February 2020 Member Breakdown

February 1st starts the second half of the membership year for Space Coast Mothers of Multiples, so it’s high time for a fresh look at the club’s demographics.

Starting with types of multiples, the club has similar numbers of boy/boy, girl/girl, and boy/girl twins. There are three triplet moms currently, with two having two girls and a boy, and one having three boys. No current members have quads or higher.

Feb 2020 chart 3

Next up: age of multiples. While many clubs across the country have their highest numbers in expecting, newborn, and infant mothers of multiples, Space Coast’s membership includes more than a third of members having 2- and 3-year-olds, and a healthy balance across the age groups.

Feb 2020 chart 1

Where is the Space Coast, you might ask? It’s Brevard County, Florida, which is 72 miles north to south and encompasses barrier islands as well. As there are no established groups for mothers of multiples in the county south of Brevard, two members live in Indian River County, and there are also several long-time members who have moved out of the area but maintain their membership and active status in the club. Looking at the chart from last year to this year, there has been a shift from the most members living in Palm Bay to Melbourne housing the majority. Satellite Beach has also grown as well. In the numbers below, “other” represents the following locations, where two or fewer members each reside: Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbor Beach, Malabar, Port St. John, Titusville, Vero Beach, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.

Feb 2020 chart 2

The club’s 37th birthday is less than three months away, and their longest-active member has belonged for 27 of those years. Six more boast 15+ years in Space Coast MOM, and with the addition of recognizing Milestone Members at the annual Installation Banquet last year, here’s hoping that many more will continue to remain in the organization in years to come.

Feb 2020 chart 4

Lastly, a quick look at how many members have children in addition to their multiples. At present, there are no members with more than one set of multiples. It was an equal split between those with only twins or triplets, and those with more children, though most with more had them first!

Feb 2020 chart 5

As seen above, many different types of members make up Space Coast Mothers of Multiples. If you’ve wondered about the group in the past or are discovering it now for the first time, please reach out – more information is available and your emails will be answered promptly.

Who Runs This Club?

While the FAQ page briefly mentions that there are five elected positions and numerous appointed chair positions, some more information about who is doing what might be helpful to know! Please note that the below is an overview and not all-encompassing. If you are interested in serving as leadership in Space Coast Mothers of Multiples, please reach out to any of the current board members!

The five elected positions on the Executive Board are:
President (oversees everything and is a ex-officio member of all committees)
1st Vice President (handles membership requests and renewals)
2nd Vice President (conducts surveys, orders t-shirts and badges, maintains membership packet)
Secretary (manages minutes, bylaws, and attendance)
Treasurer (receives and disburses funds as needed)

There are also appointed chairs in a variety of areas:
Education & Programs (coordinates guest speakers and informative topic meetings)
Playdates (plans meet-ups, varying location, time of day, day of week, cost)
Library (manages our physical library and shares electronic resources)
Social Media (promotes club events online, encourages weekly engagement)
Website & Archives (maintain this website, member Drive, public Facebook page)
Sunshine (coordinate food & drinks, writes thank-you notes and holiday cards, manages meal trains)
Ways & Means (coordinates fundraising)
Publicity (delivers materials around town, writes press releases)
Party Planning (oversees details for major family activities and holiday party – usually co-chaired)
Stork (matches mentors and mentees)
MOA Rep (liaison with national organization)
FOMOTC Rep (liaison with state organization)

The Advisor is the most recent past president and also serves on the Executive Committee.

Each Spring, a Nominating Committee is formed. This group gauges interest in the various positions and talks to members about taking on leadership roles. At the May General Meeting, the slate of officers is presented, and is voted on at the June General Meeting. There is an Installation Ceremony, and new officers typically begin the first week of July. The President appoints the chairs, usually based on the recommendations of the Nominating Committee and the new board, with the new membership year beginning August 1st.

 

2019 Holiday Picnic & Party

For this year’s family holiday picnic, Space Coast Mothers of Multiples really brought it to the next level. The venue selected offered a large playground with structures for different ages, a pavilion housing a dozen picnic tables, and nearby restrooms.  

