Orlando MQG - 10 years in the making

With our 10th birthday approaching, I was asked about our first guild meeting. The story of how our guild started is a favorite of mine and one, I am sure, most of you have heard me tell. For this article, though, I went through old documents and emails (yes I still have them) and realized there were some details I had forgotten. So even if you’ve heard (or was part of) the story, read on!
picture of the members of first ever Orlando Modern Quilt Guild meeting

The idea of the Orlando chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild was formed in January 2010. Here is an excerpt of the email I sent to the only sewing friend I knew at the time: “You should receive an invitation to this quilt guild thing.  Really long story….I agreed to start a branch of the Modern Quilt Guild here in Orlando… I hope this will end up being a good idea and not one that I end up saying what was I thinking.”  She agreed to attend the first meeting with me. I also sent an email to a blogging friend that I knew lived in the area saying: “I just wanted to ask you to stop by my blog tomorrow.  I wrote about a new quilt guild in Orlando that I am helping to start….” And her reply: “Very neat! I joined! Hope you were ready for participants!” 
Knowing that at least three people would show up and after two months of online discussion and planning with interested quilters, our first meeting was set for Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at The Sewing Studio. I did not know what to expect, but I was equally excited and terrified. You see, this was my first guild meeting ever. Not my first Orlando MQG meeting, but my first quilt guild meeting. I, who chose Accounting as a major in college to avoid public speaking, was responsible for running the meeting.  Spoiler alert: I survived! We had 16 wonderful quilters attend our first meeting which made me very happy. How many do you recognize from the photo?! 
To gauge interest, we passed around four different charts asking these questions:
  • What Should this Group Be About
  • What Activities Would You Like To Do
  • What Would You Like To Learn
  • What Can You Contribute - I’m Not Talking About Money
It was interesting to learn about each other while discussing those four questions, and exciting to build a guild from the ground up in the way we wanted. We discussed administrative topics such as dues and officers, planned our first sew day, and confirmed our future meeting schedule. 
To conclude, here are a few fun facts:
  • To spread the word, we left flyers at Barnes & Noble, LQS, and JoAnn fabrics
  • 2010-11 officers were Rene' Martinez, President; Hope Sherman, VP; Michele Lancaster, Treasurer; Kathryn Robinson, Secretary
  • Members brought fat quarters for those celebrating birthdays each month
  • My daughter Allyson was a Junior Member - she was 10 at the time
  • Our bylaws could fit on one page
  • The first Treasurer’s report showed an opening balance of $0 and 14.5 paid memberships
Thanks for letting me reminisce. Our guild has definitely grown and changed since that first meeting, but one thing I can say for sure: starting the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild was definitely a good idea! I’ve been known to say that the decision was life changing for me. There’s even a hashtag for that #quiltguildchangedmylife ;-)))
René
Founding Member

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