Monthly Archives: September 2016

Convention 2016 Wrap-Up and Passing the Pen with the Gavel

Well, this post is coming very close on the heels of the last, but yesterday really deserves a post all its own.  We had such an amazing day and evening, culminating with awards and the passing of the gavel to Marybeth Baucco, your new NCCS president, who will be introducing herself to you via this blog in the weeks to come!

The day started with a really interactive session on how to recruit, retain and reward members, led by outgoing NCCS board member Cheryle Mackie from the Stuart Chapter and Melanie Mbuyi, who will continue on the new board.  The session started such great conversations that we could barely get the ladies out of the room so it could be set up for the business meeting.

Our Newest Chapter, The Ladies of the Denver Christ Child Society

Our Newest Chapter, The Ladies of the Denver Christ Child Society

At the business meeting, probably the most exciting thing was the official chartering of our Denver Chapter!  Here’s a picture of the Denver ladies from just two weeks ago at their first ever–and very successful–fundraiser.  They are off and running!

Our luncheon speaker was Susanne Greenwood, principal of St. Peter Claver School, where the Atlanta Chapter operates a reading program and a garden.  A member of the Atlanta Chapter herself as well as a

Susanne Greenwood speaking at lunch about challenging poverty in the Atlanta inner city

Susanne Greenwood speaking at lunch about challenging poverty in the Atlanta inner city

professional educator, she spoke eloquently on how important the Christ Child interventions are at the school and broke our hearts a little with a story about how children routinely inquire of her, “Is my CCS partner coming today?”

Then we boarded buses and actually got a chance to see first hand some of the fabulous work of the Atlanta Chapter, who won the Red Wagon Award four years ago for its multisensory garden program.  We visited Elizabeth’s Garden at the Elaine Clark Center, about which we’d heard a bunch on Friday, and got to see the multisensory garden and how it benefits children who are developmentally challenged.  But, as the Center is in midst of construction, we were greeted with great hospitality by the Atlanta Chapter with themed hardhats and cool drinks, which were much appreciated!

 

Southern Hospitality at its best, courtesy of the Atlanta Chapter

Southern Hospitality at its best, courtesy of the Atlanta Chapter

 

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Mugging for the camera in our hard hats at Elizabeth’s Garden 

Layettes laid by attending chapters at the foot of the Christ Child at Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King

Layettes laid by attending chapters at the foot of the Christ Child at Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King

After visiting the garden, we piled back on the buses and went to Mass at the beautiful Cathedral of Christ the King, with Archbishop Wilton Gregory presiding.  The Archbishop really called out Christ Child’s work for children in Atlanta and across the country–and gave an amazing sermon on our need to continue to work to be ready to serve our neighbor.  As is traditional each chapter processed up the front isle of the church during the Offertory, placing their layettes at the foot of a stunning (and reminiscent) statue of the Christ Child.  Then, after Mass, the Cleveland Chapter’s Spiritual Director Fr. Ralph Wiatrowski installed Marybeth Baucco, of the Cleveland Chapter, and the entire 2016-18 NCCS Board

The new 2016-18 NCCS Board and Fr. Ralph

The new 2016-18 NCCS Board, with NCCS President Marybeth Baucco to the left of Fr. Ralph

 

After Mass, we experienced more Southern hospitality, thanks to Kathy Thompson of the Atlanta Chapter who hosted ALL OF US at her stunning home in Buckhead.

Walking up to Kathy Thompson's house at Sunset for a lovely cocktail party

Walking up to Kathy Thompson’s house at Sunset for a lovely cocktail party

Her beautiful home and the lovely food and wine made for certainly the most elegant cocktail I’ve had on Christ Child time.  Thanks so much Kathy!

And then back on the buses again where we celebrated our Red Wagon Award winner Baltimore, for their amazing literacy program, and the 25th anniversaries for Toledo and Boca Raton and 100th anniversary of the Cleveland Chapter–as well as the Boca Raton‘s Membership Growth Award, for growing 70% since the last Convention.

The Red Wagon Award goes to Baltimore this year!

The Red Wagon Award goes to Baltimore this year!

