Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prizes, Prizes, Prizes

We'll be publishing the list of prizes available for our International Babywearing Week raffle over the next few weeks!  Please forgive my terrible photography skills.  Here are the first ten:

1) A huge lot (12+ lbs.) of scrapbooking supplies including die cutters, stamps, ink, pads, markers, paper, and more, courtesy of Stampin' Up!

2) A ring sling made from an African Kikoy, courtesy of Tara Wambugu

3) A hand-dyed length of cotton fabric, suitable as a scarf, play silk, or even a doll wrap, courtesy of Cathy Dean

4) a hand-dyed length of linen fabric, 3.2 meters long, courtesy of Cathy Dean

5) A Package of three children's books from Barefoot Books: Zoe and her Zebra, Cleo's Counting Book, The Gigantic Turnip, courtesy of Jennifer Gates Grey (we'll be doing a Barefoot Books fundraiser later this year so don't miss out on a chance to see these great books in person!)

6) Dinner and a Movie Package #1 and #2 (we have two of these to give away): $10 gift card to Jason's Deli and 2 tickets to the Byrd Theater, courtesy of Jason's Deli and the Byrd Theater

7) Dinner and a Movie Package #3: $20 gift card to Sticks Kebab Shop and 2 tickets to the Byrd Theater, courtesy of Sticks Kebab Shop and the Byrd Theater

8) A Rockin' Baby Hero Ring Sling, orange (just like our lending library carrier!), courtesy of Rockin' Baby Ring Slings

9) Gift Certificate for a one month membership to Romp 'n' Roll, courtesy of Romp 'n' Roll

10) A set of 4 reusable holiday gift bags and 2 reusable BPA free snack bags, courtesy of Cathy Dean

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Save the Date: International Babywearing Celebration and Membership Appreciation Picnic, October 11, 2014

International Babywearing Week is coming up soon!

We've got lots of fun events planned in our Facebook group but our big celebration will be a picnic and playdate event at Crump Park in Henrico County, on Saturday October 11, 2014 from 11am-1pm.

Come early, come late, come whenever your littles allow.  Big kids, spouses, and friends are welcome!  We have reserved picnic structure number 2 which is near the playground.  We will have some food courtesy of our fantastic sponsors but please feel free to bring a dish or snack to share (with ingredients clearly labeled since we have many food allergy families) or just your own picnic lunch to enjoy.

The highlight of our event will be the membership appreciation raffle!  We already have more than 30 great prizes donated by our members, friends of the group, and local businesses and there are more on the way.  Watch out for more information on the great prizes you can win over the next few weeks!

So, how do you get raffle tickets?  Lots of ways!

Members (all members, regardless of when you joined or renewed as long as your membership is current) get 30 tickets just for being members.

Everyone who comes to the party in person, adults, including spouses, also gets 5 tickets for coming to the party!  So members, if you attend the party in person you will get 35 tickets for free!

You can earn extra tickets by referring a friend who buys a membership (5 tickets), buying a gift membership (5 tickets, plus if your friend redeems it they get 30 tickets too!  Bring them to the party!), ordering a BWI of CVA t-shirt (5 tickets), or donating a carrier (or funds to purchase a carrier) to our carrier drive benefitting the Mama Bear Shop (5 tickets).

You can also obtain extra raffle tickets by making a donation to BWI of Central Virginia (1 ticket per $1 donation, or 30 tickets per carrier donated to the lending library).

You don't need to be present to win (although prizes do need to be picked up at a meeting or from a leader) but we hope you will join us!

We look forward to celebrating International Babywearing Week with our friends and family.  Thank you to all of our members and participants for all of your support over the past year!

What to Expect at a Babywearing of Central Virginia Meeting

We're so glad to hear that you are interested in attending a BWI of Central VA meeting.  We love to have new attendees.  Here is a little bit about what you can expect at our meetings:

All of our meetings are FREE and open to the public.  Parents and caregivers of all types are welcome (including fathers, grandparents, doulas, babysitters/nannies, siblings, and parents-to-be) and children of all ages are welcome too.  There are usually plenty of toddlers and preschoolers around to play with. You are free to come late or leave early if your little one or schedule requires it.

