In this video from YourTV Niagara, Mike Balsom of the The Source, offers highlights of the gardens featured on our Virtual Garden Tour and an interview with Committee Co-Chair, Barb Legg.
I have been a member of CFUW for about 10 years. Right from the start, I knew that one of the unwritten expectations for members was participation in our one and only charitable fundraising project, the annual House Tour, which is the only source of funds for our scholarships for girls. The only job I figured I could do as a newbie was that of hostess, and so that’s all I did in those early years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The other jobs seemed to be big ones that needed to be done by more experienced members.
Last year, House Tour Chair, Susan Middleton, and her committee worked tirelessly to create a new structure that redefined and documented many of the HT duties so that less experienced volunteers could work together to do the big jobs of finding the houses, organizing hostesses, advertising the House Tour, finding sponsors, writing and printing the tickets, and selling the tickets.
I again want to thank Susan and her committee for all their hard work in making the 2019 HT such a success, and for Susan’s continued commitment to the 2020 House Tour.
The big news since the general meeting is that we now have six homes for our tour. There are still a few key committee positions to fill (Please see page 4 of the December Newsletter for details). Susan has decided to step down as Chair of the House Tour, but thankfully, Maureen Shantz and Judy Yovanovich have volunteered to be Co-Chairs of the 2020 House Tour, and Susan Middleton has graciously agreed to be an advisor as needed. You three have made me and your CFUW sisters very happy.
The issues are that it seems to be getting harder and harder to find homeowners who are willing to put their houses on our Tour, and to find volunteers to do the rest of the organizing. It has been suggested that we should be thinking about other ways to raise the approximately $15,000 for our 13 high school Math and Science Awards, six College and University scholarships, and disbursements to many deserving community organizations. They are listed in our Program Brochure and on our website.
At a recent HT meeting it was decided to ask the membership at the November General Meeting to brainstorm on how to get this major fundraising project back on track. How to fundraise in the future was left for another time. The resulting animated conversations created much positive energy in the room, and many good ideas. I now have six(!) typewritten pages of comments to turn over to the new House Tour Steering Committee, but here are the topics and a “smattering” of the suggestions:
HOW TO RECRUIT MEMBERS TO VOLUNTEER FOR HOUSE TOUR POSITIONS:
- Emphasize that it is a way to meet members and make you feel more involved in the club
- Clearly describe what the jobs entail and an estimate of the time commitment, and personally ask members to help
- Ask “Old Guard” to act as mentors for new or inexperienced members
- Be sure that new members understand that there is an expectation that everyone help out in some way and contribute some time and talent, not just money.
HOW TO RECRUIT HOSTESSES:
- Target groups such as bridge and gourmet so they can volunteer to be together
- Ask family and friends of members
- Contact high school and Brock University students who would like to have volunteer hours on their records
HOW TO PROMOTE THE HOUSE TOUR INTERNALLY:
- Make “teaser” presentations about HT at each Meeting
- Encourage roles in pairs to facilitate learning
- Develop a skills and interest inventory database of current and new members
HOW TO PROMOTE THE HOUSE TOUR EXTERNALLY:
- Put posters in furniture stores, library, doctor’s offices, ticket outlets
- Use Tim Horton’s instore TV with crawl advertising
- Post on Facebook, interest and events sections
- Contact Newcomer’s Clubs, teacher’s organizations, ND Council of Women
- Ask other organizations (Rotary, Legion, Lions, WRTC, etc.) to post and mention this event at their meetings
- Include in community brochures
- Put in newspaper articles, radio interviews
- Put flyers in neighbours’ mailboxes
HOW TO FIND AND SECURE HOMES FOR THE TOUR:
- Ask real estate agents, Architecture Association for award-winning Homes and contractors about new and renovated homes
- Word of mouth
- Newspaper article in September looking for homes to be on our Tour
- Contact builders of Model Homes and Condos
Thanks to those who participated in the discussions.
This month’s featured scholarship recipient is Vanessa Smith, a graduate of the NCDSB Lifetime Learning Centre. As with other recipients, Vanessa wants to give back to the community by tackling mental health issues. To learn more about Vanessa & to view the Newsletter in full, CLICK HERE . . .
Thanks go to the Social Action Committee (SAC) for the impressive amounts of funds raised to support sponsorship of a Syrian Refugee family. As we move closer to the possibility of sponsoring a family, Club members need to consider longer term obligations this project would bring. We have some important decisions to make based upon consideration of all of the project information to be presented by the Social Action Committee at the January meeting. Here are samples of members’ questions we wish to have answers for:
- What is the Liability for the Club? e.g. Who will sign the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) agreement, and who will be responsible for the financial and moral obligations referenced in the MCC and government agreements?
- Do individual Club members not directly involved in the project have any liability?
- After the current fundraising is complete, what additional funds might be needed by the Constituent Group later on to cover unexpected costs?
- Please describe the sponsorship settlement financial and time commitment responsibilities for the group (e.g. housing, budgeting, language instruction, health care, insurance, security checks, employment assistance, etc.) Which individuals will be responsible for and participate in these and how will they be provided?
I encourage your participation in the information-gathering and decision-making processes to ensure the project is a good experience for the family and our Club.
Please send questions that you would like discussed to me by January 4 so that I can pass the questions on to Denise Bradden and the SAC to prepare to address these at the January 12 meeting. The questions I receive will be forwarded by email to all Club members on January 6 so that you have time to reflect on what the discussion will cover at the January 12 meeting. Following the discussion there will be a vote by the membership to seek the Club’s support and endorsement of the Syrian Refugee Sponsorship project.
Best Wishes for a Healthy Happy New Year!
Marilyn Wallace, CFUW St. Catharines President 2015-16