And then I highlighted our staff’s and board’s contributions, especially Cheryle Mackie, Deb Low, Paula Conrad and Maureen Wesley, who are moving off the board this year.  Then I passed the “gavel”  (really some roses)  with joy and excitement to Marybeth, who will be an amazing president AND blogger.  I’ll leave it to Marybeth to tell you a little bit about herself and her new board.  I am signing off as President from this blog with deepest gratitude for your following our important work through this medium.  Stay tuned for really exciting and impactful next chapters!

In the name of the Christ Child,

Anne Kelley, Immediate Past President

2016 NCCS Convention Days 1 and 2

Convention went so fast it was hard to collect the pictures and info between sessions, so I have divided my update into two posts!  Here’s what I wrote Saturday morning–and am sending now:

What whirlwind we’re in the midst of with half of Convention in the rearview mirror.  Here are just a few notes from Days 1 and 2:

NCCS Board Member Mary Jo Dawson presenting to the Gavel Club

NCCS Board Member Mary Jo Dawson presenting to the Gavel Club

gavel-club

Linda Toth, Carolyn Mergel, Marlene Genovese, Mary Graves, Maureen Wesley, Roseann Anderson — and me!

 

 

 

 

 

First the Board met with the Gavel Club members attending Convention to brief them on the business of the society, as they are the Society’s most experienced and trusted advisors.  I was SO excited to get in my first picture with them, even with 2 days left of being President.

Then the educational seminars on Cultural Competency and Fundraising here held, followed by a welcome cocktail hour and dinner.

Votives ready for commitment ceremony

Votives ready for commitment ceremony

We capped off the evening with a Commitment Ceremony written by Monsignor Ronny Jenkins, NCCS spiritual advisor and former USCCB Secretary General.  Each participant in Convention took a lighted votive with the NCCS logo and joined together in prayer, as beautifully prepared by Monsignor Jenkins. What a great start!

 

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Julie Francavilla at Keynote on “Sharing Our Impact”

 

Then Communications Day” sailed past, with a great keynote on Sharing Our Impact by July Francavilla, with contributions from various NCCS Board and chapter presenters.  Julie charged us to “Be Bold” in sharing Christ Child’s impact–and really showed us how !  After the keynote, we heard about the impact the Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. chapters are making with their hands-on programs.

In the afternoon, during a presentation on our first ever National Day of volunteering, we heard a great video presentation on how to do loom knitting by Texas Capital Board Member Beth Watkins, as set up by her mother and Texas Capital President Elect Joan Watkins.  And everyone in the room was trying it out, even Fr. Ralph!  Check it out:

 

Looming Tutorial by Beth and Joan Watkins

Looming Tutorial by Beth and Joan Watkins

Dry Run of National Day! Looming Baby Caps Across the Nation in One Room!

Dry Run of National Day! Looming Baby Caps Across the Nation in One Room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Ralph, Cleveland's Spiritual Director, joins in the fun

Fr. Ralph, Cleveland’s Spiritual Director, joins in the fun

Ellen Ross of Boca Raton displays loomed hat she made at Convention

Ellen Ross of Boca Raton displays loomed hat she made at Convention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last session of the day was a workshop in which we worked on messaging using the Brand Values Matrix, and then started posting real-time from our smartphones onto the new National Christ Child Society Facebook Account.  If you really want to know what went on at Convention, get engaged on Facebook with the National Christ Child Society page!

Half a Year in Half a Page

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St. Teresa of Calcutta’s Canonization Day in Lumieres, France, September 4, 2016

Blogging fool I have not been of late, but fool for Christ Child I remain.  In my last few days as NCCS President I would like to reflect here on my travels since spring, my spiritual inspiration coming from vacation, and set the stage for some every day posts with updates from the NCCS Convention, to begin in Atlanta this Thursday.

First, every trip to a chapter is worth “chapter and verse”, but here I’ll just lightly touch on the magic!

Boca Raton:  A nice welcome to Florida and dinner with leadership–and Agnes Gregory encouraging us to connect with Make a Difference Day for our first ever National Day!  We met at a restaurant and I was tired from my flight from the west coast, but was rejuvenated in their company!  Maybe it was the great idea!

