In 1991, Laura Butler opened her child care business: “Imagination Island Child Care.” Three years later, she made the journey from Vermont to her first NAFCC Conference. It was there she found a place where family child care was known and accepted.
“The networking was amazing. There really were people who understood my joys and frustration.” Laura then became interested in program accreditation and has been NAFCC Accredited seven times. “Through NAFCC, I made lifelong friends that believed in the mission and goals of NAFCC. I stay involved with NAFCC for the same reasons.”
Laura’s passion led her into another important part of NAFCC – volunteering as a NAFCC State Representative and as the Membership Council Board Delegate.
“It was then that I recognized we were a family and I wanted to belong to this family.”
Laura started as an NAFCC Regional Rep covering several states. When she first became involved, it was less about advocacy and more about networking. Today, while networking is still important, advocacy is equally as important.
About a year ago, the NAFCC Regional Rep position went through a transformation. Not only did NAFCC want to expand their reach and increase grassroots efforts but Regional Reps were also telling us that building relationships and connections outside of their state wasn’t always working or there were time constraints on top of operating their family child care programs.
So new State Rep volunteer positions were created to serve on the NAFCC Membership Council. In March of 2021, the first fourteen State Reps were elected to their positions by NAFCC membership.
Laura is excited about these new positions and how this will better serve NAFCC, its members and family child care. We are creating stronger two-way communication about the field’s needs and building the NAFCC membership into a high-performing, inclusive organization.
“Focusing on our individual states allows us the time to be at the table and be sharing NAFCC’s mission and goals. Family child care (FCC) is currently in the lime light, we need to stay there! We showed the world during COVID what FCC is made of. Now is our time. This requires being a voice at the table, attending conferences or meetings, engaging with those providing care and building our association.”
Laura not only serves as the Vermont State Rep but was also elected as the NAFCC Board Council Delegate. In this additional role, she assists with facilitating the monthly State Rep meetings and agenda, supporting and mentoring State Reps, as well as reporting to the NAFCC board of directors about what is being heard or what is happening in each state.
“NAFCC is changing the way that family child care is viewed.”
When people ask Laura about the State Reps and the volunteer work for NAFCC she likes to tell people, “don’t do it if it doesn’t feel good in your heart, volunteering for NAFCC feels good. Being a State Rep is a vessel for me to shine the light on the wonders of FCC and those that provide the care each and every day.”
Knowing how busy Laura is, we had to ask the big question: how does she find time to operate her family child care and her volunteer work? She shared, “it is really important to know your limits and not over schedule yourself. I intentionally schedule time in for self-care and family events. When you find the right balance, it feels uncluttered and comfortable.”
Interested in being a State Rep? Applications are now open again. We’re hoping to hear from applicants across the U.S. It’s much more than a title and monthly meeting – it truly comes from a service heart to better support the FCC field and NAFCC members. “We are a great group of people, while we may each do things differently, we all have the same goals. Join us in bringing the field of FCC forward. We are looking for out of the box thinkers. Bring your big ideas!”
The State Rep application process is open until midnight October 18th, 2021 with the State Rep election to follow in November.
For the list of states that are open, the qualifications PDF and the online application please visit: www.nafcc.org/membership.
Questions about the State Rep positions? Email Amie Choiniere: firstname.lastname@example.org.