GIRLS CLUB 2017:
Our Triumphs & Highlights
Dearest GIRLS CLUB Members,
I'm so honoured to write this letter, recapping our first year together, and setting the stage for what is to come.
It seems surreal to me that this time last year, GIRLS CLUB didn’t exist at all. It was a just niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something for my Charlotte and girls like her. But what? But…. What?
I was reading the book What Every Autistic Daughter Wishes Her Parents Knew, and many of the chapters echoed the same central ideas:
- We are awesome just as we are
- We need a place we can be ourselves
- We need each other – we need to see other girls just like us to know that we have a community, and share a sense of one-ness, same-ness, and belonging
GIRLS CLUB grew from these ideas, and the strong desire that I must do everything possible to strengthen and cement my daughter’s sense of self, her self esteem, and self-worth. That is at the core of what GIRLS CLUB is all about.
Our year, in review:
- We kicked off GIRLS CLUB with a well-attended and surprisingly rowdy pizza / karaoke party in April. It was beyond my wildest imagination!
I said to my friend, fellow GIRLS CLUB mom, and one of the pioneers who helped get GIRLS CLUB launched (Abbe Gates): We’ll be successful if we have 12 girls attend. We had over 90 people at our first event. No turning back now!
In the Lower Mainland, we followed the pizza/karaoke party with:
April – picnic at Queen Eliz Park | May – yoga night | May – Playland field trip | June – cookie decorating party | June – Maplewood Farm field trip | July – Canada Day picnic | Aug – pool party field trip | Sept – friendship bracelet craft night | Sept – rock climbing field trip | Oct – pajama / movie “sleep over” | Oct – pumpkin patch field trip | Nov – Mayday choir & books night | Nov – Santa / Christmas party | Dec – parents’ connect night
And, in the Okanagan, we got together for:
Aug – launch party | Sept – potluck picnic | Oct – Halloween party | Nov – cookie decorating party | Dec – holiday party
Along the way, we also:
- Got our website up and running: www.inGIRLSCLUB.com
- Recorded a podcast: http://autism30.com/ingirlsclub.html
- Created our private Facebook group:
- Launched an Okanagan Chapter, led by the amazing Bree Cawley
- Raised almost $12,000 in private and public donations:
- $2,725.00 from GC parents, families, friends, & friends-of-the-families
- $9,000.00 in a grant from TELUS
- Ended the year with 147 GIRLS CLUB members, ages 19 mo to 31 yrs
And, in a most spectacular year – hands down – the absolute highlight was getting to know your GIRLS, you, and your families.
And, next year, we grow -- we are not slowing down in 2018!
- Bree and I have a leadership meeting in the early new year to strategize our growth plans and goals for GIRLS CLUB, and how best to stretch those TELUS funds
- We’ll be sending out a membership survey to assess what we can be doing better to connect, support, and provide fun-filled opportunities for our GIRLS
- We’ve been working on a GIRLS CLUB logo to be released in the new year. The initial illustrations were so delightful, I squealed! We cannot wait to unveil it publicly
- We’ll be connecting over princess tea parties, a Talent Showcase, a birthday party to celebrate GIRLS CLUB’s first birthday, and many more events.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, something else, or not at all – I wish you the very best and brightest as we close 2017.
I know that the best part of 2018 will echo the best parts of 2017 – connecting with you and your GIRLS. Thank you, humbly, for such an incredible, life-changing year. It’s been a privilege getting to know you all.
I wish you good health, happiness, and prosperity for 2018,