mary devlin

I can’t imagine what my life would be if it weren’t for the Country Dance and Song Society. I used to be a very shy person. Then I discovered I could perform clogging routines in front of people, which led to contra dance, English dance, and then with support from CDSS, I was able to get on stage in front of a room full of people to teach and share my love of dance! This has helped me in all areas of my life—I am comfortable being gregarious and have left that shyness behind. And I now have many friends from all over North America and Europe, a treasure I would never have thought possible.

Once I started calling, CDSS was instrumental in my developing skill as a caller. As a source of both resources, training, and advice, CDSS gave me the materials and skills to realize my initial goal of being hired at a dance weekend. I attended callers’ workshops at CDSS camps and received a grant to develop a west coast training series. From there I was able to expand my goals to calling at a week-long camp, then a CDSS camp at Pinewoods, and finally as a program director for CDSS and BACDS camps. Without our “mother ship”, CDSS, I could not have accomplished all this.

Since then I fulfilled another dream—touring in England and Denmark—and, after being on staff at a CDSS Family Week, started a country dance program at an elementary school in Portland, Oregon. This was a new area for me and, again, CDSS resource materials were critical to my success. What a joy it was to see those young dancers welcomed and enjoying themselves with skill at the Portland Ball.

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It is so rewarding to enable people to have fun, learn to dance, and to dance better.

I have always felt it is important to give back. I served on the CDSS Board, including several years as president. Most recently I was chair of the Awards Committee and am very proud of the work we did to honor Lifetime Contributions in music, song, and dance from around North America.

CDSS has had such a profound impact on my life—I want others to have the same opportunities. And I want CDSS to be able to grow, expand, and change as needed to thrive into the future, so of course I have included CDSS in my estate plans—it’s one of the most important ways to give back!

     
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