11 January 2012

Joining the WI


For years I’ve been tempted to join the Women’s Institute, and I’ve spent several months being envious of a Friend in our Quaker Meeting that lives near a thriving WI meeting. It seemed a brilliant way to meet people with similar interests, but there didn’t seem to be one near me.

So when Nic (NicsNotebook) asked if I was interested in going to the inaugural meeting of a new WI in our area, I jumped at the chance! Started by Helen (Casa Costello) & Cara (The Freckles Family) it seemed perfect.

I didn’t have much time to RSVP, but decided to risk it and just turn up. There was a brilliant turnout - women of all ages who seemed really eager to get involved. The first meeting was mostly the technical aspects of getting a new WI off the ground. We had to vote for a president, we had to empower them to open a bank account, we had to choose a name for ourselves and we had to appoint a committee.

This is where I may have gone slightly mad. Ann our WI Advisor was telling us what the roles would entail and convincing us it would be a brilliant idea to volunteer. I was reluctant at first, I’ve been recently appointed as Co-Clerk of our local Quaker Meeting and I’m quite worried I’m already over committed. But this was an opportunity to make some real friends - not that I don’t love all my digital friends – but sometimes you just want to talk with someone face to face. I decided I could either hover around the edges of the group, being quiet and reserved – or I could throw myself out there and really get involved. As an ex-pat you often feel like an outsider looking in, and this seemed an opportunity to be there from the start and build something I really wanted to be a part of.

So when they asked for volunteers I hesitantly raised my hand. Luckily we had an amazing ten volunteers for the committee, so there should be plenty of people to share the work. After the meeting had finished the committee hung back to make some nominations. We had several positions to fill, and some hold significant responsibility. So I made a strategic decision and volunteered early, for Vice-President. Though it sounds important, I’ve been told vice-presidents only have to stand in if the President can’t attend – which sounds perfect! I’m quite happy to stand-up in front of people and make a fool of myself or pitch in when people need a hand. (I’m not so good at telephone calls and big projects.) Mr Goldfish was slightly exasperated when I told him of my new responsibilities, but he could see my logic.

So there you go, I attended my first WI meeting...and now I’m vice-president.
Surely it isn’t supposed to work like that.