From the reflections of Ann Kreilkamp, former CC Board member and one of Crones Counsel founders, the following is a description of how that first gathering took place.
Original Gathering: Crones Counsel I
Ann Kreilkamp, editor of Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging, a small photocopied newsletter back in 1989, was living in Jackson, Wyoming when, encouraged by friends, she placed an ad in her next edition to see if anyone was interested in being part of a gathering of older women.
Around that same time a subscription request for Crone Chronicles from Shauna Adix who lived in Salt Lake City arrived. They met and Ann suggested to Shauna that she be in charge of a gathering of older women. Shauna agreed and with a group of SLC women, planned Crones Counsel I in 1993. Shauna had been retired for three years from her 20-year position as Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Utah and wondered how she could do “crone work”. This accomplished that.
Crones Counsel I took place in Jackson, Wyoming from October 14–18, 1993. One hundred thirty women attended from sixteen states. Their ages ranged from 42 to 76.
Shauna Adix died in 1998. Click here to read our Tribute to Shauna
Crones Counsel – basic foundation of subsequent gatherings
The term “Crones Counsel” was a deliberate choice as the title was intended to signify the Gathering as a place where older women could share their herstories and counsel with each other. Basic to the design of the new organization was the belief that we learn most, and probably best, as older women by sharing the wisdom borne out of our life experiences in an environment which promotes equality, encourages diversity, and supports personal empowerment.
From the beginning, the time allotted for sharing of personal stories has been a centerpiece of the gathering. Participants were encouraged to ask for what they need and want, including requests for personal standing ovations as part of the empowering process. Workshops were suggested and led by participants, further demonstrating our belief that our personal and collective wisdom would help us grow and learn through discussing our similarities as well as our differences.
The focus was upon creating an atmosphere of trust and giving opportunities for participants to meet in small groups as well as the group as a whole. Ritual and entertainment was also included in the four days of meeting.
This philosophy continues to this day.
Crones Counsel, Inc.
In 1995, it became evident that it was finally time to incorporate as a nonprofit organization. The impetus was to ensure continuity and long-range planning as well as an adequate financial base. Prior to this time, planning committees had had to come up with their own money to carry organizational costs until sufficient income from registrations was available.
Crones Counsel was incorporated in the state of Utah in October, 1995. The original governing board, called the Cadre for Responsible Oversight and Governance (CROG) was made up of seven members representing different planning groups. CROG developed policies and procedures for operation, written by-laws, amended the original Articles of Incorporation, achieved provisional 501-c-3 (nonprofit) status from the Internal Revenue Service, and took on the role of receiving and acting on requests to host meetings for the future.
The Board of Directors is currently known as Crones Counsel Mother Board. We serve the Gatherings’ participants, using the Crones Counsel Mother Board Standard Operating Procedures as our guide.