When you arrive you will be greeted by a volunteer and asked to sign our liability waiver and attendance form on a tablet or phone.  Typically we have a few minutes for socializing, setting up, and then we will all introduce ourselves and go over any announcements.  A Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE) will then ask the attendees to introduce yourselves, your child(ren)/child you will be wearing (or when you are due), and what you are there to learn today or if you're just there to socialize.  Please bring any carriers that you have questions about to the meeting so that we can help you troubleshoot.  If we have a large group or lots of brand new babywearers we usually do a short babywearing 101 presentation, otherwise we can provide the same information one-on-one with any new wearers.

After introductions, we break into small groups of people with similar questions or you may receive one-on-one assistance from a VBE.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask one of us for help!  We are often at meetings with kids in tow and getting pulled in many different directions but we want to make sure that everyone has their questions answered so please speak up!

While at the meeting you will be able to examine and try on a variety of different carriers.  Our lending library has more than 175 baby carriers of all different styles and varieties and normally we have several dozen at any given meeting.  We have a wide variety of carriers including soft structured carriers, ring slings, mei tais, woven wraps, and stretchy wraps including options appropriate for newborns, babies, and toddlers.  Anyone can try on carriers at a meeting with VBE assistance for free!

At busy meetings VBEs wear bright orange headbands and our Meeting Support Volunteers, who can answer questions about membership and library checkouts, wear white headbands.

We try to make meetings a comfortable environment for all parents.  Feeding babies (breast or bottle) is welcomed and encouraged.  We try to have changing facilities available whenever possible, but please plan on bringing dirty diapers home with you.  Please be aware that our food policy states that no food is allowed in the meeting areas. A spill-proof container for water is okay. We ask that all snacks are consumed outside the meeting areas.

Please use your best judgement in assessing the health of you and your family members. The community we service is full of young children and pregnant women, and our aim is to protect them from illnesses. BWI of Central VA reserves the right to ask those who are visibly ill to leave a meeting at any time for the protection of other attendees.

If you join BWI of CVA (membership is $30/year) you may borrow one carrier per month from our library to use at home.  We have membership information available at every meeting and can take cash, credit/debit cards, or checks!  Membership is a great way to support our volunteer efforts in the community.

We look forward to seeing you at a meeting soon!

Revised 3/1/16

Thursday, August 21, 2014

...and also for a Carrier Drive!

Babywearing International of Central Virginia is excited to announce that we will be coordinating a baby carrier drive in conjunction with the Mama Bear Shop, an outreach program offered by the High Risk Clinic and CenteringPregnancy at VCU Medical Center. For each prenatal appointment they come to, high risk mamas-to-be in need can get a ticket good for one bag of free donated maternity and baby items.

Between August 23rd and October 11th, 2014 we will be collecting gently used baby carriers to give to the Mama Bear Shop. This is a great opportunity to donate your old stretchy wrap, pouch sling, ring sling, Ergo, or front pack carrier to a new parent who can put it to good use! All carriers must be in good condition and commercially made (no DIY due to industry regulations). Carriers will be repackaged with instructions and we are working to bring BWI Educators to each CenteringPregnancy group as well for hands-on education on the benefits of babywearing and babywearing safety.

To donate, bring your carrier to any meeting between August 23 and our International Babywearing Week party on October 11th!

If you don't have an extra carrier to donate you can still help us out by making a donation to BWI of Central Virginia earmarked for this program. We accept donations of any amount but here are some suggestions:
$5 underwrites the purchase of a consignment sale pouch sling
$20 underwrites the purchase of a new Moby wrap
$35 underwrites the purchase of a new Infantino Mei Tai or Soft Structured Carrier.

