President’s Prattle from November meeting

In case you didn’t make the November meeting or were too busy have a great time to read the newsletter, Clare Farquhar, our new president left out on the tables:

‘So, one monthly meeting and one committee meeting under my belt.  Are we having fun yet?  Hell yeah!!

I loved the October meeting with the wonderful ladies from Rainbow Beads.  How many “shinies” and bling-tastic beads could we fit in one hall?!  The resulting creations were very inspiring.  There are such talented ladies in our midst.  I thought it was a great way to spend an evening; chatting and creating our own individual piece of jewellery.
My first committee meeting was just as much fun.  I was so nervous that I arrived half an hour early, to shuffle paper and check my notes!  Then I resorted to crochet to calm the nerves.  I shouldn’t have worried though, the committee are a fantastic, supportive and encouraging bunch of women.  I now have inside knowledge of the effort they put into making our WI a success.  As well as making our monthly meetings enjoyable and inclusive, there’s planning for the next year to be done and making sure that we’re up to date nationally.  I encourage people to join us to see what it’s all about and then maybe stand for the committee next year.
We have an interesting year to look forward to, celebrating the centenary.  We have made the decision to cancel the barn dance due to administration problems and interest being a little lack lustre.  Our new plan is to have a party, perhaps a dinner dance, with food, music and bags of fun.  We are currently looking for a venue and thinking about themes.   One thought has been a 1920’s / flapper inspired theme (with optional dressing up) to pay homage to our founding sisters.  If you have other suggestions, please let a member of the committee know.
Having read the WI handbook from cover to cover, I was struck again by how much the WI has to offer us all.  So this coming year we will be concentrating on the core values of education of skills and support of the local community.  Carmen and I have given this a mission statement of “Caring and Sharing”.
I have already shared thoughts with the committee on how we can encourage all our members to become more involved within the WI, further than just attending the monthly meeting.  We will be promoting the sharing of our own skills and talents within Market Harborough and beyond.  Early in the New Year we will be asking you to donate a skill for a new type of raffle.  This will involve sharing your own talent with as many or as few ladies as you like.  Your talent can be anything from knitting to knife throwing!  Crochet to canoeing!  Baking to bricklaying!  Commit some time to meet up with the winning ladies, (we can help if a venue is required for larger groups) and share what you can do.
For example, I might offer 2 hours to teach a small group to crochet.  Or someone with baking skills (this won’t be me), might offer to teach bread making.  If you are a whizz on the computer, maybe an introduction to Facebook or Twitter.  The possibilities are endless.  What have YOU got to offer?
Please put your thinking caps on ladies, because in January we will be asking you to donate, share, learn new skills and make new friendships.
Talking of sharing, since jill has stood down, we no longer have a dedicated refreshments co-ordinator.  As no-one has volunteered for this post the committee ruminated on ways to encourage participation.  In the end we decided that the fairest method of (wo)manning the counter and ensuring our continued facility of tea and nibbles is to have a rota of all members.  Some mathematically minded member worked out that this would entail covering the kitchen once every 2 years.  So for less than one meeting a year, each member will sort out the refreshments and serve behind the counter.  So I will be asking for volunteers to start us off, and then a rota will be published.
We are also keen to raise our profile and help support our local community.  We have started this by approaching local independent businesses to donate to our Christmas Raffle.  Many have been keen to help us and we are going to be offering some amazing prizes in December.  However, it is also important that the WI supports local business, initiatives and charities, so we need ideas how to do this going forward and help where we can.
So ladies of Harborough, I encourage you to come forward with ideas and suggestions. Get involved.  That saying about “getting out what you put in” is so true.   I have never met such a supportive group of women than I have since joining the WI three years ago.  Not only within Market Harborough, but nationally through Tea and Tents and the subsequent online community it created.   Our WI is not just about the committee, it’s what you want it to be and what you would like to get out of it.  I am so looking forward to the New Year, the Centenary and doing lots of learning, laughing sharing and caring.  Who knows what lies in store?
Clare x’