The spread was plentiful and delicious, and the craft options pleased from toddlers through pre-teens. It was a great time and well attended!

While the weather was not the most agreeable, the Santa and Mrs. Claus couldn’t have been better!

group pic Dec 2019 party

The following week was the club’s second annual Sock Exchange Party. In addition to swapping holiday cookies, the members also stuff a pair of socks with small items and then draw numbers akin to White Elephant to choose their prizes. The goodies included a wide array of treats, from gift cards and liquor to candy and games. It was a relaxing time before the busyness of the holidays set in!

Fall was Fun!

Space Coast Mothers of Multiples had a fall full of fun activities! They started something new with playdates – while they continue to host two local ones each month (recent ones included Spyglass Park, Suntree Rotary Park, the Brevard Zoo, and the Enchanted Forest), they are also trying to do one destination playdate each month to support MoMs in trying out new activities surrounded by the support of others. Adventures so far are to the Orlando Science Center in October and the kid’s museum area of District Play in Oviedo in November.

They are also now hosting a monthly “Lift-Off Meeting” at a member’s home on a weekday morning. This is a time of encouragement where members and their multiples are welcome to come and express their concerns and offer support to one another in a safe space.

Fall is a busy time for the club’s family events, and the club hosted both a field trip to Partin Ranch in Kenansville as well as a theater rental of Frozen 2 on opening weekend. Every seat in the house was sold, much like just a few months ago when Toy Story 4 opened! Additionally, a group of members and their families casually met up for the local Boo at the Zoo event.

SCMOM also did a couples’ night to try out a new ax-throwing location in town, as well as hosted a Halloween craft night where moms made origami-esque bookmarks.

Additionally, several members met at a local brewery for a Friends-themed trivia night, and a group went to EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival for the second year in a row, again having custom t-shirts made. A game night also brought great fun with a holiday appetizer potluck, and a paint-a-pot night with holiday-themed pottery was also a hit. 

Lastly, the club  hosted its fifth annual online shopping fundraiser, this year with 19 participating vendors, over 100 shoppers in the group, and a new goal: raising money to start preparing packages for new mothers of multiples in the local hospital’s mother-baby unit.

Convention 2019: We Did It!

Convention Committee

The 39th annual Florida Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (FOMOTC) convention will be especially memorable for Space Coast Mothers of Multiples members, as it was the first time many of them were part of the hosting club! The dedication of the convention co-chairs over the course of the past year led to a successful weekend in many ways. From the costumed registration volunteers handing out gorgeous lanyards to the variety of entertaining workshops to the largest Buy, Show, Sell in recent organizational memory, it would be difficult to pinpoint the highest point of convention.

Pres Breakfast
Club Presidents from across the state discuss what’s working and what’s not in their local groups

Throughout the process of planning this FOMOTC convention, committee members learned a great deal about working together, and many reached out to family and friends far and wide to bring little details that will be remembered for years to come. It’s not every year that twins make up half of the color guard on Saturday mornings, that attendees are able to take a centerpiece from both the luncheon and the banquet, that multiple graphics were created for shirts, and that registrants receives jewelry as part of their swag.

jars
Glittery jars with fairies, dragons, mermaids, and the like adorned the tables at the masquerade

Space Coast Mothers of Multiples proudly had nearly half of its members attend the convention, and also was successful in increasing the total number of attendees from across the state by nearly 20% over the past three years. The club fondly sends the 2020 committee best wishes in their planning, and looks forward to a more relaxing weekend next October.

Fri Dinner Convention
out to dinner Friday night
scmom at convention
Space Coast Mothers of Multiples with their rainbow rose corsages!

