“Making a Difference” by attending the National Conference
We gathered together to learn and to share ideas with each other to strengthen our organization’s impact.
As the attendees all heard during the Recognition section of the Membership workshop on Saturday at our National Conference, you can never thank people enough. So, with that in mind, I want to again say “THANK YOU” to all the chapter leaders and members who attended Conference 2017!! To those chapters who could not attend, we missed you and I want to share with all of you the highlights of our weekend!
Our journey began with a “DC Excursion” led by NCCS Historian and Past National President, Patty Myler. Our first stop was the Washington, DC chapter’s Opportunity Shop where we were greeted by Kathleen Curtin, the DC chapter Executive Director, Marianna O’Brien Barlow, the chapter’s President and many other DC chapter members.
We delighted in browsing and shopping for over an hour, all of us finding “treasures” we just had to have!
Our next stop was Oak Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of Mary Virginia Merrick and many of her family members. Beautiful flowers adorned her gravesite where we held a prayer service in her honor.
Then it was on to her former home in Chevy Chase, MD. The home is currently owned by Bridget Overcash, a DC chapter member, who warmly welcomed us, giving us a tour of the home so we could see where MVM started her Christ Child work. Pictures of MVM were placed throughout the house in the exact locations where the original picture was taken. The entire trip was inspirational beyond words!
Our first seminar on Friday taught us how to effectively communicate and reach our target audiences using Facebook thanks to our presenter, Kate Fowler from the Catholic Apostolate Center. She assured us that we can all learn to use Facebook, a great vehicle for getting our story told and garnering support for our organization. If you were unable to attend conference and your chapter is currently not using social media, check out this website for a “crash course” http://www.socialmediacrashcourse.com, and of course, National’s website will also post all the conference materials!
Our second seminar on Friday, “Our Founder’s Legacy: Layettes of Love”, introduced us to our newly developed Calm Your Baby card as well as the Blanket Disclaimer card. National’s program committee produced two great resources for us to use in our layettes and NCCS will provide the Calm Your Baby cards to our chapters free of charge, asking only that you reimburse us for the shipping costs.
Friday night’s dinner was followed by a slideshow of our DC excursion and a beautiful commitment ceremony, where each attendee was given a lighted Christ Child votive, as we recommitted ourselves as members of the Christ Child Society.
Saturday’s Membership Workshop which allowed for much collaboration as we separated by size of our chapters and discussed ways to Recruit, Retain and Recognize our members, was followed by Dr. Lillian Baumann’s presentation, “The Literacy Mission: Improving Comprehension”.
Dr. Baumann is a member of our Boca Raton chapter, and she taught us that we need to go beyond just reading to the children we serve and help them to master reading comprehension to ensure we are making a difference and helping ensure these children don’t fall behind. Several chapter leaders shared information on their own literacy programs, which really showed us how many different ways chapters can develop literacy endeavors.
Carol Pickle and I presented a seminar on Make a Difference Day and shared with the group many different ideas for activities that chapters have planned for Saturday, October 28th! More information on how to use this day to heighten awareness of your chapter and as a recruitment tool can be found in the Make A Difference Day Handbook that you all should have! Susan Gibbs of Gibbs MediaWorks, has been invaluable in the development of the MDDAY Promotion Kit and also presented the seminar on “Power PR: Promotion Planning that Works” which helped us understand the steps we need to take to ensure PR success for our chapters.
During the NCCS reports that followed our seminars, the newly developed NCCS website was revealed and we will notify all of you when it is up and running live, which will be soon! And our newest chapter, Christ Child Society of Monterey Bay, received their certificate, meeting all the requirements to become a provisional Chapter!
Our journey concluded with a beautiful Mass at Hamilton House at the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, which was previously the home of MVM’s sister. Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, our Spiritual Advisor, gave a beautiful homily that touched many of us.
Every time I come to a conference or convention, I leave with new friends and a warm heart, knowing that what we are doing is so important and realizing that although we are 44 separate chapters, we are really all one, doing the work we are meant to do – Uniting to Make a Difference. I hope all of you left feeling the same way. (Watch Thank You Video here)
President, National Christ Child Society