New Mexico Cowbells Jingle Jangle
by Dalene Hodnett & Members
Growing As We Go
We appreciate you. To all CowBelles members, new or experienced, active locally or on the state level, engaged or just paying dues, thank you. Thank you for your time and effort to make your CowBelle local successful.
But there is one area where we’re not experiencing success, and that is in our membership numbers. While some locals are holding steady or even gaining membership, across the board our numbers are dwindling. One of the primary reasons is generational – millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997, currently ages
18-34) are by and large not joiners. While they’re happy to join on-line communities such as Facebook and Linked-in, they’re reluctant to join actual communities.
It’s not just CowBelles; Rotary, Lions, Optimist and even book clubs are all suffering. We’re all trying to engage a population that doesn’t want to come to a meeting. They still want to be involved and make a difference, but they don’t want to spend an hour following parliamentary procedures and voting on budget issues.
Gretchen Lindsay, NMCB’s State Secretary, addressed this issue at the District Workshops with her session on “Attract and Retain.” When she asked for suggestions we got some great feedback from various locals. For example Otero CowBelles change their days and times to avoid a consistent conflict. So if you always have a meeting on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 at the public library, you might want to think about switching it up. Have a breakfast meeting quarterly, followed by a lunch meeting, then an evening meeting. Surely with this type of schedule a member would be able to attend at least three times a year.
Of course this requires a higher level of communication, but that in and of itself would probably impact attendance and engagement. Perhaps your group is shrinking because there is a lack of communication. Some locals use Facebook as a way to entice and interact with members. Both Corriente and Copper CowBelles have rocking Facebook pages that inform their members about upcoming activities, promote future meetings, and share information from the state Facebook page (have you “Liked” us yet? XXXX). This expands awareness of your group exponentially as your members share your message with their circle of on-line friends, thus attracting more members – while spreading your message to new audiences.
For members who miss a meeting it is easy for them to feel disconnected and to become disengaged. One way to avoid that is to send out a meeting recap. Not necessarily the minutes, but a synopsis of what happened and what is coming up. That keeps members looped-in and they can pick up right where they left off. They’ll feel included and not be in the dark when they are able to attend the next meeting.
Another suggestion we heard is to make sure your meetings are family-friendly. With so many homeschooling moms these days we want to welcome them and their children. While it may be occasionally distracting, keep in mind you’re growing the next generation of CowBelles. By the way did you know that NMCBs offer a junior membership? For only $2 a year you can enroll your youngster.
Rather than a month to month meeting, some millennials prefer to actively involved for a short amount of time. Perhaps they can be in charge of a task force for the fair booth, or the parade float, or the scholarship committee. You won’t see them for 10 months out the year, but you can depend on them for that one event.
Finally, make your meetings matter. Not just potlucks that discuss babies and funerals, but informational sessions that include actionable items. The Chuckwagon CowBelles offer continuing education opportunities by hosting a guest speaker at Every. Single. Meeting. We’ve got be seen as doing something in order to be seen as an organization worth joining. Be visible in your community. Fly your flag and reach out to new members. We can’t be perceived as clique-ish or restricted only to those that come from historic ranching families.
Invite your banker, child’s teacher or dentist to your next meeting. Without the beef community, their client, student or patient wouldn’t exist. They need to support the community that supports their livelihood. So don’t be shy in the “ask.” Some people are just waiting to be invited, and they may become your most active member, who for years will “make a difference” for the BEEF community.
