Yesterday marked the date of our last MECE meeting for this school year. Adam Manicom (my partner in leading this group) and I were thrilled to host the meeting of a small but enthusiastic group.

7 men and 2 women attended.  One of the guys was a first timer and lives about 2 hours out of the city. BRAVO to him for making the trip. It was great to hear his story. The 2 ladies were from the neighbouring province (one lives 7 hours away by car and the other a 14 hour drive away). They happen to be in Winnipeg for a conference so we were so happy to have them with us.

Marilyn Grundniski (who I first met at a working forum on Nature and Children in Nebraska, 2008) is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and runs 5 Waldorf programs in that city. She has 5 men working for her and estimates that is about 50 % of the men that work in ECE in her city. During the past 2 years they have started a MECE group and continue to meet and plan activities. They have asked Adam and I to drive up and speak to them this fall. We are considering it.

Andrea Welz (who I first met at the WoFo in Ireland, 2009 and came to our workshop there) is from Sault St. Marie (Sault College) and is a staff in the ECE program in the College. They have 4 males working in ECE in the city, but have started a group and are doing amazing things. They have collaborated with the marketing department to come up with some posters that will aid in recruitment of men into ECE and have also put one of their guys on a local TV talk show program. We listened to the show last night and this guy did just an awesome job of representing us. Andrea promises to send us the link to the posters and interview so we can spread it around.

Both ladies also gave tribute to Frances Carlson’s DVD and the way it has helped them understand the issues and share them with others. For many men it puts into words things we have been feeling but would never say to others because we so often think we are the only ones that feel or think those things.  BRAVO Frances.

Guys, the efforts of the WoFo and us in particular are the reasons that I even met these ladies and that they even thought to make MECE an issue to work on. More success that flowed out of the WoFo 2009 and even the working group on Nature and Children. BRAVO to us.

Adam also shared some inside information about an initiative here in our province, that is being worked on, so as soon as we can share any more details we will. For now we remain hopeful that our province will put a bigger push on towards the recruitment of men into ECE.

In terms of our meeting, I’ve learned to not get discouraged with small meetings. The size of the people’s hearts and the many children they influence is what really counts.  I, like Roger, enjoy numbers, so we counted last night and the 9 of us have a direct influence on 928 children in our programs. When I look at it like that, I feel like it was an overwhelming success.

Ron Blatz – Director