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Managing the Group Online

By Deborah Wirtel
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 6, December 1999-January 2000, p. 129

The 1999 International Conference in Florida, USA, went high-tech in July with the new technology room and a showing of what La Leche League International can offer Groups who have Internet access.

Sue Ann Kendall, a Leader in Austin, Texas, USA and the LLLI Web Site Manager, and LaJuana Oswalt, a Leader in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA and the LLL Online Coordinator, shared ideas on how Groups with Internet access can use the LLLI web site to manage their Groups.

One of the most basic duties a Leader fulfills is leading Group meetings. The LLLI web site now offers pages that have many meeting ideas available to Leaders. "This collection is convenient for Leaders looking for inspiration for upcoming meetings," Sue Ann said.

But how can mothers find these meetings to attend? Through Group web pages, available courtesy of the LLLI web site staff. Most Affiliates also have their own web sites that help local mothers find a Group or Leader.

Any Group with Internet access can have an LLLI web page if their Area, Division or Affiliate authorizes it. Information on the web page can include dates and times of meetings, location, meeting content and a contact for more information. As with any written document for public viewing, Leaders must clear the content of their web page with their District Advisor.

“The LLLI web site is also a great tool for Leaders to use to keep up to date on the latest breastfeeding information and LLLI- sponsored events in their Areas,” said LaJuana. LEAVEN and NEW BEGINNINGS articles are available to read on the web site. Leaders working with Applicants can refer them to relevant articles; new Leaders can use the web site as a great resource to refer to past articles in LEAVEN, just like longtime Leaders have at home. "NEW BEGINNINGS archives are also wonderful when working with new mothers or looking for information to share at Enrichment Meetings. It is so nice to have an article available when a mother wants more information on a particular topic," Sue Ann added.

The web site also contains information in languages other than English, which can be helpful for Leaders working with mothers who don't speak English.

Events such as the recent World Breastfeeding Week and World Walk for Breastfeeding were posted on the web site with information on various Group walks and their results. Information on the LLLI Conference is also available, with reports on sessions and pictures from the Conference. Conference pages will be left up indefinitely.

Library management has been made easier with a list of books approved for Group Libraries by the LLLI Book Evaluation Committee that is available on the web site. Leaders can check to see if any new books have been added to the approved list, or see if any books have been removed from the list. Groups with items for sale can find information about advertising on the Cyber Green Sheet.

Another thing Leaders can keep up to date on through the LLLI web site is administrative information. Information pertinent to particular Areas or Divisions, such as the International Division pages with forms for Latin America or the Education Campaign pages will be helpful for Leaders with interests in these areas.

What does the future hold for Groups with LLLI's presence on the Internet? "I feel that our organization's web site, so broad in scope and accessible in design, positions LLLI as an organization that has its feet firmly in the coming millennium," said LaJuana. "Mothers are finding LLLI in ever larger numbers because of our presence on the Internet. Our information is made accessible to more mothers, our reputation as the foremost breastfeeding resource is underscored, all Leaders can be proud that their organization is moving firmly and decidedly to meet the needs of mothers who are online."

Any Leader wishing to contribute to the LLLI web site can contact the website team.

Editor's Note: Remember that articles from LEAVEN and NEW BEGINNINGS are copyrighted by LLLI. The articles are available online for personal use by individuals; they cannot be duplicated for distribution or reprinted in another publication without permission.

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