The Borderbelles had a terrific meeting at the end of March in Nutt, New Mexico. The meeting was hosted by Lauren Nunn; the food was great and musical entertainment as well. In February, the group joined up with Luna County 4-H and Luna County Farm and Livestock Bureau for a food drive to support the local shelter for victims of domestic violence, The Healing House. Borderbelles donated $200 for the purchase of beef from the local supermarket, Peppers. The raffle this year is a Framed Shufly Print. The tickets will be available in May. The print along with beef gift certificates will be drawn for in October during the Junior Livestock Sale at the Southwestern New Mexico State Fair. There will be a tasting and lots of prizes at the Beef for Father’s Day event at Peppers Supermarket on Saturday, June 20, 2015. It has become an annual event and there is lots of attendance since the group works in conjunction with Peppers Supermarket and their anniversary party. The local will be presenting a $1,000 scholarship to Raul Perea on May 18. He is a senior at Deming High School and plans on pursuing a career in Agriculture and attending New Mexico State University. The Borderbelles had six members in attendance at the recent District meeting and have members set to go the annual meeting for Region IV ANCW in Tucson. Respectfully submitted, Tamara Hurt
The April 2015 meeting of the Corriente CowBelles was called to order by President Ashley Ivins with seven members and one guest present. Fundraising: Rose Ann Romero, chairwoman of the fundraising committee consisting of Martha, Ashley, and Kathleen will meet to discuss possibilities. Ashley picked up BEEF license plates at district meeting; Willa paid for the plates and will be reimbursed. CowBelles can sell the license plates for $10 to members and $15 to non-members. Scholarship: Cheryl reported that one application had been received for the scholarship so far. The committee members, Cheryl, Willa, and Valerie Scott, will review the applications and award the scholarships at graduation. Dummy Roping: JulieAnne will go to fair board to discuss the dummy roping during fair, and this committee consists of JulieAnne, Ashley, Martha and Keli Cox. Farmer’s Market: Ashley & JulieAnne reported researching a location, insurance, vendors, and gross receipt tax information and consists of JulieAnne and Ashley. Quilt: Carolee Jones reported the idea to solicit brands at the cost of $20 for non-members and $10 for members to be included on the quilt. This fee will help with the cost of the fabric and quilting, and Cheryl suggested that each member who solicits a brand from a non-member will get a free raffle ticket. The quilt committee consists of Carolee, Sharon, Ashley and JulieAnne. Old business: Member books have been completed; please contact Ashley to pick one up. Smokey Bear Days Parade-members are invited and encouraged to decorate ATVs with maroon and white and BEEF license plates. Ashley will send an email and post on Facebook where to meet. New business: Audra Lyon, Lincoln County Extension Agent, gave a demonstration on composting and members participated to make vermicomposters (composting with worms). Sharon Young reported on the District meeting in Alamogordo on April 21. The purchase of the by-products beef banner from the State office for $120 was discussed. Masters of Beef Advocacy is an online course that is free to learn more talking points about the industry. Ashley is challenging members to complete the course before the family picnic in June. Ashley and Carolee will write a Hubbard grant to help with costs of banners, handouts, recipes, and learning materials. Ashley adjourned meeting at 8:27 p.m. Respectfully submitted Sharon Young, Secretary
Chamiza Cowbelles met on May 7, 2015 with five members and one guest present at the Elephant Butte Inn with Vice President Jodell Downs presiding. Cathy gave a report on district meeting, where with 4 auction items and the registration fees, the deficit amounted to only $181. Cathy still hasn’t found the owner of a prepaid cell phone that was left at the meeting. Anita Petersen reported that AG Day was a success. Some of the teachers stated they appreciated the fact that most of the “stations” were in the shade of trees. The older students who attended did a great job of picking up trash. Nancy Phelps mentioned she has registered for the Women in Agriculture Leadership Conference in ABQ at the end of this month. Seven students had applied for the scholarship and their applications were reviewed and discussed at this meeting. Both Gloria Petersen and Tommie Aber had previously cast their votes. The five members at this meeting all submitted their choice by secret ballot. The choice was unanimous. Anita Petersen will inform the high school of the decision and ask them to make up a presentation certificate. She will also investigate the reason why the check to Colt Roberts for the purchase of his steer last October has never been cashed. Robbie Montgomery will attend the graduation ceremony to present the scholarship to Ramon. Jodell announced that the CowBelles’ donations to the food bank at the Episcopal Church were greatly appreciated and one of the larger ones the church receives. The food pantry was running “low on protein” and usually purchases meat with the money the group donates. Jodell also found quite a few unused beef raffle tickets in the trunk of her car, which group decided to use for this year’s raffle. Meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m. Next meeting will be held June 4th at the home of Jodell. Michelle will give a presentation at this June meeting. Submitted by Cathy Pierce
