“[A]sk not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” These words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy at his January 20, 1961 inauguration. They were applauded at the time and have become one of the best-known quotes in American history. But even though people still give those words lip service, how many of us really agree with them?
Today’s generations (yes, all of them) have become self-centered. Before we do anything, we ask, “What will I get out of it?” Or we think we can have or be anything we want without working for it. But the truth is, what we get out of anything depends on what we put into it.
That also applies to membership in organizations such as Indiana Writers’ Consortium. Some members complain because IWC has been cutting back on its programs, and other refuse to join because they don’t see the value of membership. But whose fault is that? No nonprofit organization can survive without a committed membership.
Although money is always an issue, time is a greater one. The “Eat and Exchange” series has no overhead, but it faltered this year because nobody had the time to organize it. We put out a call for volunteers and got no response. Our call for people to fill Board positions met with the same lack of enthusiasm. People ask, “what can IWC do for me” rather than “what can I do for IWC.” So they get out of it what they put into it.
Let me get a couple of things straight. This blog post is my personal opinion and doesn’t speak for the organization. And IWC is not dying. We still run a vibrant conference, and I expect that to continue. But if you want more, you have to get involved.
To rephrase President Kennedy’s words: Ask not what IWC can do for you—ask what you can do for IWC.
You won’t regret it.
The photograph of President Kennedy was taken on February 20, 1961 by a member of the White House Press Office. It is in the public domain because it was created by a federal government employee as part of his or her official duties.
Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer who writes adult non-fiction as Kathryn Page Camp and middle-grade fiction as Kaye Page. Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal was a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection for April 2014, and her first middle-grade historical novel, Desert Jewels, was released in August 2017. You can learn more about Kathryn at www.kathrynpagecamp.com.