Nov 24, 2011

The Business of Everyday Life

Retreat Planning Committee with our Retreat Speaker and Entertainer.

This year's MCBC Women’s Retreat was a wonderful event, filled with laughter, fabulous food, (including a chocolate fountain on Friday night) visiting with old and new friends and learning about being a “Woman of Honour”. As in all previous years, we have our retreat at Camp Squeah/Squeah Retreat Center.

Upon arrival for the retreat weekend, each woman receives a goody bag with some appropriate theme based goodies. This was started 3 years ago and the women love these special treats.

Western style decor!

An all female Worship Team from Living Hope Christian Fellowship
led us in some wonderful singing before each session. Photo by Kelly Ens

Above: Ann-Michele Ewert
Our weekend speaker, Ann-Michele Ewert, came to us via M.E.D.A. (Mennonite Economic Development Association) . She spoke about the Proverbs 31 woman and drew parallels between the women in the Bible and today’s women. How, even in Bible times, women had businesses that helped support their families and sometimes, sustained whole villages; the same way many women still do today. She herself is involved in a business called Jolica. Their motto -- "Changing Lives Through Conscious Commerce and Giving Back" was an excellent fit for this year's retreat.
We invited women with home-based businesses to come and join us for the weekend and gave them the opportunity to show us what they do, tell us why they do it and what or who inspired them to start a home business. Eleven women responded to our invitation and participated by showing us their products and hopefully also inspired the other weekend participants to maybe start a business of their own.
Retreat Planning Committee with our Saturday morning surprise guests - 5 of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog and cookbook authors.
Saturday morning 5 of the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” blog and cookbook authors came for a book signing. The 60 books that “House of James” had provided for this purpose were scooped up in a flash! Fortunately, we had anticipated this and had prepared stickers to be signed that could then be pasted into a book purchased after the retreat.
Saturday afternoon there was time to enjoy nature at it's best and the more adventurous group went for a hike!

Having reached their goal --- a picture to remember the hike!
Both hiking photos by Kelly Ens

Eleanore Isaak
While others preferred an easier activity! A cupcake decorating workshop with Eleanore Balzer Isaak, owner of “Elly’s Studio of Cake Design”, in Chilliwack, came and taught the class on how to assemble a puppy dog cupcake.
Some yummy puppy dog cupcakes!
Saturday night was Cowboy night, in honour of our Special Guest, and a group photo was taken to remember the occasion.
2011 Group Photo by Kelly Ens
Doris Daley - photo by Kelly Ens
Doris Daley, cowboy poet from Calgary, AB was our evening entertainer and women had so much fun listening to her as she told us stories and recited her poetry. You wonder how she would connect to our weekend theme? Well, writing and reciting poetry is her "home-based" business!
This was followed by a live auction with the proceeds going to M.E.D.A. who will assist us with providing loans to women in Third World countries and help them to start a business which will allow them to feed their families and to send their children to school.
When all was said and done, we had raised $922.00 for this purpose! We are so thankful for everyone’s enthusiastic participation.
Statistically, we improved our attendance by 7 women this year with Saturday having the best attendance. We also caught the attention of a number of younger women and hope to build on that for next year. In total we had 101 registered participants this year.
We are already looking forward to next year, Oct. 12 – 14 when our speaker will be Jackie Ayer – Family Counsellor (and the pastor’s wife) from Crossroads Community Church in Chilliwack. Our theme for next year will be geared towards “Self-Image” and we hope that many of you will plan to attend. Please put the retreat on you long-term schedule and we will see you at Squeah next fall!
Until next year! Photo by Kelly Ens

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