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The Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (CalSPAC) held its annual Spring Conference May 1-3, 2015 in Sacramento and capped off the conference with CalSPAC's annual Day at the Capitol (DATC) on Monday, May 4th. A special thank you to Jenny Chavez, Senior Delegate, from the Junior League of Pasadena for organizing the conference and to Sandra Butler, Senior Delegate, from the Junior League of Sacramento, along with many of their members, for making our Day at the Capitol a memorable event.
CalSPAC will officially welcome Junior League of San Joaquin County (JLSJC) on June 1, 2015 as a voting member to our statewide delegation at this conference. CalSPAC will now represent 17 member leagues comprised of over 10,000 women who volunteer over 110,000 hours and give over $1.1 million dollars to community projects annually.
Spring Conference was the first time the delegation convened after receiving the Association of Junior Leagues International’s inaugural Public Policy and Advocacy Award. The award was given to the Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (CalSPAC) on behalf CalSPAC, the Junior League of Los Angeles (JLLA) and the Junior League of San Francisco (JLSF) for their collective work on maternal mental health.
Throughout the weekend, CalSPAC delegates engaged in training provided by our 2014-15 Co-Chairs, Caroline Bruister and Virginia Chambers and CalSPAC Trainer, Paula Barrow. Our legislative consultants Political Solutions provided more in-depth training on the current political climate in Sacramento, budget advocacy, the difference between advocacy and lobbying, and how to meet with legislators. We also learned some valuable social media tips from Ogilvy Digital Strategist, Toby Phillips. Guest Speaker Rachel Michelin, CEO of California Women Lead spoke on the benefits derived from holding a state appointed board position and tips on how to become appointed and Dani Mole, Junior League of Sacramento Board of Directors Member and Advocacy Coordinator with California Alliance of Child and Family Services, shared her experience working to prevent human trafficking in her community.
The Spring Conference concluded with a recap of the year and presentation of the 2014 – 2015 Delegate Awards from the Co-Chairs. Shannon Conner (Junior League of San Francisco) was awarded the Rising Star award for her incredible leadership with CalSPAC’s social media strategies as she continued to enhance our profile amongst policy stakeholders, elected officials, and the 17 regions we represent.
Katherine Ahlswede (Junior League of Orange County) was awarded the Community Impact Award for her remarkable and sustainable impact in both her local community and her home League. Under her leadership, Junior League of Orange County’s Public Affairs Council has hosted numerous trainings, engaged with numerous policy makers and participated in various local task forces and advocacy groups. Her community and League leadership has helped to build a robust public affairs program, which trains effective advocates, as well as, create lasting change in her community.
Lastly, Valerie Minton (Junior League of Napa-Sonoma) was honored with the Above and Beyond Award for her integral part in the organization’s success throughout the year as she continuously stepped up to take on more duties outside of the scope as her role as Vice Chair including her willingness to lead the Health Policy Subcommittee.
Day at the Capitol had a record breaking turnout this year, with just under one hundred Junior League members in attendance from throughout the state. We were addressed by Roseville City Councilmember Bonnie Gore, Assemblymember Roger Dickerson, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil, Assemblymember Brian Mainschein and Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen. The day was packed with an amazing array of speakers; who covered engaging topics ranging from important issues within our four main focus areas, the unique advantage women have in politics, to tips on how to become part of a solution to our local community challenges.
Senator Jim Beall was awarded CalSPAC's 2014 -2015 Legislator of the Year Award for his tireless work in foster youth and human services. After graciously accepting his award, he spoke to attendees about the staggering statistics regarding low foster youth college completion rates and the high incarceration rates of former foster youth. At lunch, we heard from keynote speaker, Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, who discussed their nonpartisan effort to lead policy research and advocacy efforts dedicated to improving children’s overall wellbeing.
During the afternoon, attendees returned to the Capitol to visit various legislators from their respective home districts. League members discussed with their legislators about issues important to both their home Leagues and CalSPAC. Additionally, many attendees enjoyed a guided tour of our State’s Capitol. Stay posted for details on next year’s Day at the Capitol which will be held May 2, 2016. We hope to see you there!