Looking Ahead at the Year

Space Coast Mothers of Multiples took a different approach to board meetings this year. After the new executive committee took over at the end of June, rather than plan month-to-month or a few events at a time, they dedicated a Saturday to looking at the entire year.

board retreat

Everyone came with ideas to improve the way they complete their position’s responsibilities throughout the year, and with many leaders in one spot, it was great to really give club members opportunities to select different types of events to lead. We had ideas for more family fun activities, doing more couples’ nights, ways to reach out to potential members, and even a wider variety of MoMs days/nights out. We also were able to get two educational workshops planned for this year, and even decided to bring back the club’s monthly newsletter from a years-long hiatus!

Not only did this allow us to create Save-the-Date graphics for our events, but it also distributes the workload more than in the past and gives newer members more to look forward to and try to join! Plus, being able to focus regular board meetings more on long-term projects and larger goals rather than brainstorming what to do for the next general meeting is a wonderful thing!

oh, and the first couples’ night after this meeting? A successful night of ax-throwing!

ax throwing

National Convention 2019: The Business

Note: last week, a post about the sightseeing and other fun during the Convention was posted. Both reports were written by delegate Amy K. Bredemeyer.

Let me preface this report by saying that I love talking business, going to meetings, learning new ways of doing things, consulting with others confronting the same struggles, and just talking to people in general. So, I was pleased as punch that the Multiples of America convention would give me the opportunity to do each of those things and more. Below are highlights from the days spent in Alexandria, VA. Space Coast MoM members can view the entire report through our shared Google Drive.

First up in my schedule was the First-Time Attendees workshop. Most of the board was in attendance, and they introduced themselves and shared about the type of things their departments do. The dozen or so first-timers went around the room and shared their names and where they were from, and then a prize was given to the person with the youngest multiples – it was me, but not by much!

Thursday morning kicked off with the topic I was most anticipating prior to the convention: Club Networking. The format of the session had every attendee (there were probably 50 or so) state something their club was doing well, and something that needs improvement. I was very intrigued by how different all of the situations were across the country. The most popular things clubs found they were doing well included consignment sales, mothers of newborns support, and friendships being built. The top things that needed improvement were struggles to get more people into leadership roles and the attendance at general meetings, two areas that our club also has been trying to improve. I specifically picked up some innovative ideas for fundraising and holiday parties, so come to a board and planning meeting soon to hear more!

Shortly after the local networking event was the State Share Shop, which was essentially the same thing but for the state level instead of the local level. This time, attendees simply stated their number one concern. The answers were mostly variants of: how to get local clubs to join state, how to get money to host conventions, and what benefits should be offered. As I also sit on the Florida board, I look forward to chatting in more detail about these issues and what’s going on across the nation with that group.

One of the starkest differences between the state convention and the national convention was the business meeting/general session. At state, it’s about 3.5-4 hours in one go. At national, it’s slated for 9 hours over three days and MANY of the women I spoke with throughout the weekend told stories of the huge overages that have taken place in years past. The first day was a widespread agenda, with the credentials report being read, the standing rules approved, amendments to the convention program being suggested, approval of last year’s minutes, and recognition of national workers, new member clubs, and members of the year. After that, there was a cute skit to remind everyone there was still time to volunteer, then the presentation of the slate – despite the fact that it was a single slate, each nominee still gave a speech, so it was very intriguing to hear more from each of those ladies.

Following that session was a detailed look and frank discussion of the budget and bylaws. Nothing was incredibly shocking – the national group has taken a larger loss than expected in projected membership, resulting in less and less money… the same thing that has been happening around the country on smaller scales with local groups. As an example, over 600 members attended the 1997 MOA Convention, compared to the 162 at the 2019 MOA Convention, and both of those numbers reflected 1-2% of the overall membership at those respective times.

MOA 2019 attendees

Friday morning began Round Two of the general session, and representatives from the Mid-Atlantic Twins Registry talked a bit about the health-based research studies that they help connect candidates for. Next, there were nominations for the next nominating committee, which almost had to go to a vote but one person deferred to being an alternate. After a fifteen-minute recess, the annual report was presented, which I found to be very enlightening, as each department had information to share. There was discussion about the number of clubs joining for the first time being steady, the four themes for The Notebook‘s issues this year, reports on the innovations being tried in various areas, information on the scholarship recipients and the EDGE grant recipient clubs, and celebrations of clubs hitting milestone anniversaries. I found it particularly interesting that the parliamentarian was contacted 183 times this year for help with bylaws, officer performance, potential legal issues, and other liability questions. Her biggest job, however, is really making sure that we reach quorum at the conventions, which is a fact I had not known. The finalist cities for the 2020 convention (the organization’s 60th!) are New Orleans, Raleigh, or a Carnival Cruise – the location will be finalized and published in October.

