Although nobody is sure of the exact date, sometime in the early 1980s, Miami Valley Storytellers was born in a classroom at Wright State University. Marjorie Pappas, a professor of storytelling at Wright State, sent out a call to all persons in the Dayton, Ohio area who were interested in or already involved with storytelling. Her invitation was to attend a gathering to discuss the possibility of forming an organized group to promote and share the art of storytelling. Wright State University bore the expense of sending out meeting reminders and the only responsibility of the members was to show up at the meetings and to share a story. A small but enthusiastic group decided on a name for the group, agreed to continue meeting on a regular basis, and even planned a storytelling festival to be held on the campus lawn the following summer.
After several years, Wright State University was no longer able to support the group monetarily so it was decided that Miami Valley Storytellers would support itself with membership dues and it met in a variety of places: churches, libraries, Senior Housing facilities and even members’ homes. Since its inception, the format of Miami Valley Storytellers has gone through many variations, from formal to informal, from having a full slate of officers and Rules of Order to having just a “responsible person” (aka President) and a “bookie” (someone who fielded calls from people wanting to hire a storyteller). The group has presented festivals, workshops, Tellabrations, Terrifying Tales events in cooperation with Carriage Hill Farms and even published a Storytelling Handbook, based on an original handbook written by one if its members, Jeri Kladder. The group was able to become incorporated and tax exempt and changed its name to Miami Valley Storytellers, Inc. Over the years, members have dropped out, new members have joined and the makeup of the group has changed. However, the mission of Miami Valley Storytellers, Inc. has always been and continues to be to promote storytelling, to encourage storytellers and to keep storytelling alive in the Miami Valley.
Miami Valley Storytellers, Inc., exists to promote the oral tradition of storytelling as an art form which bridges gaps between cultures and generations through education and entertainment. Education includes encouraging new members, developing the skills and telling techniques of the membership, and demonstrating to the general public just how storytelling can enhance other disciplines. Entertainment includes providing a forum for telling and a forum for listening.
President – Eric Wolf
Vice-president – Lisa Homes
Treasure – Jonatha Wright
Recording Secretary – Kim Koehler
Corresponding Secretary- Sharon Turner
Miami Valley Storytellers is a registered 501(C3) nonprofit