The Frisco CowBelles held their April meeting on the 20. Ranch Days were held on April 21 and 22. A total of 450 children came and enjoyed the event. They went through a variety of stations all centering on ranching. The Frisco CowBelles fed the group a hamburger lunch. The group all agreed this is a lot of work, but well worth the time and effort. Frisco CowBelles sent six members to the District III meeting. The meeting was excellent. The Officers gave outstanding and informative presentations. The Frisco CowBelles did a fantastic job of putting on the meeting which was greatly enjoyed by all. The group will have the Father’s Day Beef Picnic on June 21. The Scholarship will be given out on May 23 at the Graduation. Respectfully submitted by Martha A. Stewart, Frisco’s Reporter
The Chuckwagon CowBelles met at Tommie Aber’s on May 12, 2015 with eight members and three guests present. President Carolyn Chance called the meeting to order at 10:30 and Elaine Aschbacher, volunteered to take the minutes. The group welcomed two guests, Turia Maley and Debra Harris, who were friends of Tommie’s. The “POT” was passed around to collect funds to support the FFA Organization. The president asked members to bring etching tickets and money collected to the June 9 CowBelles meeting; the drawing will be made June 14, 2015, at the Meeting in Ruidoso, NM. District I Meeting at Elephant Butte, NM: The Chuckwagon CowBelles had 10 members attending the meeting and all thought it was worthwhile. The local still has the Beef Books that were bought last year to be put in elementary school libraries in the areas about agriculture. They could also be given to teachers for their classrooms. Carolyn mentioned that over the years Lyn and Marilyn paid their own expenses when they went to sell products at the Indian Livestock Days, yet in 2014, it was decided to reimburse expenses of travel and room to whomever went to sell products. Lyn and Venita will be going to Indian Livestock Days at Route 66 Casino this year. The treasurer was asked to reimburse their expenses. August 12, 2015, is NMSU Ag Science Field Day in Los Lunas. The president has reserved a space to set up an educational booth and will get material from the NM Beef Council to hand out. The new banner “When a Cow is More Than a Cow” will be used and Vera offered to give additional handouts that she thought would be helpful. The Women in Ag Leadership Conference (WALC) is May 27-28, 2015 in Albuquerque at the Embassy Suites. The next meeting on June 9, will be at the home of Elaine Aschbacher. She will send a map through email. The program presentation will be from the National Park Service provided by Waynette Burnett. Rhonda Thompson has invited group to her home for July 14 meeting. Presentation: The president closed the business meeting at 11:15 and introduced Cheryl Butterfield, who spoke about “AG in the Classroom” and how the program is trying to impress to the students how important Agriculture is in their lives. Things like: Only two out of 100 people in the nation produce food for the whole nation. How Americans spend only 10 cents of a dollar for food. The FIVE F’s provided by Agriculture: 1-Fiber, 2-Fabric, 3-Forestry, 4-Flowers, 5-Fuel. On July 30-31, in Las Cruces, NM - Ag in the Classroom has a two-day workshop on wheels for K-8 teachers. The first day they tour and the second day they have training. On July 23, a Mini-Workshop for Elementary Teachers will be in Taos, NM at 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.; for more information go to www.NMAITC.ORG. Cheryl was asked if the group could pay tuition, or help with travel or tuition expenses for a teacher in immediate area to get this education. At this time the group is getting information to be voted on later. Minutes submitted by Elaine Ashbacher
The Copper CowBelles met at the Red Barn May 12, 2015; with President JoAnn Miller presiding. Approval of the April minutes was tabled due to the illness of the Secretary to be published in the newsletter and voted on at a later meeting. Bobbie discussed the ranching exhibit planned for this Fall at the Silver City Museum. They have requested help from Copper to make their display better. There was discussion of last month’s fund raiser Shindig. Attendance was excellent but the silent auction did not make as much money as in past years. Next year’s event will be revamped to improve the auction and dinner dance but to cut down on the time, money and effort this year’s event “cost” each member. It was decided to transfer money from regular checking to the scholarship checking. Pat Hunt brought in several cookbooks including two produced by the NM CowBelles. The current cookbook project has stalled and Pat encouraged everyone to think of how to can get it back on track. Pat was then made the chair of the cookbook committee and anyone interested in working on that committee is to contact her. JoAnn Miller announced that the September meeting will be at the Roundup Lodge in the Mimbres. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. Submitted by Pat Hunt