2014 annual meeting report

2nd annual BWIGH board meeting
Saturday, May 3, 2014. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. • McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston, TX

Present
Meleah Ekstrand, VBE, Treasurer.
Angelique Geehan, MBE, President, Training Coordinator.
Mary Puryear Potee, VBE, Vice President, Queen.
Edith Santiago Jasso, trainee, Librarian.
Erin Young, VBE, Outreach and Publicity Coordinator.

Absent
Jacquie Kosako, VBE.
Tiffany Rugnao, VBE.

Old business

  1. We reviewed the VBE Code of Ethics and BWIGH and BWI principles and mission. We agreed to three changes in the text, highlighted in the BWIGH principles on the following pages and all present renewed our commitment to working according to these guidelines.
  2. Reports on current status and achievements in 2013
    • Public meetings — Angelique described the chapter having started with one monthly educational meeting with additional social meetings and workshops and having temporarily stabilized at four educational meetings per month and no additional social meetings. Each meeting location appears to be attracting more attendees despite intentionally minimal outreach. Despite changes in meeting locations, we have been able to maintain scheduling consistency. All present agreed to maintain this pattern until adjustments become necessary, possibly as other Houston Baby Wearers subgroups desire to merge with BWIGH or other areas merit our establishing another regular meeting there. We also discussed naming meetings after the arterial highways they are nearest.
    • Organizational meetings — We held one board meeting in 2013 and then agreed to, instead of quarterly meetings, try online or phone check-ins. These were not maintained consistently. Angelique will work in 2014 to devise a more efficient way of coordinating our leadership activities.
    • Training and staffing — With five accredited educators (Meleah, Jacquie, Erin, Mary, Angelique) and two moving to inactive status (Tiffany, with notice, and Melissa, without notice), all present agreed that more educators and volunteers would be welcome, with having at least three staffers per meeting as a goal. Angelique will determine who in the BWIGH Facebook group plans to complete the accreditation process in 2014. She will also write a summary of the requirements for joining the group so that those interested will have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved. Jacquie will maintain her accreditation but cease anchoring a meeting and working as Publicity and Outreach Coordinator. Tiffany will not renew her accreditation but has agreed to remain on staff as a volunteer, duties to be determined.
  3. Treasurer’s report — Meleah announced the chapter has $685 in the treasury and that she was conducting an audit of our activity. The requirements to remain in good standing with the parent organization have been met. All of the startup debt the chapter incurred has been paid off.
  4. Membership Coordinator / Secretary’s report — none given (Melissa vacated the Membership Coordinator position, then Tiffany, who temporarily took those duties as Secretary, resigned her officership. Edith agreed to take on the position of Secretary.)
  5. Librarian’s report — Erin is resigning as Librarian and taking on the Publicity and Outreach Coordinator position. Edith has agreed to serve as Librarian. Angelique reviewd that in 2013, BWIGH stocked two lending libraries with at least one of each primary carrier type, a weighted demo doll, storage bins, a folding dolly, bungee cords, business cards, safety+business post cards, brochures, a poster-size sign, and a vinyl banner. All present agreed we would like to set up two more libraries during 2014. It was agreed that Angelique would find a volunteer interested in completing “library kits” with a PayPal Here reader, pens, first aid kits, and other items deemed necessary.
  6. Publicity and Outreach Coordinator’s report — Jacquie; Erin will be taking this position. Angelique reviewed that chapter’s Facebook page, which was set up in 2013, had grown to have 793 likes
  7. Events Coordinator’s report — Lauren PL; will eliminate this position
  8. IBW Coordinator’s repot — Mary; will plan events and coordinate with group
  9. BWI, Inc. report — Angelique answered questions about changes in organization leadership and policies

 

New topics

  1. Headbands $3 each. (Angelique); ordered and distribution is in progress. Only VBEs will wear orange headbands.
  2. Cancel or suspend Square account; use PayPal Here (Meleah)
  3. Candidates for BWI, Inc. BOD nominating committee (Angelique)
  4. International Babywearing Conference (July 17-21, Tempe, AZ)
  5. Set date for next year’s meeting: Saturday, May 2, 2015, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  6. Reinstatement or transition, goals and feedback by role
    • President: Angelique
    • Vice President: Mary
    • Secretary: Tiffany >> Edith
      meeting report duties delegated to meeting anchors
    • Treasurer: Meleah
    • Publicity and Outreach: Jacquie > Erin
    • Librarian: Erin > Edith
    • Membership Coordinator: to be filled
    • Training Coordinator: Angelique
    • Fundraising Coordinator: To be elimiated
    • Events Coordinator (Holiday Market): To be eliminated
    • IBW Coordinator: Mary
    • BIRTH Fair Sling Station Coordinator: Angelique
    • VBEs: Tiffany, Meleah, Jacquie, Erin, Mary
    • MBE: Angelique

BWIGH Mission

To offer information and support to families who wish to use carriers as part of their caregiving practices.

