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etta694

First Support Meeting

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I've decided to have the first ever Celiac/Gluten Free support group meeting in the area around our town (100ish mile radius). I have not struggled to the extent that many have nor is Celiac or Gluten problems well known in this surrounding area. I'm sure most have information from the web but I still plan to have some info for those that are not computer literate. For the most part, I am thinking this is needed for connecting with others, emotional support, some for info, possibly for sharing recipes, and some for resourcing answers to problems that others could help with. Is there anything obvious that I am missing here that I need to consider? I am not an organizer and this is totally new for me.

If you have anything I could share with this new group or any suggestions I would be very grateful.

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Etta -- check out GIG, which had local meetings in many major cities. If one isn't close to you, go for it. If there is one nearby, check it out to see if it provides what you are looking for. You still may want to consider doing your own. Make sure your meetings are held in an area near to several populated cities/towns. You could utilize meetup.com for gluten free support group advertising, as well as boards like these (though I'm not sure what the policy is here at celiac.com's forums, so you should probably ask first!) Put up fliers, think of what kinds of events you'd like to plan. An open potluck for gluten free folks would be a good ice breaker, and just ensure everyone brings along a dish, the recipe with specific ingredients including the brand used, and an open mind. :) That way, anyone can feel comfortable. And be prepared to manage friendships...and disagreements. They happen in every group. But it's worth it.

In fact, I'm thinking i might try to find something similar in my own town...

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Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate it.. I am thinking that the group thing here is a good idea because we can't travel that far in winter (too much snow and ice) and people need something closer. The closest would be 2 hours drive. A POTLUCK!!! Yum..I'm for that! I think that will be the first event (after our initial get together - I want to see what the interest level is here.) I've done fliers.. I am going to try the local radio too.

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Etta

I posted info on starting up a group back on Oct 2,2010, I think if you go back to page 3 on that date you will find info. It may not be what you are looking for but I've had a group for many years now.I run it independently . I agree the GIG is a great group & if I ever decide to join up with a national group it will be GIG>

When you go it alone you will be the person who is responsibible for the entire meeting.. So you need to be prepared for anything ...

I don't want to discourage anyone from helping others in this lifestyle but I don't want anyone who is trying to help others get in a mess... When you join a national group you follow their rules & regulations& then you ,yourself are not totally responsible if something occurs. So you said there was no group close to you , well maybe consider starting or joining the GIG. They will help you get it going & give you support..

blessings

mamaw

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I'm in Canada so I looked this up because I'm not familiar with it. It is Gluten Intolerance Group® of North America... I am going to look into this.. we're N. America :P . Thank you for that suggestion, all.

Sometimes it seems to take time for things to sink in... so I finally hear that having some guidelines, rules, and regulations in place is beneficial.. instead of trying to put out fires after the fact. I looked into Gig and also researched support group ground rules. Excellent. Organization is NOT my strong point.

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I've decided to have the first ever Celiac/Gluten Free support group meeting in the area around our town (100ish mile radius). I have not struggled to the extent that many have nor is Celiac or Gluten problems well known in this surrounding area. I'm sure most have information from the web but I still plan to have some info for those that are not computer literate. For the most part, I am thinking this is needed for connecting with others, emotional support, some for info, possibly for sharing recipes, and some for resourcing answers to problems that others could help with. Is there anything obvious that I am missing here that I need to consider? I am not an organizer and this is totally new for me.

If you have anything I could share with this new group or any suggestions I would be very grateful.

I think this is a wonderful idea. Maybe your first meeting could just be like an icebreaker, getting to know each other, and having everyone give you some input on what they would like to get out of the meetings, what their main concerns are, find out what they know, what you think they might need to know, etc. Maybe you could have like a weekly topic for discussion. Just some ideas. I like the potluck idea, recipe exchange.

Good luck!

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I think this is a wonderful idea. Maybe your first meeting could just be like an icebreaker, getting to know each other, and having everyone give you some input on what they would like to get out of the meetings, what their main concerns are, find out what they know, what you think they might need to know, etc. Maybe you could have like a weekly topic for discussion. Just some ideas. I like the potluck idea, recipe exchange.

Good luck!

Thank you for those ideas! I am very excited, the meeting is less than a week away and I have had a few people contacting me including a store here that wants to order gluten free products (we just lost our old supplier here in town), and a couple of business people wanting to display product. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll post the results on the 29th.

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We had our first meeting last night and there were 10 people despite the icy roads. There was one diagnosed and 8 self-diagnosed and 1 attending for her niece who was going to be visiting and she wanted info.

It was very good, I shared an article from this site and some lists of symptoms and foods also from this site. I shared about how there are so many people here that have been through every kind of trial and the insight that people on here have. I encouraged them to get on here if they need help. We had someone with a skin care line and someone who talked about sources of supplies. We shared stories...and snacks..

And we talked about a potluck for next time. And .. we ran out of time, it was good.

And there were no fires to put out :P

Thanks again for the help everyone :)

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