Saturday, December 14, 2013

State of the Chapter


In a little over a month the president of our country will deliver the annual State of the Union address. It is a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next. The leadership team thought this would be a great time to do the same and talk about where we have been and where we are going.


Looking back

It has been an amazing year filled with change and growth! Babywearing International of North Central Illinois was established in May 2013 to serve Rockford and the surrounding areas. The area was previously under served and we saw huge interest and potential, and wanted to bring the love of babywearing to Winnebago, Boone, Kane, Kendall and Dekalb counties. When we first began talking about starting this chapter we had no idea how quickly we would expand! Our long term goals quickly became short term goals as participation and memberships grew. Since May we have expanded to 5 regular meetings, seen our chapter grow to over 50 members and we currently have over 350 Facebook members.  These numbers amaze the leadership team every day and we are so excited we have reached so many of you in such a sort time.

Due to the rapid increase in meetings and memberships we have needed to increase our lending library.  We went quickly from one library to two and we have now just expanded to a third library.   Because of this we do have some debt we are working to pay off. The leadership team has made it a priority to pay off this debt as soon as we can.  We have already paid back about two thirds of the original debt.  For now, money collected in the areas of fundraising and cash donations will typically be used to help eliminate the debt.
Membership dues always go to purchasing new carriers for the lending library.  Fifteen dollars of the dues stay local and the other fifteen goes to Babywearing International for expenses at the national level. Once we have saved up enough dues we shop for that perfect carrier to add to the lending library to keep it diverse and exciting.
Each new membership helps us build our lending library which in turn helps us attract new members.  We want to thank our past and present members for their support and participation.  Without you we would not be as successful as we have been in building our library or in reaching other caregivers and spreading the word about babywearing. 

We also have some amazing businesses and individuals that have donated to the lending library and contributed to our success. Please take time to thank these individuals and businesses and support them as they have supported us.

A Portee des Coeurs
Catbird Baby
Color Dip Studios
Marsupial Mamas
Oscha Slings
Sleeping Baby Productions
Sling Rings
Onya Baby
Shiny Stars Designs
Baby Bjorn
Ergo Baby
Action Baby Carriers
Wrap Nap Fairy
Alyssa Ruben - visit her blog! -  The Mommy Dialogues
Drea Eisenberg - visit her blog! - The Maiden Metallurgist
Tess Manicki
Rashada Hamlin

Feedback needed

We are looking forward to planning an exciting 2014! To help us do that we need your feedback on how we did this past year. Your ideas and opinions matter to us and we want as much feedback as possible to help us plan activities, meetings and events.
You can fill out a survey here:
If you attended any of our IBW events you can also fill out this survey:

A Glimpse into the Future

What might you see in 2014?
  • Additional meetings and locations
  • Fundraisers
  • Play dates
  • Member only meetings and/or classes
  • Increased outreach
  • Another fun filled International Babywearing Week

We are always looking for help planning and organizing activities. If you would like to help in any way please let us know. Some examples of ways we might ask for help would be: being a greeter at a monthly meeting, organizing play dates, or scouting out new meeting locations in a predetermined area. 

Thank you to all those who have been a part of  this journey. We are excited about how far we have come since the start of our chapter and even more excited about where we are going. We look forward to continuing our reach out into the community and providing education and support to even more caregivers in 2014.