 

BWIGH Principles

  1. We are working to empower caregivers to make choices they are happy with for their own families. Each family is different. We treasure differences as much as we do common ground.
  2. We offer information. Some information may come from our own experiences, and some will have been relayed to us from others, but we recognize that it is simply information. We remain open to changes in what we know as best practices, and as educators, we take responsibility to stay updated and be critical of information we receive and share.
  3. Others’ experiences and choices are may be different from our own. Our default assumption is that others’ choices do not reflect either approval or disapproval of our own choices.
  4. Safe positioning is can be different from optimal or ideal positioning. We encourage everyone to understand and use ideal practices as much as possible.
  5. We obtain clear consent before taking actions that affect others bodies and attempt to be aware of actions that affect their emotional state as well. We believe babies and children learn respect from being treated with respect, and further, that adults deserve the same respect we accord our children.
  6. We believe that humans are doing the best they can with the information and skills they have. Whenever we hear “should,” “have to,” “need to,” or other language that could be taken as judgmental, we will try to determine that no personal views are being imposed on others. This means we ourselves will be working to trace where any “shoulds” come from in our internal dialogues and question the sources.
  7. The group endeavors to accomodate the needs of all members as much as possible, in balance, just as if we were a family. We take responsibility for communicating our own needs to the group. We welcome contributions of ideas and resources from the members of our community.
  8. We are careful in our communications. We attempt to use inclusive, gentle language and are committed to using nonviolent communication as much as we can.

Celebrate International Babywearing Week 2014, starting October 5

We have tons planned for International Babywearing Week 2014, which is set for October 5 to October 11, which means it begins right after Houston’s BIRTH Fair (on Saturday, October 4th).

This is perhaps my favorite event of the year — people coming together to celebrate and share a common bond: babywearing!

What’s not to love? This year, like years past, we have planned events all over our great city to encourage you to get out and meet some new babywearers, spread the love, and above all, have fun! Here are all of our events for next week with links to our Facebook events, which will have the most updated information.

Saturday, October 4 — Shout it Out Saturday: B.I.R.T.H Fair Style

Join us at B.I.R.T.H Fair, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the United Way of Houston, to show your love of babywearing! Be sure to stop by our Sling Station and let others know why you love babywearing! For extra cool points, let us snap a pic of you to use on our Facebook page to promote our cause!

Monday, October 6 — Momentum Monday: Babywearing Scavenger Hunt!

We will be scavenging along 19th Street in the Heights from 10 a.m. to noon. This is going to be a blast!

Tuesday, October 7 — Teach Me Tuesday: A Tips and Tricks Workshop!

Join Ang and Stephanie at Challenger Park for an exciting and informative workshop full of tips and tricks such as supporting your babe’s head with a scarf, narrowing a carrier, or using a wrap as an impromptu high chair that can make babywearing a convenience for any situation!

Wednesday, October 8 — Workout Wednesday: Babywearing Movement Class

One of our awesome babywearing mamas, Kristin Maresca, will lead a relaxing, mind-freeing, babywearing movement circle at Teddy Bear Park in The Woodlands starting at 10 a.m. And even better, this park is completely fenced! Bring a lunch and stay for a picnic.

Thursday, October 9 — Throwback Thursday: Getting Back to Our Roots

Heather Barrett, babywearing mama, doula, and much more, will be leading a discussion on the history of babywearing! Bring your carriers too, as she will be showing some traditional carries.

Friday, October 10 — Flexible Friday: Let’s Go to Lunch!

What part of town are you in? Jump on the event page (link above) and let us know where you want to go to lunch! Our goal is to have several groups of babywearers all over Houston lunching to show the world (or at least our town), how babywearing helps us be more flexible!

Saturday, October 11 — Share Your City Saturday: Babywearing Photography

The talented and proud babywearing papa Damon Jasso will take babywearing photos at Discovery Green from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Be sure to stop by The Deck and have him take a few photos of you wearing your little one(s) in front of the Synchronicity of Color! This is a fundraising event, so we request a donation of $25 per mini-session.

To share pictures and stay in the IBW loop, please head on over to our Facebook page!

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Bumper stickers!

Want to show your support? We now have stickers for sale for $1 each. Adorn a vehicle (please only your own), technology, or perhaps a carrier storage bin or baby wipes case. Funds raised support our chapter. If you’d like one mailed, please message us with an address, and we can send an invoice via PayPal that includes postage.

