From Helene, President of the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild
It’s Monday morning of the week before our very first meeting of the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild.
I can’t believe we’re actually about to meet! It’s been a long wait from the 20th January when, after hesitating for oh so short a half-second, I clicked on the “send” button to shoot an email off to Alissa saying yes, I will start a branch of the Modern Quilt Guild here in my home town of Melbourne, Australia. I’d stumbled on the Modern Quilt Guild through Elizabeth Hartman’s website, Oh, Fransson! and casually asked Alissa if this was an international guild. At that time, it wasn’t, but Alissa suggested I could be the first, and like I said, it was a no-brainer, I said yes I’d love to, and just like that, the Guild went international, and the Melbourne group was born.
I set up our own Ning site, and immediately members started to join. As I write, we have 97 members, and the number keeps growing daily, which I find extraordinary since we haven’t even met yet! Why haven’t we? Well, I had shoulder surgery in February, and what with waiting till I could drive a car and get about, and even sew a stitch, and then dodging weekends already taken with major craft events here in Melbourne, we landed on the 22nd of May, and we’ve all been waiting with baited breath as the date draws near.
Virtually as soon as I’d started the Ning site, Adele Fitzpatrick joined. She’s become my new best friend, and together we’ve been working to create a spectacular first meeting. Our first job was to find a meeting venue, and although I’d found a fantastic newly-built, spacious, bright and sunny church hall around the corner from where I live, we decided that we weren’t prepared to go through the process of registering as a not-for-profit organization and paying for insurance so that we could supply the church with the Certificate of Currency they required. Not to mention the $200 we would have to pay for the use of the venue.
Luckily, Adele works for an organization that has an auditorium, and large meeting rooms, and a very generous employer who has offered us the use of the facilities virtually for free. Amazing!
OK, so now that we have the perfect venue all organized, I started to think about the kind of first meeting I wanted to have. One thing I wanted – I wanted to have the kind of meeting that people would go away from saying “WOW, that was AMAZING!” I want our members to have the best time, I want them to be really thrilled they came, and to experience being welcomed, honoured, appreciated, and “at home” in their new Guild.
Here’s what we’ve planned…
- Our first meeting will go from 10am till 5pm on Saturday
- As members arrive and sign in, they’ll receive a name label and a raffle ticket. Throughout the day, we’ll have draws for prizes from the generous donations of fabric and gift certificates Adele received from local businesses she’s canvassed for support.
- We’ll begin our day with Introductions and a Show & Tell session
- Next, we’ll open a discussion on “what do we all want this guild to be about”. We’ll have blank sheets of paper on the walls around the room, create headings for the various sheets, and then give everyone markers so they can go off and write their ideas and suggestions on the appropriate sheets.
- Then we’ll create our committee, and determine the frequency of meetings.
- We’ll close the morning part of our first day with planning our next meeting.
- Time for lunch.
- The whole afternoon will be dedicated to sewing, and getting to know one another.
And that pretty much wraps up our day. I’m so excited I can hardly wait. Some of our members are already organizing a swap for our first meeting, others are baking cakes. I’m working on a welcome gift for everyone, and I’m just so excited about this, I can hardly believe I’ve started something that’s grown this big in such a short time. Did I already say I can’t wait?