As we begin the new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year and assess plans and goals for the coming year.
2017 Facts:
We held 25 meetings and events last year, served 93 caregivers, checked out 38 carriers, had 13 sustaining members, and 4 chapter volunteers.
This year BWI of Wichita raised $86.50 through various fundraising efforts (cash donations, Chipotle fundraiser, and TeePublic and Amazon Smile Commissions).
Our Facebook group currently has 1,559 members while our public Facebook page has 634 likes and has an average monthly reach of 910. Our Instagram account also has 143 followers.
We launched the text message reminder system and currently have 18 participants enrolled.
You chapter leadership has been hard at work. This year we have begun making appearances at Wesley Family Life Education classes to talk about babywearing to new and expecting parents. Wesley delivers over 70% of the region’s babies.
We also performed outreach through Rhea Lana and Kids Closet Connection consignment sales by having a table or handing out flyers in the shopping bags.
A dietitian from Sedgwick County WIC reached out to our chapter and we have been collaborating to form a partnership for 2018 and beyond to help caregivers in the WIC program receive information and education about the benefits of babywearing.
Although we have been rotating meeting locations between Natural Grocers East, Watermark Books & Cafe and the Downtown Wichita Public Library, our chapter is still looking for a set, regular meeting place. We are very grateful to the Cottage Studio for allowing us to host Sunday afternoon meetings in their space.
We have more goals for outreach in 2018 including participating in more local consignment events, having tables at health, parenting and pregnancy expos, and getting informational materials into admissions packets for local hospitals, doctors offices and other local healthcare providers.

Plans for 2018

New Website

You may have noticed that you’re not on the same old blogspot website from yesteryear. Welcome to your new and improved website and blog. In an effort to make all information more accessible and centrally located, we have designed this website with your needs in mind. If there are any changes or features you would like to see, please let us know! We will also be reviving the blog with more regular posts and features throughout the year so stay tuned! Some topics include Babywearing In Real Life tutorials (how to perfect a sleeping transfer or how to wrap your baby in the parking lot like a pro) and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about various topics such as woven wrap fibers, carrier care, ring slings, wrap sizing and many other topics. If there is a topic you would like to see on the blog send us a message!

Membership Rates & Rentals

This year, we’re officially rolling out a few new features which we have already tested a bit. We will continue to offer our $30 annual membership, however we will also allow non-members to check out carriers on a month-to-month basis for $8.00 a month. These rental fees may be rolled into the cost of a membership if the individual chooses.
We are also offering a Pay-It-Forward membership program. These are fully paid memberships donated by individuals who would like to sponsor caregivers that cannot afford an annual membership but would benefit greatly from use of a baby carrier. These scholarships will be distributed at the discretion of BWI of Wichita leadership as funds are available. There is not currently a set criteria for qualifying for a PIF membership. We are currently opening this scholarship program to members of WIC with hopes to open it to any individual who demonstrates a financial need.
We are also offering reduced rate memberships which will be partially subsidized by targeted chapter fundraising efforts. These reduced rate memberships will also be based on demonstrated financial need and distributed as funds are available.

Late Fees

We will also be making some changes to our lending library policies. Although late fees have always been part of our policy (which all dues paying members have agreed to), they have not been enforced. If you are unable to attend the meeting in which your carrier is due back, you must return the carrier to a chapter leader before the meeting date in order to avoid being assessed late fees. Beginning in 2018, late fees will be assessed at $1 per day a carrier is late. There will be a 2-day grace period to accommodate general life circumstances and allow members to return carriers to chapter leaders outside of meetings. Please understand that if you return carriers outside of meeting times we cannot allow non-meeting carrier checkouts.

Reserve a Carrier

In more exciting news, you can also now reserve a carrier in advance of a meeting! No more wondering whether the carrier you want to try will be available when you come or if someone else will check it out before you get there. Log in to your myTurn account, find the carrier you’re interested in, and click on the reserve button under the photo. Reservations will be first click, first served. Reservations are subject to approval. Members with outstanding fees and non-members will not be able to use this feature.

Meetings & Locations

For several years without fail, BWI of Wichita has met on the second Sunday of each month from 2:00 – 4:00 pm and a second meeting each month on a weekday morning. In 2017, we attempted to accommodate different caregiver schedules by holding meetings on different days of the week and weekend with mixed success. We have also had difficulty finding a suitable space that is free to use, centrally located, will allow us to collect donations/membership fees and will hold a standing reservation for us every month. This year, we will be eliminating the weekday morning meetings and weekend meetings will alternate between Sunday afternoon and Saturday morning. Odd numbered months will continue to have meetings on the second Sunday from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Even numbered months will meet on the Second Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. All meetings for 2018 have been scheduled and are available on our Facebook calendar. Meeting locations will be posted in their respective Facebook events.
We realize some of these changes are not as exciting to you as they are to us, but we have decided to make these changes due to the changing climate of caregiver schedules, community needs and the availability of our volunteers who are feeling the strain of simultaneously keeping business running as usual while also growing and expanding the services that this chapter offers.
2018 also holds some exciting changes at the BWI national level. The International Babywearing Conference is taking place in Des Moines, Iowa July 19-22 and International Babywearing Week will be celebrating its decennial celebration in October.
What does 2018 have in store for you?
Did you find this post helpful or informative? If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a $1 donation to BWI of Wichita.

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