Learn about GFWC Cyber Clubs
September 14, 2016
GFWC Cyber Clubs are designed for women who want to make new friends while making a difference in their communities through volunteer service, but for whatever reason, cannot attend regular club meetings in person. To learn more about how Cyber Clubs function and the advantages of belonging we asked Sara Castelli, webmaster for GFWC Fabulous Florida Flamingo Flock cyber club to answer a few questions.
GFWC: How does your cyber club differ from a traditional club?
Sara Castelli: We differ in that we do not “meet” regularly. Instead of traditional meetings we send email blasts, post photos and project ideas to a Facebook page, and provide project updates on a webpage. The webpage also tells potential members how to join, and allows existing members to find out how they can contribute to various projects.
GFWC: Why do your members prefer a cyber club?
Sara Castelli: We currently have 81 members and they have selected to join a cyber club for a variety of reasons. Many members live in areas without a traditional club, others simply cannot get to meetings, and some like the concept of the “cyber” connection. While we do not hold typical clubhouse meetings, we do encourage lunches or get-togethers at locations where many members can easily go. Since these get-togethers are not official meetings, no one who is unable to attend misses out on information vital to a project. The lunches simply provide a fun chance to gather and brainstorm project ideas that can later be shared with the entire group via social media.
GFWC: Do you have members from across the state?
Sara Castelli: We accept members from anywhere, not just Florida. The sharing of ideas has been great and some of the out-of-state members have been very supportive of our projects, often involving additional community members in the projects. Many cyber club members are also members of “brick and mortar” clubs, this allows them to share what they learn from us with their more traditional club.
GFWC: What projects has the cyber club selected to support?
Sara Castelli: Our Holocaust Stamp project is ongoing and has been a resounding success! We also collect old nylons for recycling into park benches and write letters to Veterans for Honor Flight. In the future, we plan to write letters of encouragement to Cancer patients with the assistance of a clearing house for delivery.
GFWC: Is there anything else you would like your fellow clubwomen to know about cyber clubs?
Sara Castelli: When there is a poll to be taken, a notice is sent out via email with a time limit for submitting responses. Only the responses received within the required timeframe are counted. It requires some adjustment from the usual method of quorums. We also don’t set term limits on leadership positions due to the need to learn our electronic systems and the fact that many members are interested in participating without taking on the responsibilities of leaders. The idea is to reach as many women as possible, involve them with our projects, and acquaint them with Federation. We encourage members to join “brick and mortar” clubs if they wish and attend state, region, and national conferences if they are able. For those unable to attend Federation meetings, we make sure to report on all that happens via our website and social media exchanges.
Serving as GFWC Director of Junior Clubs will be the highlight of Jolie Frankfurth’s nineteen years of community service with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
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The Rochester Junior Women's Club
The Rochester Junior Women’s Club (Michigan) was established in 1956 with 16 members, and today has over 70 members that always come together to support one another. The club chooses three or four major charities to support and several smaller ones, donating approximately $30,000 each year. In total since its inception, the club has provided more than 1 million hours of community service, and raised more than $928,000 to support their community!