More BWIGH monthly meetings for 2014

Which means more access to the lending libraries, more times and places to bring your friends and family, and more opportunities to share experiences with each other.

First Friday evenings (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) in the upstairs conference room of the office building behind 811 1533 Heights Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77008 (map), thanks to the Bay Area Birth Center. Free parking is available at the building and on the street. Anchored by Jacquie and Angelique.

Second Saturday mornings (10 a.m. to noon) in the Bunker Hill Babies / Toys ‘R’ Us (9730 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77024). Anchored by Meleah and Jacquie.

Third Tuesday mornings (10 a.m. to noon) at the HEB North Woodlands Market (3601 FM 1488, Conroe, Texas 77384)South Regional Library (2101 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77380). Anchored by Mary.

Fourth Friday mornings (10 a.m. to noon) at St. Paul’s School (5501 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77004; map). Free parking is available off Fannin Street, one block north of Bissonnet/Binz. Booked for January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25, and May 23 (If it works well for the school, BWIGH, and our staff and community, we hope to extend the collaboration.)

Meetings are free and open to family and caregivers of all ages who wish to learn about the use of slings and carriers through discussions, one-on-one help, and demonstrations. Members (dues are $30 per year per family) may borrow baby carriers from the library the chapter maintains. BWIGH holds several meetings a month across Houston. For more updated event information, please visit our Facebook page.

 

[Strikethroughs to update info as of June 2014.]

VBE training sessions 2014

VBEs and VBE trainees, please mark these dates (or subscribe to the BWIGH staff and volunteers Google calendar), noting that the days of the week and times of day are different. Although the primary purpose for these sessions is to support individuals working toward accreditation as a VBE, ABE, or MBE through BWI, I will leave the sessions open to other educators, such as volunteers for the Houston Baby Wearers and pre-CBEs or CBEs from any existing program (if I was not your teacher, please make sure your teacher knows we will be working together). These sessions will be held free of charge, but if you are an educator working for profit, I ask that you make a donation to the BWIGH chapter when you attend.

All trainings will be at 2028 Buffalo Terrace, Houston, Texas 77019-2408, thanks to Index Strategy Advisors.

  1. Friday, January 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  2. Friday, February 28 — no training; I will be anchoring the Fourth Friday educational meeting at St. Paul’s. Please do come, and we can work on aspects of running a meeting.
  3. Monday, March 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  4. Wednesday, April 30. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  5. Saturday, May 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  6. Monday, June 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  7. Thursday, July 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  8. Sunday, August 31. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  9. Tuesday, September 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  10. Friday, October 31. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  11. Sunday, November 30. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  12. No training in December

Please note that I am not declaring topics. My intention is for those attending to take initiative in their process and let me know what knowledge and skills they need help with. If you are planning to attend a training for the first time or need some help determining a direction, please let me know ahead of time so we can talk one-on-one about your goals. I look forward to working with you all.

First Annual Holiday Market and Auction

We’re closing out the year with a Holiday Market and Auction, free to the public, next Saturday, November 16, 2014, at the First Congregational Church of Houston (10840 Beinhorn Road, Houston, Texas 77024).

For more details, please visit the event page on Facebook.

holidaymarketposter2013v1

Your whole family is welcome, and we will be offering babywearing help alongside the fabulous local vendors who are showing their support for us by participating. 
Thank you all for a wonderful year, and we hope to see you and your friends there. Please feel free to help spread the word.

IBW 2013: A Week in Review

International Babywearing Week (IBW) was a blast! We had so much going on that I hardly remembered being 38 weeks pregnant. It made me oh-so-appreciative for toddlerwearing, too!

Please visit our Facebook page to see some of the images of us “getting carried away,” which was the theme for 2013.

Our week started in Houston with a gorgeous weather on Monday, beautiful babywearing families, funky blue crepe myrtles (The Blue Trees), and professional photographers Courteney Miller of Once Upon A Lifetime Photography and Alexander Mayhill of Newlife Photos.

Mother and child in a Tula soft structured carrier

We celebrated Model-it Monday at the Blue Trees Project.

Tuesday, we met at Milroy Park in the Heights and practiced babywearing with traditional household fabrics: towels, sarongs or pareos, and tableclothes. It was a beautiful morning with lots of laughs.

On Wednesday, directed by the generous Janaki Mayhill, we experienced intense closeness with our little ones at the tranquil Pilates Place of The Woodlands. Our “babywearing yoga” session started with a lavender oil massage that started with their tiny feet and worked up to their heads. Once little ones were secured into wraps, SSCs, and mei tais, we moved through some gentle stretches and poses that, no matter how gentle, had us all sweaty by the end of class — sweaty yet energized! Courtney Zadik of Cocoa’s Dream Photography, a babywearing mama herself, documented the class.

