When I first started cloth diapering back in 2008, I found the local community lacking support. Sure, there were two local retailers. But one was small and not set up for support or the best customer service, and the other was far from me and did not have the customer service or selection I was seeking either. Of course I had online blogs and parenting forums like good ol' BabyCenter, but found there was lots of conflicting information and not to mention the Pampers debacle(which added to my ban on Proctor & Gamble products ever entering my home!) So, Google and I became BFFs.
Quickly, I found the San Diego Real Diaper Circle led by Heather McNamara, the Executive Director at the time for the Real Diaper Association. It was a small Yahoo! group of a little over 100 people if I remember correctly(SDRDC is now on Facebook with over 1300 members). I was shy and didn't post much, but read up on what they talked about, and finally got the nerve to drive down 45 minutes for a meeting at the old Java Mama location. It was a little chaotic and and maybe even 'clique-y' at first, but Heather was very warm and inviting and helped me feel 'at home'.
I had only been cloth diapering for a short time, but looked further into the Real Diaper Association to see what I could do to help. After all, I was bored with my new found role as SAHM, I needed something more. Then, I saw it. I could become a LEADER! That was perfect for me. I felt confident in my choice to cloth diaper my son (after all it was easy peasy lemon squeezy!), and was ready to take on the search for more evidence based information and share it. I signed up, paid my dues, and the ball was rolling. Soon, Heather contacted me for my first volunteer interview to make sure I was a good match to represent the organization. She felt confident that I was and advised me on the next step, which was to read the book NonViolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. That is a MAJOR part of becoming a RDA Circle Leader. It is very important for each leader to read, and re-read this book so that we can communicate compassionately and be heard.
I'll be honest, I read the book quickly, but I'm terrible at writing (can you tell!?) So I struggled with the workbook assignment to go along with it. It was a while till I was 'officially' accredited by the RDA, but I was hosting classes for the RDA spreading the message in a 'NVC' way. Heather saw that, and took it to the Board of Directors asking for me to be accredited anyway. They agreed, and I've been promoting RDA since.
In the beginning of 2013, I was asked to join the Board of Directors for the Real Diaper Association. Having never been on a Board before, I was hesitant because I wasn't sure of the responsibility of a Board Member. I could only imagine what I saw in the movies with big tables and presentations, and my biggest fear...pant suits. HA! The RDA is far from that, we communicate online, conference calls, and my favorite, Google Hangouts. We are comfortable in our street clothes, work clothes, and don't tell anyone else, my pajamas! We work toward finding evidence based information about cloth diapering, talk about fundraising opportunities like the Great Cloth Diaper Change and School of Cloth, and discover ways to inspire volunteers.
This year, the Real Diaper Association is celebrating it's 10th year! How exciting is that!? I'm proud to be a part of this organization, and am thankful for all that it has taught me. From communicating in a compassionate way, from respecting evidence based information, to realizing my own passions - even finding my own hang ups so I can work on those, too!
Please join the RDA and help us promote cloth diapering! Read the RDA Mission statement here: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/mission.php
Peace, Love, and Cloth Diapers!