Donations can be sent by paypal directly to centralva[at]babywearinginternational[dot]org with “mama bear shop carrier drive” in the notes or email and ask for an invoice that can be payed with credit or debit card. We can also accept cash, check, or cards at any meeting.

As an extra special “thank you” anyone who donates a carrier or a minimum $20 cash donation to this program will get 5 extra free tickets to our International Babywearing Week raffle! Stay tuned for more details on that in the coming weeks!

Drumroll Please...It's Time for the Membership Drive!

BWI of Central Virginia 2014 Membership Drive

Back by popular demand, it's the 2014 membership drive! Our June 2013 membership drive was a smash hit with all of you and allowed us to nearly double our membership in a single month. We had such a great time that we're doing it again, this time culminating in a huge party to celebrate International Babywearing Week (October 6-12, 2014).

Why do we need YOU to become a member?

Babywearing International is a non-profit organization. The educators who help out at meetings, answer questions on our facebook page, and write posts for this blog are all volunteers. Beyond occasional reimbursement for expenses, none of us receives a dime for the time, effort, and love we put into running this group. Babywearing is important to us, and if you're reading this post it is important to YOU too!

Your membership dollars help us to keep spreading the babywearing love here in the Richmond metro area. In the past year we have taken some big leaps: we added a third meeting location in Midlothian, we started a successful Babywearing 101 series through the Bon Secours Love and Learn program, and we embarking are on a partnership with the Centering Pregnancy Program and a carrier drive to benefit the Mama Bear shop. In addition we've built up and refined our lending library using membership dollars: some popular purchases from the last year include Kinderpacks, Tulas, Sleeping Baby Production ring slings (including 4 water slings!), Lillebaby Completes, lots of wraps, and more—all carriers that are hard to get donated in the numbers we need, but greatly enjoyed our members!

And your membership benefits the organization in other ways too—having a larger membership base makes BWI of Central Virginia look better to carrier companies when we approach them about donations, or when we talk to local companies about fundraisers, and BWI National is beginning to offer benefits that take into account the number of paid members we have too.

So, in other words, we really, really want you to become a member. But, I hear you wondering, “What's in it for ME?”

Well, lots, actually...

First off, of course, there is the lending library. Our library has nearly 90 carriers with a total retail value of over $7,000. Wow, that's quite a stash! Even if you can't make it to meetings every month to check out carriers, BWI membership is still a great value. Need a water sling for your beach trip? Save $$$ and borrow one from the library! Want to try a woven wrap (or try a new length?)? Save yourself the hassle of the swap and borrow one from the library! Want to have a carrier on hand for your new squish? We have lots of great newborn carriers as well as plenty of fantastic options that let you “try before you buy” with your new baby! If you borrow just one carrier over the course of the year vs. buying a new one your membership has more than paid for itself.

Next there is the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from supporting a non-profit that you love. Even if you never make it to a single meeting, your membership dollars help us grow and provide all of the services mentioned above.

And finally, we're going to make it worth your while. We are planning a huge membership raffle at our International Babywearing Week party. Members will get at least 30 tickets (worth $1 each, making your membership basically free), with the opportunity to earn more. If you're a member you can also tell us in advance how you want to allocate your tickets so that even if you can't be at the party, you can still win! The raffle is really going to be epic. We already have three carriers committed and a whole bunch of other great goodies (too many to list here, trust me, but we'll be putting up some sneak peeks over the next few weeks!).

To help achieve our goal of DOUBLING our membership between August 23 and the end of International Babywearing Week, we've set up some goals. For every five members who join we will either purchase a highly sought after carrier for the library OR give away a perk to members!

