17 Nov

Chapter Highlight: BWI of L.A. County

Meet BWI of Los Angeles County! L.A. County was founded by Volunteer Babywearing Educators Kat Chaffin and Summer Blunden. Kat, an avid wrapper, is a mom of two who found babywearing with her second child. Summer, also a mom of two, started out as a buckle lover, using soft structured carriers, but discovered wrapping with her second child.

Originally, Summer and Kat were part of separate babywearing groups. Kat founded the Santa Clarita Valley Babywearers in 2013, while Summer was coordinating for the Antelope Valley Babywearers. After a year of trying to find where they fit in the local babywearing community, the two of them joined forces and founded BWI of L.A. County, which affiliated this past September.

One of L.A. County’s focuses as a chapter is to bring babywearing resources to communities that may not know much about babywearing or who would not consider themselves crunchy. “In Los Angeles County, there’s already a robust ‘crunchy’ community, [where folks] enjoy wraps and slings of all kinds, high end carriers, geekery, and much more.  What we hope to provide, through our future outreach efforts, is babywearing knowledge for the masses — those who might not venture into the ‘crunchy’ community — by doing Babywearing 101 classes at local hospitals, pediatricians, big box baby stores, and other such places where you might not see the avid babywearing enthusiast,” says Kat. Kat and Summer understand that babywearing can help anyone have an easier time with baby, and they want to spread that message. Because of this, they believe that BWI is the best organization to help them in this work, with its policy of being welcoming to all babywearers.

L.A. County currently serves the northernmost part of Los Angeles County, with two meetings a month – one in Santa Clarita Valley and one in Antelope Valley. Because both leaders work part time outside the home, they are very conscious of the needs of working mothers and strive to have meetings during the evenings and weekends. Currently the most popular carriers in their lending library are their KHR handwoven wrap which they won in a lending library draw, and their Yaro Slings wrap conversion ring sling, which was donated by Slingomama.

When asked about tips for new chapters or groups considering affiliating with BWI, Kat said, “Seeing as how we’re a newer chapter ourselves, we don’t have many tips.  The only thing we wish we would’ve known early on, was how much help we’d need from volunteers!  We’re trying to find new leaders to lend a hand at this point, but probably would’ve started the search earlier on in the process, in hindsight.” BWI of L.A. County has tentative plans to do a photo shoot fundraiser – a popular fundraiser among BWI chapters – probably around Mother’s Day.

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