The first Carolinas Secular Conference was held in November 2011 at Carolina Beach in North Carolina.
Almost 80 people attended with age ranges from 17 to 82, including leaders from many major groups, important figures from national organizations, and most importantly energized men and women from across both states, keen to see our community and movement step forward into a new era of cooperation and coordination.
We began on Friday night with a mixer down by the river in Wilmington. Most attendees had never met and this was a chance to greet and shake hands before the real work began on Saturday.
Fred Edwords of United CoR gave an impressive talk on how we best handle the media, and conversation and good spirits abounded.
The Saturday morning brought the start of the real work. Han Hills led a presentation and discussion of the potential gains and projects that we should look to from the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon Dr. Darrel Ray led a seminar on leadership and decision making. I think it is safe to say we all learned a great deal as well as enjoying his unique style.
Saturday night brought the first Carolinas Freethinkers Banquet. This was a chance to relax and enjoy great company, speakers and entertainment.
First up was the award for Freethinker of the Year, an outstanding choice of Amy Glenn from the Triangle Freethought Society. With a hysterical introduction from Harry Shaughnessy, Amy Glenn gave a truly moving speech about her life and experiences in the movement.
Next up was Sean Faircloth, now Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation. Sean has a style all of his own, with drive and vision for what we can achieve in the coming decade.
The culmination of the evening was the inimitable and hilarious Dr. Darrel Ray, expounding on his new and fascinating study of Sex and Religion. He shocked us with statistics and stories and truly had us falling from our seats with laughter.
Sunday brought a full morning of work as we split into teams to discuss projects and plans that have now begun to show fruition and have helped build an outstanding year of networking with which we can kick off our conference in 2012.