Membership Monday – Today from BC

Today for Membership Monday, I shall provide some highlights from British Columbia WI’s newsletter Vol 153. It is the February/March 2015 issue and for the full report click on the link here:

BCWI 2015 FEB MAR ISSUE

If you are like me, you will find the next bit of news very uplifting. Here is a screen capture of the newsletter:

Did you see that number? 47?

4.

7.

47.

AWESOME!

OK, on to the reports from the assorted branches:

Nicola Valley WI

This paragraph caught my attention:

With the dumping of Biosolids in our area from the Lower Mainland our members plan to protest as individuals as well as preparing a resolution to send to the Provincial WI.

Biosolids? Help? Google?

Biosolids are the treated, stabilized solids resulting from wastewater treatment and are regulated under the BC Environmental Management Act and Health Act.

Stay tuned for more from Nicola Valley WI for updates on this issue.

From the Douglas District, Pemberton WI look forward to WI Week in February when they hold a potluck and annual “fun auction”. Pictured below are the members and some 64 dozen Christmas Cookies.

Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola & Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski, Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson, Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.
Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola
& Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski,
Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson,
Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.

Atchelitz WI celebrated their 100th Anniversary on September 6th.  Because of the continued support of the community at fundraising events, they were once again able to donate to many local charities such as The Ride to Conquer Cancer, Salvation Army Food Bank, Chilliwack Hospice Society, BC Agriculture in the Classroom, Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, Ann Davis Transition House & Sardis Doorway, just to name a few.

Over in Kamloops District, Overlander WI continued their support of local charities. For example, they gave p.j.’s and toiletries to the YWCA Women’s Shelter. Coldstream WI from the North Okanagan Sushwap District declare themselves to be a “crafty bunch.”  I’d say they are a compassionate bunch too. They gathered “gifts of hope” for the clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Among several community support activities, Gabriola WI from the north end of Vancouver Island made donations to their local 4H club. At the south end of the island, Colwood WI had a busy year. They were fortunate to be involved in several community events last Fall. For example, the women provided Christmas gifts for the residents of Cockerel House. This is a home for injured Veterans and Colwood WI is proud to able to support the vets in their recovery.

Donna Andrew reports that a wonderful time was had by all at the Olympic View Golf Course where they celebrated Christmas. Unfortunately there are no photos. Apparently, says Donna, “what goes on at the golf course stays at the golf course.”

Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.
Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.

Langford WI’s report was a series of images. I’ve arranged them in a gallery here. Hover or click for captions.

Salt Spring Island WI pose the question, “Did you know that it was Spanish women who started the chocolate craze?” To that I answer, “No, I did not, but let me go on record to state, GRACIAS!!” Their report also includes this encouraging financial news: “We were able to more than cover our goal of $6,000.00 for donations, our two scholarships and still have money to start the year 2015.”

Membership Monday – Connecting the UK to BC

Earlier this week we heard from a member of the UK branch in Holmsforth. Sorry, Holmfirth. (There were a few minor glitches, to be expected since Mercury is retrograde and all that.) Our ACWW pen pal member from Nova Scotia sent this message:

England and Wales are celebrating 100 years of WI. One group in a small town of Yorkshire, England contacted me with a request to hear from Canadian WI and association groups as a way of marking this event. Interestingly, their group of 76 members was organized in 2013 by a 26-year old. Members range in age from 23-75 and are diverse, not only in age, but background. I encourage you to write a note to them if you wish.

So, I did. Or I should say, we did. I broadcast the email to all of the provincial federations. Holmfirth will receive our emails any day now and I look forward to a lively exchange over the next few weeks. If you didn’t yet receive the memo, you can contact Michelle at president@holmfirthwi.org.uk

In the meantime, thanks to those aforementioned glitches, I had the pleasure of meeting Fay Van Horn, the president of the Glenwood WI in Smithers BC. This is perfect, I said to myself. I have content for the next Membership Monday post!

BCWI  Fay Van HornClick on the image above to read Fay’s bio. Then use the back arrow in your browser to return to the blog!

Like Calhoun WI on the opposite coast, Glenwood WI is a small group of ten, ages range from 40 to 75. The branch is near Smithers, BC and meetings are held in their own building, Glenwood Hall. Which happens to be the name of their Facebook page, if you’d like to drop by and say, “Howdy.”

Glenwood Hall
Glenwood Hall
Smithers BC
Smithers BC

The branch is very active providing support to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the hospital in Victoria.

Fay writes,

We have a bake sale every February and the money raised goes directly to benefit the children. We have a competition amongst the groups at the end of April each year and take turns hosting. Our competitions this year are a double crust apple pie, a decorated tea towel, a pint of pickles, a tote bag for carrying grocers or other items, a pint of mincemeat, and a lap robe made from felted wool sweaters. Our WI has won for the last few years.

Glenwood supports the ACWW in every way they can. They have made inquiries into finding a pen pal group through ACWW to exchange stories.

Hence, I gather, the interest in contacting the gals from the UK.

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada

Membership Monday

I <3 Google

Google is my friend and I’d be lost without the search engine. I use it daily to complete my school assignments, my mineral hobby and especially for my volunteer work with FWIC.

