Dear JWHA friends,

I hope you have all arrived home safely with new knowledge and questions burning in your hearts, and maybe a few new friends too.  Our annual conference is always a time of great joy, friendship, learning and fun.

This year we kicked off our conference with the annual Richard P. Howard Lecture, entitled, “The Gold Plates as Cultural Emblem” presented by Dr. Richard Lyman Bushman. We enjoyed live music, excellent presentations, and a fun filled night of trivia. We experienced new and exciting tours. We relaxed over a scrumptious meal while we learned about Carle Mesle and the Stone church. And we ended the weekend on a high note as we explored the history of our hymnody with Joseph III and Ada.

We hope you enjoyed the conference. The most important goal for us is to always have a fun, educational time. This year, we wanted to highlight the events you requested. In a June 2017 survey, a significant majority indicated that you wanted Trivia night and a material culture tour. We made sure you had the opportunity to experience both. We paid attention to your requests for everything from auction end times to an author session and tried to accommodate to the best of our abilities.

Another concern from our members was the cost of registration fees.  This year, I had an opportunity to see the other side of conference planning. As numbers come in, we are able to better reflect on actual costs. Take for example, the president’s banquet. The cost to attend was $35 if you registered early. By comparison, the actual cost of the food and beverages was $34.45 per person. That meant JWHA made 55 cents per attendee. Now, please consider our early registration cost of $90 per person for the conference itself. We actually spent an average of $106 per person!

So how do we make up the difference? The auctions and donations! This year, our auction did amazingly well earning an estimated $2856. This helped us offset the other costs. Thank you so much to all of our donors, as well as to those that purchased auction items. You help make it possible for us to have a low cost conference.

The last thing I will mention, is to never forget, when you answer our surveys, the board hears you.  You are always welcome to talk to a board member, write a letter, email, send a courier pigeon (okay, maybe not a REAL courier pigeon, we wouldn’t know what to do with one, but feel free to send a note with a friend). We want to hear your recommendations, nominations, and ideas so we have a chance at making your dreams come true. We all have a say in JWHA.

Thank you, my friends, for your input, your time, your brilliant minds, and kind generosity. You make JWHA the amazing group that it is. Let’s keep working together for a better JWHA future.

Rachel Killebrew