Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On Continuing Education - a note from Tiffany

Why we need YOUR help.

Being a babywearing educator is a tough gig. Dealing with all of the daily issues with moderating the group, keeping up with all the behind the scenes paperwork, insurance, legal issues... THEN blogging, teaching classes, keeping up on research, and training volunteers. It can be a bit overwhelming. And this is a volunteer position. But, we instructors do it, because we love it. Education and outreach are where our hearts are and we feel drawn to give back to the community. So we put in our hours - day after day, week after week - and smile while doing it. But to be the “best” we can be - for US, as educators, and for YOU, as leaders - we have to be current on research, familiar with all the new carriers, up on the latest carries, and knowledgeable on all the legal and regulatory aspects that effect our field. One, very important way, to do that is to go to conferences.

Thankfully, the babywearing world is has exploded in the past 2-3 years. When I started, 10 years ago, there were maybe 4 carriers on the market and no online support, let alone local groups. Because of this explosion, research is coming in faster than you can imagine. Things we thought were perfectly safe a year ago, even 6 months ago in some cases, are no longer recommended. Things we did 10 years ago are down right dangerous now. 

I went to the International Babywearing Conference in Tempe, Arizona 2 years ago. It is the largest bi-annual meeting of educators, vendors and enthusiasts in the Country. I attended the 2nd one to be held. At that 3 day conference I got to talk to the makers of Ergo, Boba, Bjorn, and more. I got to figure out what was on their radar and WHY they recommended the things they did. I learned about the current regulations for the makers and those that were going into effect the following year. Regulations that changed the landscape of babywearing more than we had ever seen before. I came away extremely more confident, and competent, in bringing information to YOU as an educator. And that is my goal - “our” goal. This time, all 4 of us have decided to attend the conference to make this group the very best we can. It is a lofty goal, for us all to go, but one we have dedicated to making come to life. 
Right now, plane tickets are roughly 420$ roundtrip. A 4 night hotel room is $760. Registration fees for the conference were 200$ a piece. That is roughly $1,000 a person, with splitting hotel costs. That is 4,000$ total, JUST for the minimum basics of attending this conference. Not counting cab to the hotel, food while we are there, carriers available at a discount to educators, or anything else needed to go on a 4 day trip. That is money that we would pay out of our own pockets (and I did, 2 years ago), if not for fundraising from this group.

We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing group of volunteers, retailers, and others who very generously donated over 2,500$ of prizes for our Raffle. Those are prizes that you guys get to win. Photography packages hundreds of dollars, gift certificates galore, jewelry, 3 carriers! Incredible stuff, really. 

So when you buy a raffle ticket, in hopes of winning one of those amazing prizes, that money is also going to a bigger cause - the education and advancement of the group as a whole. Right now, our group is at 6,060 members. If each of you gave just 1 dollar, we would not have to worry about paying anything out of our pockets, and we would have extra to bring back amazing carriers for the library. 
I am blown away by this “community.” Just last week we banded together to get a carrier to a mama in need, within hours. We have had carriers missing, stolen, blown away in tornados, and you guys ALWAYS step up and band together to help those in need. We are more than a “group” we are a “community” and that is an incredibly precious thing. A lot of us have met our best friends because of this group. I know this community understands how big of an opportunity this conference is for us, and I have complete faith in my community to rise to the challenge. I have complete faith in us. 
Thank each of every one of you for your donations (of time, money, prizes and more), your buying raffle tickets, your shares of posts on your pages and your likes of our public posts. All of this brings us one step closer to our goal - and builds this community stronger than I ever thought possible. For that I am very thankful and proud. 

~Tiffany

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