Getting back to GCDC basics at the Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo

Getting back to GCDC basics at the Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Rachel Aube, organizer of the Mid Island Natural Parenting Expo, in Parksville, Vancouver. Rachel was part of the initial conversations with Judy Aagard when she conceived of the idea to gather cloth diapering families together for the first GCDC in 2011. As someone who has been involved since the beginning, Rachel had plenty of wisdom to share with us regarding the purpose and goal of the Great Cloth Diaper Change.

How did you first get involved with the Great Cloth Diaper Change?

Oh gosh! I remember when Judy first thought up the idea! I was part of those original conversations. The first year I helped a local retailer organize a GCDC event in Victoria, BC. We had a small event with 40 people. The mayor was our witness and we collected signatures to make local government consider diaper subsidies that included cloth diapers. Ultimately we were turned down for that effort, but we did get a lot of media attention. 

I love how advocacy was a part of your event from the very beginning!

Yes! It has always been about advocacy and aligning our event with the overall values of GCDC and the Real Diaper Association (RDA). We took the values of GCDC and applied them to our Natural Parenting Expo. Even though our event has grown significantly from our first year, we still prioritize the values of simplicity, local sources, environmental responsibility, and community building. We believe that supporting our local community helps make the paradigm shift we all want to see. It’s no longer such a hurdle to convince people to use cloth. I notice more babies in cloth everywhere. Single use things are falling out of favor. It used to be that 1 in 10 babies in my sign language classes wore cloth, now it’s at least a third of every class.

Your dedication has led you to host a GCDC event every year. As one of our most veteran Hosts, what advice do you have for our new GCDC Hosts this year?

Start small, look local and make it a community building event. You do not need to organize a large event your first year. Remember that GCDC is not meant to be a SWAG fest. It’s really about bringing people together. If you do have vendors, seek out small businesses, and approach local groups that have complimentary values. It’s all about community. We evaluate all of our vendors to make sure they fit in with our focus on gentle parenting, wellness, and environmentally responsible lifestyle choices. Our community is the “oldest zip code” in our country. In the beginning, parents that attended our events were surprised to see so many young people. They didn’t realize there were so many people like them in our community. Connecting parents to their local community also helps grow local business. In our area we have seen some well established businesses grow out of our expo because they saw that a community actually did exist that could support their business venture.

I encourage GCDC Hosts to embrace the foundation of this event. Use it as a means to educate. Bill it as a “come & try cloth diapers” event. Encourage attendees to borrow a cloth diaper from a friend, or buy one from a local business and then have them come to your event and show them how to use it. Share event posts regularly, even if it’s just a quick update on how planning is going. You don’t have to ask for things all the time. Be positive and keep it fun.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s inspiring to hear how your event has helped people make so many positive connections with each other.

It’s been a great experience for me! My involvement with RDA and GCDC changed my general outlook on what I do in my life. It inspired me to live according to the values I want to see in my community. My best advice to other Hosts is to use GCDC to connect people locally and be the change you want to see in your community. 

We couldn't have said it better Rachel! It is all about community for us too. Find your local GCDC community here and if there isn't one yet, consider organizing your first GCDC event this year. 

~Michelle Dominguez

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

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