"The Water Project"
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When Elise Bowen moved to Wagga from the Sunshine Coast in 2016, she joined the local Inner Wheel branch in an effort to meet new people. Ms Bowen immediately noticed one problem; there was a real shortage of young women joining service clubs.
List of businesses: -High schools, college -Real estate agent -Banks -Pharmacies -Accountants -Medical centres -Agribusinesses
Elise also displayed the flyer in places such as the Red Cross blood donor centre, council notice board and gyms. Members of Inner Wheel Wagga Wagga (their parent club) also distributed to nieces, daughters, neighbours etc.
Each month she would update the meeting details for further distribution. The most effective method of attracting women to come along to a meeting was when someone from Inner Wheel met them in person. Elise had several members (and their husbands) actively recruiting their own doctors, podiatrists etc during their appointments!
They met once a month from around June until their inaugural meeting in September. Then they set a constant meeting time and location being 6:30pm on the third Thursday at the Commercial Club. They had previously tried a few different days of the week but no matter what day it was, it was hard to have everyone available.
They have really stripped back their meetings, with very little formalities/traditions. They are also still learning (with a lot of guidance from Robyn Gillespie, IWA National Treasurer from the Wagga Wagga club who has been with them every step of the way, and attends all meetings) how to run the meetings, take minutes etc. They decided on a 6:30pm start so women can come straight from work, and usually they wrap up around 8pm and those who are able can stay for a meal. Out meetings are in a boardroom, and they move through to the bistro for dinner.
Now they are chartered, they are filling in further committee positions. At inaugural meeting they elected President (Elise Bowen), Secretary and Treasurer, and they are looking forward to being able to delegate some of workload to new committee members. They will also discuss if there are any specific Inner Wheel traditions they would like to include in the meetings, such as lighting a flame of friendship, or reading the Collect.
Since the Daily Advertiser ran a story about their Charter online, on the afternoon of the event (5 May), they have received five enquiries from women keen for further information and interested in joining the Club! On their last monthly meeting two of these ladies came along. They are also focussing on developing and using regularly a Facebook page, which is an important tool in getting the word out to the community about their existence. Elise also met recently the President of the local Rotaract club, and they will aim in the future to network with them.
One of their ideas going forwards is to link up with the Multicultural Society, as Wagga has a large migrant population, and this would be a great way to give newly arrived women a social circle where they can meet new friends, feel a part of the community etc.
The hardest part is definitely getting the flyer in front of the right person, but now they've got a little group it's getting easier and easier to attract others, though their networks, workplaces and also the great coverage in the media.