September 25-26, 2015

DoubleTree Hotel - Bethesda, Maryland

Christ Child leaders from more than twenty-five chapters across the United States met at the Doubletree Hotel in Bethesda, MD on September 25th and 26th for its annual Conference and business meeting. This included six Christ Child Scholars from four chapters who were able to attend the conference though the generosity of financial support from the following chapters: Chicago, Detroit, El Paso, Pasadena and South Bend. As one on the scholars stated, “I have great information from other chapters to bring home.  Thank you so much for allowing me to attend.” This year’s theme Empowering Our Leaders: Telling Our Story highlighted the branding work that has been worked on at the national level and making it usable for chapter leaders to communicate more effectively to their most important audiences.  Friday afternoon attendees were given the choice of mini seminars to attend.  The topics included: “Onboarding Chapter Leaders”, by Paula Conrad, Carolyn Pumphrey and Maureen Wesley; “Challenging Poverty Today”, by Beth Barrett with panelists Cheryle Mackie, Stuart; Peg Riggs, South Bend; Karen Sweeney, Pasadena & Karen Smith, Toledo.  This seminar included the much anticipated roll-out of the revised and updated Challenging Poverty Manual;  “Leadership Dynamics” by Anne Kelley and Susan Ferraro Smith.  The attendees had an opportunity to relax at a cocktail reception and view the raffle items before dinner.  During dinner attendees heard from the Washington Chapter President Kathy Norton Warren along with Ange Anglade and Rolando Fuentes who spoke on the programs and volunteer activities going on at the Merrick Center.

Saturday morning Cheryle Mackie and Melanie Mbuyi held a hands-on Membership workshop with Best Practice presenters Deb Low, South Bend, Molly Fanning, Columbus and Nancy Robbins, Cape May.  The workshop focused on recruiting, retaining and remembering members, with the twin aims of helping our forming chapters, Duluth and Denver, to create a strong group in the first instance and helping each other with new ideas to enhance our membership for chapters at all stages in their development.  The key note address by communications expert Julie Francavilla facilitated a panel discussion on the branding work with Marybeth Baucco and Anne Kelley and the new brand value matrix. There was a multitude of information for all to take in and bring back to their chapters.

After lunch there was the business meeting where the NCCS Board and Office reported on activities from the past year including the 2016 budget and bylaws amendments.

For many of the attendees one of the highlights was the mass and tour of Mary Virginia Merrick’s church, Blessed Sacrament.  We were lucky to have Patty Myler and Kathy Norton Warren as our docents on the bus providing many interested facts and tidbits on Mary Virginia Merrick.  In addition, we were so fortunate to have Monsignor John Enzler presided over our mass at the small chapel at Blessed Sacrament.  You could hear a pin drop at the Monsignor’s homily since the attendees wanted to hear about his happenings with the Pope Francis during his visit in Washington, D.C.  Following mass attendees were transported to a tour of Mary Virgina Merrick’s home.  All enjoyed looking at all the historic photos displayed throughout the first floor of Mary Virginia Merrick as well as commentary again provided by Patty Myler.

The productive conference concluded with a dinner at Hamilton House at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, a private school for girls K-12.  The school building was originally a home owned by Louise Merrick Hamilton, our founder’s younger sister, where Miss Mary also briefly lived.

Not only was the Conference informative, it was a chance for Christ Child members to connect with members from other chapters, to share ideas and make new friends!  As one attendee commented, “The presentations were terrific and I garnered a lot of valuable information and ideas to take back to my chapter!”

Please mark your calendars now for the 2016 Convention to be held at the Atlanta Buckhead Hotel and Conference Center.  We promise to deliver a fun filled, informative weekend.

Information from the Presentations

Note:  Please click on the title to access the associated document

Onboarding Chapter Leaders  (Presenters - Carolyn Pumphrey, Paula Conrad and Maureen Wesley)

Dynamics: Change, Conflict and Succession  (Presenter - Anne Kelley and Susan Ferraro Smith)

Challenging Poverty Today  (Presenter - Beth Barrett)

Membership Workshop  (Presenters:  Cheryle Mackie and Melanie Mbuyi)

Telling Our Story  (Presenter - Marybeth Baucco)

Communication Keynote  (Presenter - Julie Francavilla)  

Topic - How to Communicate More Effectively with Key Audiences

Using New NCCS Branding and Key Communication and Leadership Principles

Mass at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament - Liturgy by Reverend Monsignor John Enzler Video

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