I use Google News, too. It has an “alerts” feature. I have registered to receive an email notice “as it happens.” As what happens, you ask? “It” is the posting of any internet content that includes the terms, “women’s institute.”

Many of the Canadian WI’s, especially those in the eastern provinces make great use of the local newspapers to announce events and to promote their cause. I receive about one notice every other day.

Here’s something else you should know about me. I <3 email. Call me crazy, but I love seeing lots of emails in my inbox. Which leads me to the theme of this post:

I hereby challenge you to a… um, to a challenge! I would like to double the notices I receive from Google News. That means I need your help.

According to the International Public Library media database that lists newspapers and magazines worldwide, there are over 130 publications in Canada. Can you imagine how full my inbox would be if I had a notice from  130 news outlets? I’d be over the moon! (I may eat my words, too, but that will be material for a future post if this challenge is a success!)

Click on the image below and you will land on the International Public Library site all set up and ready to search on Canadian media outlets. Find your local newspaper and surf on over and find the contact information for the letters to the editor, the community news, the “what’s on” pages…whatever suits your fancy or your needs.

I look forward to hearing from you. Or from Google News. Or both!

IPL2

 

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Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Preaching to the Choir

Our office received a call last week from a member of the Calhoun WI in New Brunswick. The caller wondered if we had any advice about attracting new members. Their group has five.  A mighty five, if you consider their successful door-to-door fundraising efforts for FWIC.

“Are you online?” Kate asked.

“No.”

Oh, dear.

It’s a perennial problem, this business of attracting new members. That, and communication. Not to mention the dreaded words marketing, branding, or promotion. We are not comfortable with tooting our own horn, are we? We see a job that needs doing and we do it. We don’t brag. Life is busy enough without taking extra time to write about it on a blog or Facebook or Twitter. Who’s got time for that?

Click on image for Google Maps to Calhoun, NB

I turned to Google to find out where is Calhoun, anyway? The Wikipedia entry is a dry as dust. Calhoun is an unincorporated community in Westmorland County, New Brunswick. Okie dokes, thanks, but I want colour, I want commentary, I want to see faces and recipes and projects and events. Me, me, me, it’s all about me!

Well, yes, to a point, but it’s also all about you, too. You are WI. You are a woman inspired and if you are able to connect with other woman around the world via the internet you will encounter thousands, more likely hundreds of thousands of inspiring woman. You are no longer one fifth of a small and isolated branch next the Trans-Canada highway. You are connected to women all over the world.

I re-learned this yesterday as I gathered information for the June 2015 Triennial Convention in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Organizers invite delegates and speakers and others to attend the event. Alternately, they invite them to send greetings. So far the list of invitees includes the usual suspects: the Queen, the Governor General, and the Mayor of Fredericton.

My mission was to suggest names of people, politicians, heads of state, and anyone else who might help to raise the profile of Women’s Institutes in Canada. I felt very much out of the loop celebrity-wise, important women-wise, high-profile women-wise. I don’t watch TV and I don’t read newspapers or magazines. What to do, what to do?

I wrote a blog post  and asked my readers to make suggestions. Within half a day I had compiled a list of over fifty names. Some I knew, but most I did not.

Click here for Ann's TED Talk Video
Click here for Ann’s TED Talk Video

A friend of mine suggest the name of a 16 year-old science inventor Ann Makosinski from Victoria, BC. Ann had invented a flashlight powered by the heat of her hand. She was inspired to help a female friend in Philippines to study after dark, when there was no light.  My friend went on to say,

If the WI is going to go forward, they will need to reinvent the wheel to keep the interest in the next generations. It goes without saying that these kids were born plugged in and we adults are just playing catch up.

As I read this email from my friend, I thought to myself, thanks, but you are preaching to the choir.

Which is exactly what I am doing here: you are reading this online. You are comfortable with technology and know how to make it work for you and your branch.

But what about those who do not have the resources? What about those who do not have the time, money, equipment, or desire to be online?

It’s Membership Monday. I’d like to start a conversation about communication in general and online communication specifically. How we can bring new members to WI? How can we stay in touch with the members we already have and encourage them to try out the new methods of online communication?

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Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

 

 

Tips for Inspiring the WI Members in your Group

Photo Courtesy http://londonmasalaandchips.blogspot.ca
Photo Courtesy http://londonmasalaandchips.blogspot.ca

TIPS FOR INSPIRING WI MEMBERS :

• Make it a practice to thank your WI members for their efforts
• Encourage, motivate and show enthusiasm for projects and programs
• Plan some fun programs, share jokes and stories
• Keep things simple – do not deal with too many issues at one time
• Find out the issues that the members are interested in and invite speakers on the topics
• Write a resolution about a “burning” issue
• Brainstorm to come up with new ideas or new ways to present old topics.
• Seek feedback from your members by having comments and questions at the end of your meetings
• Solicit program ideas from the membership
• Make sure no member is carrying more responsibilities than she can handle or desire
• Frequently check with each member so that discontent can be known and changes made
• Use the talents of your members
• If certain practices are no longer working in your group, change the way things are being done
• Be flexible – try different ways of meeting, working and planning

W.I. Our goal is to Inspire Women to make a difference! Let’s have fun and make that happen.

Can you add to the list? Join in, please,  and comment below!