AMI Challenges You to “Create Your Own Path” at the 2017 AMI Workshop

 AMI - Create Your Own Path

As many of you may know I am a bit of a Star Wars nerd. I also tend not to follow protocol.  So when asked to chair the 2017 AMI Conference committee I am sure there was a collective cringe and immediate thought of “oh no, what is she going to do?!”  Although I find your lack of faith disturbing, that was probably an apt assessment because the planning committee is going ROGUE.  We are breaking boundaries (as in regional boundaries) and looking to showcase how you can Create Your Own Path to better interpretation.  We as an organization are finding our way again, creating a new path.  We have gone through a lot of changes this past year and some of that change has been painful.  This is a new day, a new beginning…because we have hope.  Rebellions are built on HOPE.  🙂

With any rebellion, there must be a base from which to gather intel, rally the troops, and deploy the squadrons to affect change. So a short time ago, in a part of Missouri far, far away our rogue group found the perfect location from which to train our elite force, the interpretive troopers. Located in the crux of 3 regions (St. Louis, southeast, and southwest), Steelville is an area rich in natural beauty and cultural significance.  It is small town (population 1,692) and Crawford County seat, but most often known as the “floating capital of Missouri”. It is nestled between such popular floating rivers as the Huzzah, Courtois, and Meramec.  Although smaller than many of our previous conference locations, Steelville is located less than 10 miles from Interstate 44, near historic Route 66, and in close proximity to the Ozark’s natural beauty and cultural sites often overlooked by our membership.

1WildwoodSpringsLodge-499x333One culturally significant location is our conference headquarters. Wildwood Springs Lodge was built in 1922 by a group of sportsmen from St. Louis.  As was popular at the time, these men planned to develop a resort, complete with lodge and cabins, for their membership to enjoy the beauty and outdoor recreation the Ozarks had to offer.  Upon completion of the Lodge the leading members of the group decided the lodge should be open to the public. The group initially had plans to develop the style of resort saw in the movie “Dirty Dancing”, but fell on hard times and only the lodge and couple other building were completed.  The resort was very popular until it closed during WWII.  While closed, the lodge served as a boarding house for the wives of military men.  These women made bandages to supply the troops overseas.  After the war the lodge reopened.  The lodge has remained a popular vacation venue ever since.  To learn more about Wildwood Springs Lodge or to view photos, please visit their website at

For over 100 years, the interpreters have been the guardians of knowledge and stewardship in our natural and cultural resources. Being successful for so long means you must adapt to changes in society to stay relevant.  You must search out new ways to reach your audience.  You must reach out to audiences with whom you have not had contact before.  You must create a new path, your own path, to better interpretation. Do or do not, there is no try.

So if you are ready to join forces with our band of rebels, we would be honored if you would join us September 11th through 14th at our base in Steelville, MO for the 2017 Association of Missouri Interpreters Conference.  If you would like to join the rebellion even earlier, your assistance with planning the conference would be greatly appreciated.  Contact Kendra Swee at  for ways you can help!

Stay tuned for updates on field sessions, the call for papers, and registration details!