BWI FM started off as a Facebook group named F-M Babywearing. They started having play dates in members’ homes and then around January of 2015 they started meeting in churches and other public places in a more organized capacity. The group wanted to start a lending library, and that was when they looked into affiliation with BWI. Affliating in June 2015, Marilea Bramer and Erin Brand were the co-founding Volunteer Babywearing Educators. The area they serve is Fargo and Grand Forks in North Dakota, and Moorhead, Dilworth, Detroit Lakes, and Pelican Rapids in Minnesota.
Though the chapter is new, they are super active. Right after they affiliated, they had a picnic, ran a member drive, were supported with donations from local retailers, and had the support of other Minnesota chapters during the process. According to Marilea Bramer, “We have a great group of other chapters in Minnesota who have been really supportive of us, answering questions, helping us plan, helping us start our lending library and helping us with giveaway items for our Grand Opening Picnic. They have been amazingly helpful and wonderful to us.”
Currently, they have 64 supporting members and a Facebook group with nearly 800 members! Marilea Bramer, the chapter’s only Advanced Babywearing Educator (ABE), is so grateful to all of them. BWI FM has already had its first International Babywearing Week, where they embraced the theme #embraceyourworld (see what I did there?) with activities that included a hike, and appearing on the North Dakota Today Show (photos of that on their Instagram).
The group has ten volunteers, which include one ABE, seven VBEs and two CSVs (Chapter Support Volunteers). Two of the VBEs were with other groups before coming to Fargo. One VBE was in a musical last year. Two VBEs are expecting!
Most recently, BWI FM hosted a Babywearing 101 class with Sanford Health, one of the two major healthcare systems in town. They hope to hold another one with Essentia as well, and to make contacts with their local YWCA and WIC offices. Marilea feels very lucky that much of the outreach they’ve done have been from other organizations approaching them.
Coming up in 2016 they’re looking forward to hosting play dates when the weather warms up and will be having their first anniversary picnic this summer. They’re also hoping to do a workshop on wrapping.