Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What to Expect at a BWI of Cleveland Meeting

BWI Volunteers:

BWI of Cleveland is very lucky to have a large group of volunteers to help at our meetings! When you arrive, you’ll meet:

- Chapter Volunteers and VBEs in training that will help you get signed in and who can answer your questions about the meeting, Babywearing International, membership in our chapter, and the lending library, among other things

- Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) (wearing orange headbands) who have been trained and tested to demonstrate and teach safe babywearing practices.
**Please note that the only VBEs may provide babywearing instruction and that peer to peer teaching (including teaching by volunteers and VBEs in training) is not permitted.**

First 30 minutes: Welcome! Come on in and get comfortable :)
You'll sign in, return library carriers, get settled, and chat with our volunteers and other caregivers! This is a great time to meet new people and visit with those you've met before!

After about 15 minutes, your Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBEs) will run through a short safety discussion, demonstrate the different types of carriers, and do introductions. They will ask you if there is something specific you came to learn in order to create workshop groupings that will help the greatest number of people at one time. If you haven't come with anything specific in mind to learn, or you're here purely to socialize, that's great, too!
**It is our policy that all carriers that have been borrowed from the lending library be returned in the first 30 minutes of the meeting to avoid being charged the late fee of $10. This ensures that all of our carriers will be available for every attendee’s use during the meeting.**

Next 45 minutes- 1 hour: Small Group Instruction
This time is reserved to teach specific skills that your VBEs have chosen to meet the needs discussed in the intro. They will create stations where a group will all learn the same skill together.  If time permits, VBEs will also be available for more specialized instruction during this time.

***Keep in mind that we are all moms and caregivers and our children come first! Don't hesitate to step away if your child needs a break, diaper change, snack, etc. You may want to bring a favorite small toy for your child to hold while you're practicing. We also have weighted dolls for you to use if your little one is napping/playing/doesn't want to go "up." Remember, too, that it is always appropriate to interrupt a VBE or chapter volunteer if their child needs their attention!***


Last 30 minutes: Carrier Checkouts
Feel free to reserve a carrier at any point during the meeting, but please wait until the last 30 minutes so that to actually check it out of the library! This gives all caregivers a chance to see and compare all of the carriers we have to offer.
If you have specific needs that have not yet been addressed, please see a VBE during this time so that we can help you!

-Do I have to pay to come to your meetings?
Nope, our meetings are free and open to the public! Any caregiver can come to a meeting, explore the different carrier options in our lending library, and learn how to wear their child safely. If you’d like to borrow from our library, you can become a member of BWI for $30 for the year and take home one carrier each month!
-Can I become a member at my first meeting?
Yes! We accept cash, checks, credit/debit cards, and Paypal. Please note that there is a small processing fee for credit/debit cards and Paypal payments.

-Do I have to arrive right at the start of the meeting/stay the entire time?
In a word, no- although we prefer that you are present for introductions and the safety demonstration! We must be certain that you know how to use our carriers safely before we can loan one to you. So, feel free to come at any time throughout the meeting, but please do respect our guidelines and make sure that you return any borrowed carriers within the first 30 min of the meeting and wait until the last 30 min before checking out. 

-Can I bring my other children to the meeting?
Of course! Children of all ages are welcome at our meetings. You may wish to bring a small, quiet activity or toy to keep them occupied while you're learning.

-What should I bring with me to the meeting?
We suggest that you bring any carriers that you're interested in learning to use, and one or more quiet toys or activities to keep your child(ren) happy while you're learning. You may also wish to bring a blanket for your child to sit/play on and any other wraps/carriers that you'd like to share with the group! Our volunteers usually bring their personal "stashes" of carriers to share-- it's a great way to see different fiber blends and carrier options!

-Can I come to a meeting before my child is born/ without my child?
Sure! We have weighted demo dolls available for you to use.

-What do I do if I have a special situation or need more one on one help?
We love to provide one-on-one instruction and will do so as much as is possible! Unfortunately, meeting size often makes it difficult to work one on one for an extended period of time. If you need more hands on help, please sign up for one of our upcoming workshops or take advantage of our personal consultations!

Please check the Events Page for a detailed list of all our Monthly Instructional Meetings and Upcoming Events!  We can't wait to see you there! 
written by
Katie Krueger, VP of Outreach and VBE

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