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  • Writer's pictureSheila Willis

Any Journey Starts with the First Step

I might not have much, but I have a vision! I love to research and write about Alberta’s past. I could do it all day, every day - but my vision includes sharing that information to educate, inspire and entertain. 

I also love my small, rural community and want to use my talents to help the businesses and local volunteer groups flourish, which in turn helps the entire community in a variety of ways. 

With a budget that says 'if you want it done, do it yourself', I have had to learn multiple new skill sets in the last decade or so since I started building the History Check app and sharing Alberta’s past. This website and blog post is a fine example!

Many people have suggested that I do more videos and potentially a podcast. I am good at impromptu stops in my travels and just winging out a story, but I find creating more formal videos hard to do. The challenge is I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I don’t have the equipment to make high end videos. I have an I-phone and a projector. My latest improvement is a little tripod, so I won’t have to prop my phone up to get the right angle, using an assortment of boxes, flower vases and bungee cords in the process. 

Several years back I attended a Travel Alberta conference. The keynote was Andrew Davis. He shared the story of Jenny Doan who had a small quilting store in a little dying town in the United States. Her dream was to turn her town into the Quilting Capital of America - and she did it!

She started this process by sharing her knowledge in homemade videos. Her highlights were hand written on poster board and hung on a stick. At the appropriate time someone off screen stuck the stick in the viewing area to emphasize her key point to her audience.

Through her passion and vision she managed to turn her town around, employing community members and utilizing most of its buildings to house or entertain the people that flock there on their vacations. Jenny Doan knew quilts and was not afraid to share her knowledge. She now has 915K subscribers.

I'll take her lead on that. Jenny knows quilts. I know history. Once a month this summer I will be presenting a history talk in Smith. Even though I don’t have a green screen, a great mike, or the other technical do-dads, I am going to record them anyways. At home I will be creating videos of smaller stories. If Jenny could learn as she went, and not be afraid to share before it was perfected, then so can I! Any journey starts with the first step.

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