Anne Kroha with Maureen Wesley and Me at Northern Michigan Bash

Anne Kroha with Maureen Wesley and Me at Northern Michigan Bash

Palm Beach:  Late night arrival at Anne and John Kroha’s, where I learned about John’s mother’s amazing role in Christ Child in Detroit and heard Anne’s experience as the unsuspecting wife of “son of Christ Child”.  She went on to be NCCS president and remains a force in the Palm Beach chapter with whom I had the pleasure of meeting over a cup of coffee, meeting the team that had gone forward with one of the first newly branded brochures in preparation for an upcoming membership drive.

Naples Co-Presidents and NCCS Board Members

Naples Co-Presidents and NCCS Board Members

Naples:  I drove as quickly as I could to Naples (across the entire width of Florida sort of the wrong way, which is rather far), where I met with new friends from the Naples Chapter and with Mary Jo Dawson, NCCS Board member and member of the Detroit chapter.  I gave a little presentation at their meeting and learned about their very significant abilities to communicate, raise funds and engage their volunteers in literacy programs.  Then was treated to a lovely dinner and even though I was only there briefly got a sense of the immense charms of the locale–and CCSers.

After Speech to El Paso Chapter with Unnecessary Darling Spring Gift Bag

After Speech to El Paso Chapter with Unnecessary Darling Spring Gift Bag

 

El Paso:  Phenomenal luncheon and spirit, where I was lucky to present.  A chapter that knows how to make things happen in a very special community on the border with Mexico.  Best memory:  Molly Reed, then president, driving me out to see the famous poppies on the hillside that hadn’t made themselves known (in direct contravention of reports she’d heard).  We should have just gone and had a margarita she said–and I didn’t say I agreed, but I kind of did since margaritas were apparently invented in El Paso.  I’m just sayin’ . . . .

Northern Michigan:  Nothing like Harbor Springs in the summer, and these gals know how to raise money!  A lovely opportunity to attend this “summer chapter”

With Maureen Wesley and Northern Michigan Chapter Leaders at Christ Child House

With Maureen Wesley and Northern Michigan Chapter Leaders at Christ Child House

 

 

fundraiser and see everyone just loving being “on vacation” and supporting the local community because of the great work and great event the Northern Michigan Chapter puts on.  Got a tour of their very special Christ Child House and a sense of how they interact there.  Great ladies and great fun.

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Poster Welcoming Guest’s to New Denver Chapter’s First–and Very Successful–Fundraiser

Denver:  This new chapter is now officially on fire.  What a privilege to watch the (gorgeous) mansion burn down.  Not literally but with great attendance, great response to fundraising, and superb dancing and cocktails (the “Christ Child Cosmo”, if you can believe it!).  Lovely to see 10 women multiply their forces and finances in a single night, after LOTS of hard work. . . And they raised $11K or more, lean and mean.  Loved the beer and wine cake walk–kind of hard to explain but fun . . . .

Monterey Bay:  OK, I’m going from President of NCCS to soon serving as President of a brand new chapter.  We are in formation, planning our Make a Difference Day coming out party, honing the bylaws and navigating our non-profit status.  We have children to serve and a fantastic group of founding members.  This summer we’ve done some real work to explore how we “find a need and fill it”.  If I said we were “stoked” would you think we were stoned and not get that we’re 50-somethings from Northern California where stoked just means “excited” ? 🙂

Our Newest Chapter, The Ladies of the Denver Christ Child Society

Our Newest Chapter, The Ladies of the Denver Christ Child Society

Not a chapter, but my happy place, Goult, Provence, in the Petit Luberon:  A week to take stock and rest up for the Convention and next chapter.  Very hot! But Mass two Sundays in a row at a very famous shrine where the apparition was actually of the Christ Child.

Crypt Sited Where Apparition of the Christ Child Occurred and Current Site of Church of Notre Dame de Lumieres

Crypt Sited Where Apparition of the Christ Child Occurred and Current Site of Church of Notre Dame de Lumieres

I got to attend the annual Celebration of the patroness, the Mother of the Christ Child, but also a celebration of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s canonization–even better in a foreign language.  Truly great to be part of the global Church, and getting ready for National Christ Child!

I’m back from all the travels, and here in Atlanta, getting ready for our Convention.   In coming days, you, the faithful–and patient–will be hearing a daily report from Convention, because if you are not here, you’re missing out on a great educational and interpersonal opportunity.  And sometime around Sunday, I will be honored to transition this President’s Blog to our next President–and a great communicator, Mary Beth Baucco, of the Cleveland Chapter.