The Bluff Country Tale Spinners (BCTS) was started in 1999 by Dr. Phyllis Blackstone and Ms. Sara Slayton. Both these women had backgrounds in teacher education and children’s literature and an abiding interest in storytelling. Phyllis belonged to a storytelling guild when she lived on the East Coast, so when she arrived in La Crosse she searched for a comparable group. There was none, but she was given Sara’s name. Sara had been teaching a storytelling class for Extended Education. The two met and the Tale Spinners guild was created. Current members include storytellers and story listeners from all walks of life; teachers, lawyers, therapists, military personnel, toastmasters, home schoolers, forensics members, parent, grandparents, retirees, and teens.

Want to join in on the fun of storytelling?

Become a part of the Bluff Country Tale Spinners!

During BCTS guild meetings announcements are made about current local, state, regional, and national storytelling events and there is a brief time used for guild business. However, most of the time is spent sharing stories. Beginner through advanced tellers share stories and receive feedback from Guild members if feedback is wanted. Storytellers do not have to be professional, they only need to have a love of stories. Shared stories come from personal experience, folklore, legends, history and numerous other sources. Story listeners are always welcome!

Come to listen and then, maybe, share a story or two.

BCTS Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at
Moose Lodge,1932 Ward Ave., La Crosse, Wisconsin.  We welcome listeners; you cannot tell a story without a story listener.  For more information contact Teri Wachuta at 

Why we love telling stories:

Phyllis Blackstone

Phyllis Blackstone“I was initiated into the storytelling world very early in life by listening to stories on my mother’s lap and hearing my father’s “somewhat-true, somewhat not true” stories at the supper table. As an educator for 37 years, I first used stories with first graders and now use stories to train teachers and literacy specialists at the university level. I cannot imagine teaching without the use of storytelling. It’s my favorite and most effective teaching technique.”

Phyllis Blackstone, professional storyteller
Co-Founder of the Bluff Country Tale Spinners                                                                        Retired professor and now a storyteller in Maine.

Terry Visger

Terry Visger“I believe storytelling is a powerful and important tool for all aspects of our lives: family, cultures, education, entertainment, business. We learn and remember things best when we learn through story and we have fun doing it. Story and storytelling have had a huge impact on my life and I feel it is important to keep this art alive and share it with others.”

Terry Visger, professional storyteller
Retired elementary school teacher
Adjunct instructor at Viterbo University

Sara SlaytonSara Slayton

“I believe in the power of story and the beauty of the spoken word. When the two are combined, the result is a rich, natural expression which touches the very core of our humanity.”  Our dear leader, Sara Slayton, died March 12, 2020. She continues to be an inspiration to all of us, storytellers, educators, listeners, and friends.

Sara Slayton
Retired University lecturer
Co-Founder of the Bluff Country Tale Spinners
Professional storyteller and Teacher Educator


Lynn WingLynn Wing

“I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to a gifted speaker with complete attention. But later, the only part of the speech I remember with any detail is the story he used to illustrate his point.  A good story becomes part of me. Its lessons expanding and shifting as I experience life’s challenges and triumphs.”

Lynn Wing, storyteller; formerly from La Crosse now sharing stories in Utah.