We haven’t talked about membership in a while, but we get a ton of questions, and we have some exciting news for this month!
The international umbrella of our organization is doing a membership incentive this month. Every new membership will be entered into their drawing for the chapter to win either money or a carrier! There will be two drawings for 100.00 that can be used for the conference in Arizona this summer, or other needs for our group. They also added a third drawing for a woven wrap from Pavo textiles. We don’t have a Pavo in the group, so this would be a huge opportunity for us. Before we talk about membership, we wanted to let you know more about who we are!
WHO ARE WE?
We are the Chicagoland Chapter of Babywearing International. We have FREE meetings in Cook County, Lake County, and McHenry County in Illinois. The mission statement, guiding principles, and all that good stuff can be found on the international website here: http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/about.php
We, the collective “we” are a huge group of moms and dads, with a few foster parents, grandparents, and awesome nannies thrown in the mix. We spend our time, energy, and gas to get to meetings or help folks online because we believe that using baby carriers is not only a “nice option to have” but an integral and important part of childrearing. There are countless benefits to using carriers. Some of the benefits can be found HERE.
We are a free, non-profit group. Our current leadership team consists of a handful of moms and two nannies who live in the Chicago area and love helping others learn to use baby carriers (child carriers). Scroll over each photo to see which leader it is. 🙂
WHAT IS MEMBERSHIP?
We get a lot of questions about the optional BWI membership that we offer through BWI Chicagoland. We are a chapter of this international non-profit group Babywearing International. We hold meetings, playgroups, social gatherings, etc. in the Chicagoland area. Any carriers we bring to meetings are always free to try out for everyone who attends a meeting or event.
We do offer an optional BWI membership. This membership costs 30.00, and is active for 12 months. They’ve just changed the remittance structure, so more of your 30.00 stays local! Now, 20.00 stays with our local Chapter, we use the money to buy carriers for the library, or to buy business cards for members to hand out, etc. The other 10.00 goes to the International Organization for a number of purposes… liability insurance, printed educational materials we can pass out at meetings, and large-scale educational efforts, among other things. We support the international organization’s broad scale efforts, and have received great carriers from the Babywearing International!
These are some of carriers that we purchased for the lending libraries in the past year because of the membership support of our group! Some were very generous deals/discounts from both Zerberts, Comfy Joey, and Sleeping Baby Productions! They allowed us to maximize our funds for a great selection of carriers, which is really important since we have a very active group and many library carriers are checked out at any given time by our members!
This optional membership has a great benefit to caregivers. It includes lending library borrowing privileges. We have a lending library, and we bring carriers to every meeting. BWI members can borrow a carrier for 1 month (30 days). Then they can return the carrier to the next meeting or drop it off with a leader. When they return a carrier, they are allowed to check out a DIFFERENT carrier for the next month. It’s a great way to try a number of different carriers and brands! It’s also a great way to “try before you buy”. We also welcome people to become BWI members to support the organization, whether or not they plan to use the lending library or even attend meetings.
Not all carriers you’ll see in the suitcases are available for checking out, but a nice portion of them are. The ones that aren’t available for checkout are either 1. Part of a leader’s personal stash, or 2. A newer addition to the lending library that we want to be able to share and showcase across multiple meetings, or 3. a “hot” carrier we want all our attendees to be able to try out.
This lending library works out really nicely for members who can regularly attend a meeting at a specific location. Our current meeting schedule for the next few months consists (loosely and likely to change at any time…) of:
- One weekday meeting each month in Gurnee
- One weekday meeting each month in Chicago
- One weekend meeting each month in Chicago
- TWO weekday meetings each month at Cygnus Lactation in Mundelein
- One weekday night meeting each month in Grayslake
- One weekend monthly meeting at New Mother New Baby in Northbrook
- One weekend meeting every 4-8 weeks in Schaumburg
- One weekday meeting each month in Crystal Lake (restarting March 2014)
- One weekday meeting each month in Woodstock (starting March 2014)
It also works well for members who live close to a leader. All current leaders live in Chicago, Lake, and McHenry County. We do allow carriers to be dropped off or shipped to a leader if you can’t make it to a meeting. It can be harder to use the library if someone doesn’t live close to a meeting or can’t attend a meeting. We always want people to be aware of that. It’s still a great way to support the group, even if you never check out a carrier!
WHY SHOULD I JOIN IF I DON’T WANT TO BORROW CARRIERS?
Have you ever thought to yourself “Wow, I really learned a lot from all these parents, and I’d like to give back”? Or “This is a great group to support? Well, now is a GREAT time to donate. Broken down, it is only $2.50 a month to join to support our group. That amount per month is less than most people spend on one trip to their local coffee shop!
Membership also makes a great baby shower gift for friends and family. To purchase a membership for a friend or family, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get a great gift set up for you!
March is also a great month to renew your membership early. It will extend the current membership for an additional 12 months!
If you would like to join or make a donation, please go to the following link. Please include a note with the full name for the member or donation so we can keep track! We accept cash, checks, or even Paypal! Donations can be made through paypal to email@example.com .
ADDED PERKS- CARRIER TRADE – IN EVENT!
We are going to do a special promotion as well for our group. This promotion is a push to help build our great lending library up EVEN MORE to accommodate the growing group and needs. It will be our own little Chicagoland Trade in Event. If you would like to trade in a carrier to our group, we will exchange that for a 12 month membership coupon! The coupon will be good for a 12 month BWI membership, that INCLUDES the awesome lending library privileges we discussed above. The instant use coupon will become effective immediately, on the day the carrier is traded in. This promotion will run through the entire month of March.
There are a few stipulations and exclusions we are adding. The traded in carrier should have a retail value of at lest $80.00. We are looking for carriers that are a good fit for the library, and acceptance will be at the discretion of the leaders. We’re excluding narrow based carriers (such as Baby Bjorn carriers), and pouches; as these items are not requested as often, and we have enough to meet our current needs. The carriers can be mailed to a leader, dropped off with a leader, or brought to a meeting! Note: Carriers traded in for the promotion will not be provided a tax-deductible receipt, since the BWI membership offered in exchange includes a benefit of services to the recipient through the lending library.
We love donations for our library, and will accept donations with a lower value, and even straight donations, and can provide a tax receipt for those donations. In that case no membership would be offered.
To take advantage of this neat trade in event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of the leaders on the Facebook group.
WAIT… DIDN’T YOU SAY THERE WAS A CARRIER GIVEAWAY TOO?
We will be doing a few giveaways after the March incentive is over! All new or current BWI members as of March 31, 2014 will be eligible to enter two separate drawings. The first drawing is for a gently used Catbird Mei Tai from the library. The winner will have their choice from two patterns of the Catbird Baby Mei Tai from the lending library. The second drawing is for a custom, hand dyed bag that was made by Color Dip Studios for our group. The bag is the perfect size to fit a few coloring books or magazines for your child!
If we reach 25 memberships during the March incentive, we will also do a giveaway for a gently used Catbird Baby Pikkolo buckle carrier from the lending library. The winner will have their choice between two patterns of the Catbird Baby Pikkolo from our library stash.
Both of these Catbird Baby products are in great shape, but are the older version of the carrier. We are trying to replace these with newer versions for the lending libraries! Both of these carriers were donated by Catbird Baby over the past few years! We love them, and hope you will too!