At SVWC we are proud to call the Sun Valley area home. We work closely with other members of the community, collaborating with the area’s schools, libraries, and other non-profit organizations. Please read more about our community initiatives and outreach efforts below.
Eye on the Future Project
This SVWC schools outreach program is now in its fourth year and incorporates the following components:
Reading Program & Author Luncheon
SVWC, in conjunction with local high school teachers, chooses an author and book with a topic pertinent to high school students. SVWC donates 50 copies of the book for students in the spring/summer Language Arts classes. All five high schools in Blaine County are included – Sage School, Wood River High School, Sun Valley Community School, Carey High School, and Silver Creek Alternative School. The students read the book and are invited to attend any of the talks given by that writer during the Conference, including Pavilion talks or smaller breakouts.
The students are also invited to join the writer at a luncheon hosted by SVWC in July during the Conference. This year’s author is Dave Eggers, who will discuss his book, The Circle. Past authors have included Colson Whitehead discussing The Underground Railroad, and Karan Mahajan and his novel, The Association of Small Bombs.
Each year, SVWC asks the Language Arts teachers at each of the five local high schools to nominate one junior/senior for scholarship selection. Students are invited to submit an essay describing why they would benefit from attending the Conference, and a panel made up of SVWC staff & board members then chooses two of those students to receive full Conference passes, which include all talks, breakouts, and meals.
Students chosen demonstrate academic excellence and a true love of learning, along with a desire to share their knowledge with others, giving us all hope for a better future. The recipients are also chosen based on the belief that hearing SVWC talks by important literary thinkers will help develop and shape the students as they embark on a future path and evolve into important voices for humanity.
Free Pavilion Talks
In keeping with a long-standing tradition over the course of SVWC’s 25-year history, all local students (and teachers) are invited to attend all Pavilion presentations for free, based on space available. Participation continues to grow each year.
Fall Schools Event
In the fall of 2019, SVWC plans to bring an author to the Wood River Valley to visit the area’s middle schools and speak to students and teachers, free of charge. SVWC is also exploring potential partnerships with other community organizations to bring more speakers to the Wood River Valley throughout the year.
Boise State University Partnerships
SVWC Fellows Program
In 2019, SVWC will be expanding the Fellows Program to include two fellows from Boise State University’s Creative Writing MFA Department. These fellows will join two fellows from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop – aspiring writers, early in their careers, who have been recommended by the faculty of their institutions. They are treated at Conference as writers, which gives them an opportunity to interact and learn from more established writers.
Boise State University Bookstore & Scholarships
For several years, SVWC has partnered with the Boise State University Bookstore to stock and manage the Conference bookstore. All profits from sales of items during SVWC are donated back to the BSU scholarships program. In 2017, this amount was $15,930.69.
Local Libraries Collaboration
COMMUNITY LIBRARY TALK
For the fourth year, SVWC is partnering with The Community Library in Ketchum to host a free lecture for the local community before the start of the conference. This year, National Book Award-winning novelist and essayist Barry Lopez will speak in the library’s Lecture Hall on Thursday, July 18 at 5:00pm. Past speakers have included Imbolo Mbue, Adam Johnson, Firoozeh Dumas, and Jamaica Kincaid.
For many years, SVWC has invited local librarians to attend Pavilion talks for free. The Community Library, the Hailey Library, and the Bellevue Library each receive tickets to share amongst their staff.
Free Lawn Talks
Since 2014, SVWC has offered a selection of evening talks to the public on the Pavilion lawn at no charge during the weekend of the Conference at the Sun Valley Resort. The local community is invited to attend these four free events, with talks broadcast live to the Pavilion lawn big screen.
Past Lawn Talk presenters have included Ayad Akhtar, David Brooks, Shaun Donovan, Jeanne Gang, The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Jeffrey Toobin, Simon Winchester, and Fareed Zakaria. The 2019 lawn talks will be announced soon.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, SVWC is proud to offer two local scholarships each year. A full pass, under the Barbara and Jim Cimino Scholarship, is awarded annually to the Executive Director of The Community Library. In addition, a full pass is awarded each year to a local teacher through the Gary Hunt Scholarship in his memory.