The recognition luncheon was next, and I was thrilled to have delightful tablemates to get to know better. That afternoon there were back-to-back workshop opportunities, and I attended one on writing and publishing your own book, and another about surviving and thriving with preemies. The first one was more self-interest, but the second one I chose to help gather more resources for our club’s support of preemies. Lily’s Hope was founded in 2013 and supports families in the NICU through packages of hope for parents and siblings of NICU patients. 1500 families have been helped so far, and although they are partnered with several mid-atlantic hospitals, they do ship nationwide, so this is an excellent resource that our club will be able to share with member families who might be in need.

2019-07-26 16.04.14

Next up was the MoM’s Mall – an opportunity for both member clubs and outside vendors to showcase their wares and do some fundraising. For Space Coast MoMs, I brought koozies that we had leftover from selling at our last state convention. Others around me sold convention discs, bandanna bags, wine stoppers, tumblers, and jewelry.

2019-07-26 17.21.50

Saturday morning began with the final round of General Session, and it was one to remember! After a guest speaker from the Fetal Health Foundation, the board appointments were officially made before new business began. I was able to see all of the steps in Robert’s Rules in action when a motion was made that was highly debated and came down to a verbal count of votes! Then, after noting two scholarship donors, two members led the room in an annual tradition of singing a song where a new verse is written each year. Suggestions then started being made as to ways to improve the organization, including raising dues and providing a live video feed of parts of the annual business meetings.

2019-07-27 10.29.16

The Saturday luncheon was a highlight of the weekend, thanks to both the keynote speaker as well as the cute theme – First Ladies! Attendees were invited to don accessories as First Ladies would, though myself and several others dashed upstairs for full costume changes for the meal. (as a stay-at-home mom, I very much enjoyed the many outfits I was able to pack and wear throughout the week and made every effort to have the perfect ensemble for each!) As we entered, we were given slips of paper with the names of Former First Ladies… except the tables showed photos of the women so if you drew one with whom you were not very familiar, you wandered about a bit and asked around to find your place. It was all in good fun, and there were fun facts at each table about the women as well. The keynote speaker was Dara Lovitz, who has done a qualitative study in multiples and emotional behavior. Her focus was on the five most surprising things that multiples will tell you, and although I will not name them here, suffice it to say that my eyes did indeed fill with tears during the speech, and I was indeed surprised by four of the five points. Quite a few in the room were jotting notes, too, and I think many left with a sense of duty to “do better” for our multiples.

first ladies luncheon

The one and only event I skipped was the Memorial Service, but I heard the choir did a lovely job.

The next workshop was with Heather Karpinsky, inventor of a twin feeding set. She talked about how her invention was born out of necessity, the steps involved to start manufacturing her product, how she has found various business mentors, and then she gave tips on how to use your passion and your dream to become an entrepreneur. I found her to be very friendly and open, which was handy because I asked the majority of the questions.

The final event of the convention was the installation banquet, and members walked through a hall of the club’s Past Presidents on the way in – beautiful sentiment!

2019-07-27 20.54.34

I again found myself at a table of wonderful MoMs, and had a fantastic time (and a superb seat to hear the very moving speech by the new President).  I greatly look forward to serving under her on the Research Committee – that’s right, I took the next step in this fabulous organization!

I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended the 2019 MOA Convention as a delegate for Space Coast MoMs, and I am thankful for the great conversations I had with so many MoMs there. I look forward to the 60th annual convention next year with great anticipation, and with fingers crossed that I will entice others in my local club to attend, too.