Three parents carrying their children on their backs in wraps while doing yoga.

Babywearing International of Houston celebrated Work Out Wednesday in October.

For “Tutorial Thursday,” I had everyone over for a dolly sling sewing day. The kids played together while the adults busied themselves at sewing machines making baby carriers for our little “mommies and daddies” to hold their baby dolls, cars, stuffed animals, and any other precious items.

Child carrying a doll in a sling

We love it when our children “wear” their dear toys and dolls.

Friday was another gorgeous day, and we took full advantage of it! For three amazing hours, babywearers enjoyed the splash pad at Sawmill Park in The Woodlands, where we talked parenting, cloth diapers, carseats, pregnancy and birth, and of course babywearing, while the little ones kept busy with the water, play set, and picnic snacks.

We wrapped up IBW with our monthly Saturday meeting, where we discussed airway safety, optimal positioning, and carrier types. We helped fit several caregivers with a compatible carrier; for some, it was ring slings and others, toddler SSCs. We also showed a mother how to use her SSC to carry her child on her back. It was another fun meeting helping each other find (and maintain!) the babywearing love.

How did you celebrate the week? We’d love to hear from you!

— Mary Potee
VP and VBE for Babywearing International of Greater Houston

 

Babywearing educator information session

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 19, 2013

2028 Buffalo Terrace, Houston, Texas 77019

To RSVP, please send us an email or visit the Facebook events page.

We are aware that many wonderful caregivers are curious about or ready to being working toward accreditation as a Volunteer Babywearing Educator with us. We are thrilled you are interested and hope you can attend this session to learn more about what is required and, if time allows, begin filling in the gaps in your skills and knowledge. The session is free, but space is limited, so please keep your RSVP accurate to allow others to attend who might be able to.

Prerequisite to attending: Read about our group’s principles (and as much of the site as you can) and consider whether those are ideas you are willing to adopt (or already have adopted).

Those who have taken Babywearing Institute certification classes with Angelique are also welcome to audit this session.

International Babywearing Week 2013!

 

International Babywearing Week — Get Carried Away!

October 7–13, 2013

What better way to show your support and love for babywearing than to participate in a week-long celebration? Please join Babywearing International of Greater Houston for some or all of the events we have planned!

Model-it Monday! Grab your favorite baby carrier and your little one(s) and head over to the Blue Trees Project  near Spotts Park on Waugh and Memorial between 10 a.m. and noon. Courteney Miller of Once Upon A Lifetime Photography will be taking babywearing photographs and emailing the images to you! Suggested donation (not required): $25. Please RSVP here.

Traditional Carry Tuesday! Meet at Milroy Park at 12th and Yale from 10:30 a.m. to noon to learn how to use household and non-carrier fabrics! Bring a towel, bedsheet, scarf, or anything you want to work with. Please RSVP here.

Workout Wednesday! Are you ready to get your peace on? Join us for Babywearing Yoga, led by Janaki Mayhill at Pilates Place of The Woodlands from noon to -1 p.m.  You will get a relaxing and rejuvenating workout and experience an amazing bond with your little one, with Courtney Zadik of Cocoa’s Dream Photography documenting this wonderful hour!  Donations appreciated. Please RSVP here.

Tutorial Thursday! Give the little babywearers in your life a gift they will never forget: a homemade, handmade doll sling by joining us Thursday, October 10 from 10:30 a.m. to noon for a Doll Sling Sewing Day! We’ll take turns sewing and watching each other’s little ones at a private residence complete with a huge backyard, play set, and indoor playroom. Please RSVP here.

Fun-for-all Friday!  Let’s have some FUN on Friday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at Sawmill Park/Sprayground in The Woodlands. Bring a swimsuit, towel, sunblock, and bug spray. We are planning to picnic with our little ones, so if you’d like to hang out, remember to bring some munchies for yourselves! Please RSVP here.

Shout-it Saturday!  This is your day to really shine as a babywearing lover! Shout it from the rooftops about how much you love babywearing. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform — or even if you take the literal route and declare your love for babywearing in the middle of a grocery store by doing an interpretive dance — we want to hear about it! Post a video, picture, or just tag us in a post telling us how you shouted it on Saturday! Don’t forget about our BWI meeting too, we can shout it all together!

Social Media Sunday! I will blog about our fun-filled week, so make sure you stay tuned for details on how the week unfolded. Feel free to share our blog, Facebook page, and website with everyone you know…Let’s Get Carried Away!   Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date and for more details on this fun-filled babywearing week!   Can’t make some or all of these events?  No worries, just follow our lead and celebrate with your group of babywearing friends on your own!

—Mary Potee
VP and VBE for Babywearing International of Greater Houston