  • 5 Memberships: All members will receive a member goodie bag at the International Babywearing Week party with coupons and lots of fun freebies.
  • 10 Memberships: We will acquire a Didytai wrap conversion mei tai for our lending library.
  • 15 Memberships: We will have BWI of Central Virginia membership cards printed for all members.
  • 20 Memberships: We will acquire a Little Frog wrap conversion ring sling for our lending library.
  • 25 Memberships: All current members will receive wrap scrap key fobs.
  • 30 Memberships: We will acquire a “toddler-worthy” wrap from a company not represented in our library (members will vote on what to buy from the following list: Pavo, Ovolo, Cari Slings, Poe Wovens, Noonamoochie).
  • 35 Memberships: One randomly chosen member will receive a free BWI of Central VA t-shirt (or a tote bag if we meet this deadline after the t-shirt deadline has passed).
  • 40 Memberships: We will acquire a five pack of carriers from Babylonia (A BB Slen wrap, Bbtai Mei Tai, two wrap conversion ring slings, and a stretchy wrap).
  • 45 Memberships: Every member will receive an “Extra Rental” coupon in their member goodie bags good for an extra carrier rental for one month (subject to carrier availability).
  • 50 Memberships: We will acquire a high end carrier chosen by our members (members will vote on which the purchase from the following list: Preschool Kinderpack, Infant Kinderpack, Emeibaby, or a Tehkni wrap)!
Membership costs just $30 per year! To join, please follow this link: and either pay via paypal or email us at and we can send you an invoice payable with credit/debit. Or you may bring cash, check, or a card to any meeting to join in person! During the membership drive we also accept donation of lending library carriers in lieu of payment (subject to approval—no stretchy wraps, narrow seated carriers, pouch slings, padded rail slings, or anything already over-represented in the library).

So what if you're already a member? You can still help us achieve our goals!

Renew your membership! You can renew at any time and extend your membership by a year (so if you purchased a membership on January 1, 2014 and renewed it now, your membership would run through the end of December 2016). We can put your member dollars to work in the community right away, and you get another full year of benefits.

Refer a friend! For every friend that you refer, you will get an extra 5 tickets for our International Babywearing Week Raffle, so spread the word about how great it is to be a member (one set of extra referral tickets per new member).

Give a gift membership! Membership makes a great gift—consider buying a personalized gift certificate for a pregnant friend to be redeemed when they are ready to activate their benefits. You also get an extra 5 raffle tickets for buying a gift membership.

Consider making a tax deductible donation! We can accept donations in any amount via paypal or by cash or check at a meeting or we have a wish list of carriers that we could use for the lending library if you prefer to make an in-kind donation. Each donation of $30 or more (or a carrier for the library from our list) will “count” as one “membership” towards reaching our membership drive goals! (So if you join or renew and make an additional donation of $30 we will be TWO memberships closest to our next membership target!) Note: donations do not come with membership benefits but we will give you 1 raffle ticket for every $1 you donate or 30 raffle tickets if you donate a carrier we need for our library (subject to approval). If you want a second set of library benefits (two carriers at a time, two goodie bags, etc.) consider getting a membership for a spouse, partner, parent, or your child's caregiver!

Thanks to everyone who has already joined or renewed! We appreciate your support and are looking forward to a great year ahead!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Big Thank You to International Babywearing Conference Sponsors!

Group leader Cathy was fortunate enough to travel to Tempe, AZ to participate in the International Babywearing Conference last month.  While there she received several library carriers for our lending library courtesy donated by the generous IBW 2014 sponsors.  We received:

  • A Lillebaby Complete
  • An ErgoBaby Original (in a limited edition 10th anniversary print made exclusively for educators!)
  • A Zanytoes ring sling (with a cute sock monkey design!)
  • and a Beco Soleil with matching Infant Insert.  
Many many thanks to the wonderful sponsors who supported our chapter: Beco Baby CarriersErgoBabyZanytoes Boutique, and Lillebaby!

Cathy also got to test drive a bunch of carriers that we will hopefully be seeing in our lending library soon.  Here she is trying out a new tester for a toddler carrier from Beco as well as Cathy and Sara demoing two new Ergonomic carrier options from BabyBjorn.  And we got to see the prototypes for the new Lillebaby toddler carrier too!