Stephanie Kaduck Photo
Prairies North Magazine is a member of an organization called the International Regional Magazines Association. Basically it is a great group of magazines that exist to promote their region and who gather together annually to discuss the business of creating regional magazines. They are a fun-loving, enthusiastic and delightfully collaborative group who share their knowledge openly with a view to making us all better. Last year I attended the annual conference with Publisher Michelle Hughes. We spent a glorious 6 days in Arizona where we absorbed and listened to copious amounts of information about how to do the business of magazines better and, equally as valuable, we met colleagues and friends working in the same job positions, fighting some of the same battles we do every day.
This year, the conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, at the end of September. I have been looking forward to it for months as I met many good friends that I have been able to keep in touch with throughout the year. On top of the professional side of this helpful escape, is the personal side for me. I work for the magazine from my home as well as simultaneously raising four home schooled children and running a largely unsuccessful (but nonetheless rewarding) sheep ranch. Essentially, without demeaning myself, the phrase "don't get out much do you?" rings true in my current situation.
Now you can imagine the anticipation of the event and the long-awaited working vacation for me and the dismay I felt to put the proverbial two and two together. The fourth annual Culture Days Celebrations are also being held on the same weekend at the end of September. Culture Days is a wonderful volunteer initiative that we have been promoting through our social media channels where thousands of local organizations across Canada come together on the same weekend to provide free fun and education about their local arts and culture. There are already over 140 initiatives registered with www.culturedays.ca from Saskatchewan alone. I am a big fan of arts and culture, and have limited resources to participate in such things, so the idea of attending multiple inexpensive events with my entire family (all within a short drive from my home in rural Saskatchewan) is a big draw.
Now the horrible conflict. Not only will I not be near my home during Culture Days—I will not even be in Canada! I will not be able to attend one single glorious celebration of local arts and culture flavour. I won't taste the foods of days gone by or see the creative works of my neighbours. In my opinion, there are so few of these "celebrate-being-Canadian" events that each and every one should be treated as a gem.
In fact, the collaboration that goes on at our Regional Magazine Conference mirrors the collaborative effort of Culture Days in so many respects: people getting together and giving of their time and valuable energy to promote important things from their region and heritage; enthusiastic promoters of community life, history and the arts joining hands and making something happen that just plain makes you feel good because the passion of those creating the thing rubs off on those who have yet to experience it. It's kind of like wearing green to a Roughriders game. You just want in on the fun even if, heaven forbid, green is not your favourite colour.
So the conflict is complete and will remain as it is. I will learn about and celebrate the making of regional magazines while you will celebrate arts and culture, community and collaboration here in Canada. I sincerely hope you will get out and join the movement. Even if arts and culture is not your thing, the making of communities both present and historical is an important aspect of Canadian and Saskatchewan living - it is our priceless jewel. It is in these opportunities that the real beauty of Canadian life is revealed. I hope you will get out on the street and eat a perogie or spin some yarn or experience the warmth and emotion of a beautiful piece of local art. I will be thinking of you from across the border and will return better equipped to promote the beauty of Saskatchewan life and its people upon my return.
PS - Would someone please save me a plate of perogies or a piece of saskatoon pie ....
For more information about Saskatchewan events being held during Culture Days September 27, 28 ad 29th go to http://sk.culturedays.ca
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