.
Therefore, the Wildrun kitties made out like little bandits:
I don't think I've ever encountered such a heavy swag bag! Not only that, I arrived early enough the night before to help stuff the bags, along with 17 other attendees. I discovered two women from Ithaca (!!!!) and at least one Petfinder member. Sometimes you have to drive a long way to meet your own neighbors.
And there were so many raffle donations I actually won something. Or rather, the cats have won this beautiful kitty sleeping bag from Wool and Kashmir Couture.
I'm headed out to visit some animals shelters on the way home. After great conferences, I'm always in a hurry to get home and use what I've learned.
If you are a blogger, you are a writer. There are publication requirements for becoming an actual member of the Association, but I believe you can attend the conference as a guest even if you aren't a member. The conference *may be* held in the same location next year, so mark next fall on your calendar if this is a community you might like to get to meet!