Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our 1st Annual Babywearing Gala. I feel so lucky to have such an incredible and supportive group of attendees, members, and volunteers that make BWI of Cleveland such a success. I’ve received several requests for a copy of the member meeting minutes, so here it is!
Introductions and Recognitions
My name is Alicia Moellenkamp, and I am the current president and founder of BWI of Cleveland. I founded and ran two babywearing groups in Houston, Texas prior to moving to the Cleveland area in September 2012. When my family moved up here I lost the support system of mommy friends that I had developed in Houston. So I decided to do what I knew and start a babywearing group to foster the same community and support system I knew and loved. This is when North East Ohio Babywearers, which would later become Babywearing International of Cleveland, was born.
At this point in the meeting, and also in this post, I would like to take a moment to recognize all of our volunteers and team who made not only this event, but also our quickly growing group a success! I would specifically like to recognize our fabulous Board of Directors:
Jessica Shattuck Vice President of Membership
Katie Krueger Vice President of Outreach
Katie Abell Vice President of Libraries
Erin Fabian Vice President of Education
Sarah Miller-Fellows Vice President of Marketing
Emily Gold Vice President of Treasury
Emily Gold Vice President of Treasury
I would also like to recognize our outgoing Vice Presidents and Educators:
|Karyn, Brenda, Amie and Acacia|
Brenda Flanagan has been such a huge support to this group from before our first meeting! She has graciously allowed us to use her church, has been there for every single meeting at that location, and volunteered as a VBE for us when she saw us really floundering with new members and not enough educators. She’s recently decided to turn her focus more to behind the scenes work and has decided not to continue as a VBE. We will miss her teaching terribly, but are so excited to see what magic she can work up behind the scenes for our group. She is also the mama behind all of the beautiful wrap scrap creations you see for sale at meetings and events.
Karyn Tankersley has been an active and enthusiastic member of our group since our first meeting. As a new twin mama she found babywearing out of desperation. She quickly stepped up into the role of educator, and has attended several meetings a month for the past year and a half. Her support and encouragement have been invaluable to me. She is also our outgoing VP of membership, and has recently decided to turn her efforts back to more teaching. Although we will miss her contributions to our BoD, we look forward to seeing what she will do from here!
Amie Kanengeiser also found our group prior to our first meeting. She attended with her toddler and was such a bubbly and joyful person to be around we quickly asked her to consider teaching and we were thrilled when she accepted. She has put forth countless hours as our VP of Marketing in building our blog, website, Facebook page, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts. She has also recently decided to step down as the VP of Marketing to fill the role of Social Media Manager since managing the various websites is requiring a significant amount of time in and of itself. A huge thanks goes out to Amie for making our online presence so wonderful.
Now is time for a quick report from the desk of a few of our Vice presidents:
Emily, VP of Treasury: A summary of Quarter 1 financials:
Membership ($10 remittance) $1610 [$550 to BWI, $1060 to BWICle]
Promotional (25% remittance: fundraisers, workshops, consultations, promo items, solicited donations) $543 [$136 to BWI, $407 to BWICle}
Donations (10% remittance, unsolicted) $0
Total 2015Q1 remittance = $686
Total 2014Q1 remittance = $120
Non-Carriers (marketing, fundraisers, pass through, reimbursement) $710
PP/CC fees $123
Gala deposit $200
Remittance (2014Q4) $870
This next year we will be working to switch over to a better budgeting system where money brought in during one quarter doesn’t get spent until the following quarter instead of spending money as it comes in.
Sarah, VP of Marketing: Our marketing efforts began in February of 2014 with the creation of our blog, website, and Google+ account. We also ordered lawn signs, banners, business cards, and T-Shirts. In July of 2014 we officially named Amie Kanengeiser as our Vice President of Marketing and she did a full redesign of our business cards. Through out the next few months we started our Instagram account and our Pinterest board, as well as bringing on a team of Social Media volunteers to monitor and work on our various accounts and websites. In March of 2015 we transitioned Amie to the role of Social Media Manager, and brought in Sarah Miller-Fellows as the new VP of Marketing. As of this current month we have reached 1,819 members of our private facebook group, 577 “likes” to our public facebook page, 353 instagram followers, and 102 pinterest followers! This is in addition to those who have found us through our website and blog! In this year we will continue our marketing efforts in a number of different ways. We are in the process of creating new member packets of info to hand out at our meetings, we are working with local pediatrician’s offices and hospitals to have our info distributed to their patients. We are also working hard to expand BWI of Cleveland’s presence at parenting fairs and events like the March of Dimes walk, and coming up Lakewood’s One Life, One Voice, One Community, as well as many others.
Erin, VP of Education: In the past year we’ve added 13 new VBEs, we have 9 trainees, and 7 new volunteer assistants. We’ve also switch over to a training cohort system that cycles quarterly. Applicants and trainees, enter their cohort group, train and prepare together, attend a final full day training session, and the submit their applications to National. In the next year we also hope to have a variety of different bilingual educators join our team!
Katie, VP of Libraries: Over the past year we’ve put in countless hours building our library and organizing and streamlining the library systems. We’ve grown our library to 273 different carriers, and split it into three regional libraries of approximately 90 carriers each to make the library more accessible to our members and more manageable for transportation to and from meetings. we’ve also appointed three different regional librarians: Kaylee Collins (West), Karyn Tankersley (East), and Sabrina Lacny (South). In the past 12 months we have had 592 carrier check outs! We’ve also organized and streamlined the entire library process and provided tracking and accountability for the library carriers. We also started a service to clean, repair, break in, and help members sell their own personal carriers. We are also starting the process and working with the national BWI organization to move over to a brand new automated system hosted by The Babywearer Forum. And finally, we’ve created a new training and teaching library to help the VBEs in training learn and practice without removing carriers from general circulation.
At this point I would like to take a minute to recognize another very key important volunteer in our group: Acacia Mo. Acacia started our VBE training program, and built it from the ground up in preparing it for Erin to take over. She then stepped in when I decided I would like to step down from presidency and took over as president of our group until just recently. Not long ago Acacia turned her eyes towards our governing organization and is now running one committee and serving on a second committee. She also has a few more applications out for different positions and is already working on some absolutely phenomenal things within the national organization. I feel so lucky to have her to work along side me, and support not only our group but also me in our projects and endeavors.
This past year our group has grown exponentially. We’ve changed up some of our existing meeting locations, and added a few more. We are now meeting in seven different location across the city each month. We’ve also added numerous new VBEs and volunteers to support not only these locations but also our outreach events.
This next year we look forward on working with our VP of Marketing and VP of Outreach to start regular Babywearing 101 classes and distributing promotional materials within more hospitals and doctor’s offices. We also look forward to partnering more with local retail store owners to distribute materials with them, and hopefully facilitate a few workshops. As previously mentioned, we are also planning on participating in more festivals and similar events across the city. Finally, we are working to partner with a variety of different lower income organizations like Wic to make our presence more known in the different underserved communities in Cleveland and make our resource more attainable to those families.
Thank you again to everyone who came to the Gala, and those who have supported our chapter over the past year!