By all of us on staff!
Happy Thanksgiving to our enormous family around the world!
This blog post is in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, but also inspired by a group on Facebook solely devoted to recognizing things in our lives we’re thankful for. The hopeful, grateful, and creative spirit is well worth emulating.
Here is our “10 Things We’re Thankful For,” looking back on the past year. Everybody on our team contributed!
#1: We are thankful for each other!
This is far and away our top item! Gratitude that we get to work together was a common theme as we reflected back on 2017. Daniel (“Mr. S.”) wrote “We would not be able to do what we do without Teckla, Tineke, Sarah, Rachel, and Gabrielle.” Carrol (“Mrs. S.”) said, “Everyone on our Team!” (Ooh, Team with a capital!) “Each one really cares about our wide community of writers, and seeks to serve them well.”
Sarah Noé wrote, “I am grateful to be part of a company where I know my bosses and co-workers care about me. Because everyone is kind and thoughtful, we work together as a true team and can extend that care to our customers.” Rachel Garner echoed this: “I am really thankful to have coworkers who care about my writing and my soul along with any work I do.”
#2: We are thankful for the experience of creating Byline.
It took three years to produce this new curriculum focused on teaching teens to write essays through time-traveling journalism! What began as a response to requests from parents for an essay writing curriculum turned out to be so much more: a challenge to make our own writing count for causes of compassion and justice. It was impossible to research the lives and work of historic journalists without coming away provoked by the power of stories to impact culture. “I am genuinely pleased with how Byline turned out,” Daniel wrote. “Best of all was the time I spent in books by and about Jacob Riis.” If you’re interested to see why he is so particularly inspired by Jacob Riis, we recommend tuning in to the miniseries Daniel is doing on Riis for the Byline Podcast. (The podcast is free!)
Byline was a team effort. “That work was so unique and creative that I looked forward to going to work every day!” Gabrielle Schwabauer de Waal wrote. “I loved getting to provide immediate feedback and watch the project growing in the beginning stages.” Daniel wrote the scripts and student material, Rachel offered edits on the script, Carrol and Gabrielle filmed the lessons, Carrol designed all the product artwork, Gabrielle compiled the 100+ Reporter Tips, and Tineke Bryson enlisted the help of Bria Wheeler, an excellent proofreader who used to work for us, to proof the finished product. Finally, Sarah worked tirelessly to get the shipments out when Byline released—in the peak of Kansas summer heat, no less!
#3: We are grateful for the technology that enables our creative projects.
There are so many ways that technology facilitates and enriches communication and creativity within Clear Water Press. The vibrant One Year Adventure Novel Student Forum community is a major one! We also really enjoy being able to connect with our students—OYAN and Cover Story alike—via webinars. Daniel’s recent foray into the world of podcasts has been so much fun, too. The Byline Podcast is definitely a passion project.
What some of you may not know is that our team is spread out between three states; for a while we had a member of staff working from Canada, and now Tineke is working remotely from the United Kingdom (more on that below)! We are so thankful for video conference technology. It’s rare to have a meeting where someone isn’t joining via Skype!
#4: We are humbled and grateful for another amazing Summer Workshop!
“Connecting with our students and their parents is both an honor and a pleasure,” Carrol wrote. “I also really appreciate the various speakers who’ve come and enthusiastically invested in the students.”
The One Year Adventure Novel annual Summer Workshop is a labor of love. By which we mean that we LOVE doing it. “I enjoy most of the tasks I perform, but workshop organization is by far my favorite,” said Gabrielle. “I love color-coding lists of attendees, I love putting together packets, I love organizing the special events that make each year unique—I love all of it!”
It was Sarah’s first Summer Workshop as a member of staff. Her presence and help really made a difference for Tineke, who coordinates the workshops. “When Sarah joins a project, it’s immediately more meaningful and a lot more fun,” Tineke wrote. “I love her joy in being part of a team. It’s infectious. And,” she added, “I LOVE the workshop because I get to see Teckla.” Teckla Wilson works remotely from Oregon, so we don’t get to see her in person very often!
#5: We’re so thankful for YOU GUYS.
We are so grateful for you all. Your creativity, your perseverance, your kindness and support for one another, which you extend to us as well… It’s honestly staggering to us. The One Year Adventure Novel began as a dream to give young writers the training and support Daniel wished he could have had as a young teen. But you have changed us.
Gabrielle is thankful to have made new friends at the Summer Workshop. “As an older student and a staff member, it’s easy to feel like something of an outsider at the workshops,” Gabrielle wrote. “It really encouraged me to find some new connections and realize that I do have a future within the community.”
Tineke wrote: “I had no idea when I decided to work for The One Year Adventure Novel how many fantastic people I would meet—parents and students alike. I am so grateful for their genuine support in my own adventures.”
#6. We are thankful that Carrol can walk normally again.
“Thanks to surgery, Carrol can finally walk normally after a year of pain,” Daniel wrote.
Carrol tried not to betray how much pain she was in, but 2017 was a tough one for her. Those of you at the Summer Workshop will remember that Mrs. S. sometimes wore a brace on stage. She looked like an action hero (whatever she said to the contrary). Carrol really was a hero this past workshop. We were all amazed by her grace through those five workshop days.
#7: How awesome is it that Tineke’s been working remotely from SCOTLAND?
Daniel wrote: “Tineke and her husband, Matthias, had the courage to seek adventure and education in a magical place. Though she is now living in Scotland and making all of us jealous, we still get to work with her.”
Tineke moved to Scotland at the end of August and will be there for 12 months while her husband studies at the University of Edinburgh. “It’s a dream come to life,” Tineke wrote. “We have wanted to spend time in the United Kingdom since we met—our shared interest in British history was one of the things that drew us together. I am so thankful to Daniel and Carrol for making it possible for me to continue working for Clear Water Press from Scotland this year.” You can read more of Tineke’s reflections on her move in Musings on Adventure from an Anxious Protagonist.
#8: We are grateful to be writers/artists in a community of writers/artists.
“I really like the ability to work with and come alongside young creative writers,” Rachel wrote. “I remember how lonely I was as a young artistic teen; and they have so much more wonder and energy than I do. It’s good to be reminded of that.” Even as we mentor and coach young writers, they, in turn, refresh us! Writers of every age have something to learn from one another.
#9: Our biggest Winter Workshop yet!
The 2017 Winter Workshop, for older, advanced One Year Adventure Novel writers, was H-U-G-E! All told, with speakers and accompanying parents, over 70 people came! We were a little worried about whether we could actually fit everyone, but we squeezed in! There was just something really cool about the surprise. We were expecting fewer than 50, and the Heartland Center is not a big venue. Another fun thing about this workshop: it was roughly 50–50 first-timers and returning attendees!
#10: We are thankful for God’s Presence.
“What I am most thankful for,” wrote Teckla, “is the assurance that God is at the center of Clear Water Press.” We’re listing this one last, but it’s because this one really sums up the hope we have as we go into a new year as a team. It is amazing to know that we are not doing any of this alone.
Teckla wrote down: “Daniel and Carrol and their hearts to please God in all they do,” and expressed her gratitude that this has “caused them to gather around them people who have the same desire. For me,” she finished, “it is an honor to work with all of you.”
Teckla spoke for all of us. It truly is an honor to work in an environment where there is vision and a genuine desire to encourage a new generation of writers. Carrol wrote down: “Daniel, (Mr. S.) who will give what he can to the next generation until he breathes no more.”