9 months.....

9 months feels like a long time when someone is pregnant! I am sure the women out there would agree that from the first moment you find out you are pregnant to the first moment you hold your babe, it is a long LONG wait.

Well 9 months feels just as long when it is the length of time spent planning an event, but I finally got to "hold my babe" this past Sunday, when the event day came, and went, and with much success from all the feedback I have received.

This event was the Galt babies party and Centennial celebration event of our building - we also invited the whole community because it was a centennial celebration and because we had a new exhibit - this saved our community programmer and curator from planning programs around the new exhibit opening since I was already going to be doing an event, and they could thus focus their energies on other matters.

We sent out about 1100 invitations to Galt Babies, all over the world! We also sent out invitations to our members, volunteers, and those involved with the exhibit. We put posters up and advertised in the Leisure Guide and other public places so the public would know they were welcome, too.

Over 9 months I had a wonderful committee who met very frequently, weekly at least for the last few months and bi-weekly before that. This committee helped shape the event, spending the first few months brainstorming and looking into what was possible and what was not. Once we had a HUGE list of ideas of things we wanted, I first met with the curator to see how this could all fit in with her having a few speakers at the exhibit opening, and the community programmer to see how much of this we could do with her supplies on hand. Then I took it to the staff and got some feedback from them.

We started with what felt like 100 ideas and in the end only used a small number of them because, well, with only one staff and a crew of volunteers, we could only manage so much planning, but also because many of our activities would have been outside and Lethbridge has had the rainiest, coldest summer I have ever seen and it seemed too risky to put so many eggs into that basket.

But we did it - we managed - we pulled it off! And though, of course, there were things that could have been better, ie I'd have loved to have a stage but we had no place to store it on Friday and Saturday, so our performers were on the floor level with the seated guests); we could have emphasized to the public that they were welcome - as it was, almost everyone there was a Galt Baby and/or a guest of a Galt Baby; etc.....we still heard so much excitement about the rides in the streetcar that the Lethbridge Exhibition sponsored that day, and everyone loved the reenactment of the 1910 opening with 2 actors (Charlie Christensen played Mr Naismith, ViceChair of the Board of the Hospital; Duane Petluk played Prime Minister Laurier) and the found key (found by Ray Waddle) story. I have to thank Kevin Poupart, former Katimavik volunteer with the Galt, for the key idea!

And one of the most wonderful parts of the day took place a few days after the event.....Haraga Jewelry made a beautiful silver bracelet and engraved in it "Galt Centennial 2010" and gave it to us as a donation to giveaway. I got to call the winner of the bracelet and she was so excited she almost started to cry on the phone. She couldn't believe she had won. She told me how much fun she had had on Sunday and how much she loves the Galt and how special and treasured this bracelet would be. I was so glad it was going to be cherished by her as it was by me, when I first saw this wonderful donation.

Today our community programmer pulled me aside during the senior's program and said to me "the bracelet winner is here" and pointed her out. She had come to pick up her bracelet and stayed for the senior's program that we run on Wednesday afternoons. I went to introduce myself to her as the person who called her and she almost started to cry again, and apparently she had cried at the front desk when she came to claim her prize.

To be a part of an event that allows me to talk to one person who shares, through her stories and her passion and her emotion how much we mean to her, is fantastic. To hear this woman thank me for the work that I did, along with my volunteer committee, over the last 9 months, makes the long LONG wait of starting the planning to seeing my event/babe be born, makes every stressful meeting/email/phone call and all the sleepless nights and countless hours of working odd hours....things to appreciate! Like seeing your babe for the first time, I can smile now after meeting this women today and nod my head and think "yes, it was worth it" as I forgot all the "pain" associated with the last 9 months.

Thank you to my wonderful volunteer committee and to all of those who attended the event - I hope many of you feel the same way that this woman does and I look forward to hosting another Galt Babies event in the near future (hoping for summer 2011!)