Owls and Toadstools has been produced for 9 years; Guidestuff is nearly 7 years old. We have put together 137 issues and 2 books.
But - the new collator, that sorts the pages, and the new electronic typewriter, were bought from the interest that accumulated on the subscription money last year. (That may never happen again!)
Helen Geissinger of London and Pat Hall of Kitimat, B.C. are regular contributors. More and more ideas are now coming from Owls and Toadstools and Guidestuff readers - that’s SUPER!
The typed and illustrated pages are made into stencils and then printed. It takes three days 8am to 10pm to print one issue! Allowing for interruptions, like cooking supper.
Friends get together in Eden Mills to put the printed pages into newsletters, collating and stapling, and getting them ready for mailing.
Production is financed entirely from the subsciptions (Mrs. Chesworth’s husband also suspects he contributes). The subscriptions pay for paper (96, 000 sheets from one order cost nearly $1000) and ink (25 cans cost $200) and stamps ($960 is the average for one issue), prizes and office stationery supplies, such as felt pens for drawing. No salaries are paid - ALL of the work is voluntary.
The duplicator and electro-stencil maker were purchased by Mrs. Chesworth from her own money.
Mrs. Chesworth’s interests include reading, TV, nature, crafts and collecting. She collects ideas in big boxes. The ideas come from books, magazines, craft shows, the C.N.E., other leaders, boys and girls.
Where do the ideas come from? Mrs. Chesworth, the editor, is a Guider with Guide and Pathfinder and often helps with Brownies. She has been the Lone Adviser for Ontario (which accounts for her interest in Lones), and is currently Programme Commissioner for Ontario. This Guiding involvement makes her aware of the need for Programme ideas.
Each month, Mrs. Chesworth goes through her boxes of treasures and chooses material for the next issues. All of the ideas have to be researched and written up. Then they are typed, and illustrated on plain white paper.
Much of the writing and processing of subscriptions takes place in the early hours of the morning.
Helen Dubeau, and Mrs, Chesworth’s three daughters, Delia, Iona and Amanda are faithful helpers.
Subscriptions arrive by mail, sometimes 40 letters a day. They are all listed in a big book, then address labels are typed and printed, and cards made. Owls and Toadstools subscriptions are on yellow cards, and Guidestuff are on blue cards.
Each card has a little pocket on the back to hold the address labels. Tabs on top of the cards indicate extra copies, or activity pages, so they can be sorted if necessary.
Mailing can take up to two weeks if other Guiding activities are a priority. Guiders from Guelph, Acton, Rockwood, Fergus, Ospringe, and Elora often come to help. The food is good, and the conversation is lively! We call it ‘professional development’.
One of the most exciting jobs is to decide on Prizewinners for the contests. Sometimes, we take the entries to the Brownie meeting, and pin them up for the girls to decide. Sometimes, people who thought of the contest are asked to judge. Sometimes, the judges are people outside of Guiding.
Owls and Toadstools and Guidestuff go all over Canada. Most copies go to Ontario, but British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta now have very big orders. Some copies also go to West Germany, Bermuda, United States, Great Britain, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.
Producing these newsletters is very enjoyable work, even if it is very hard at times. The wonderful letters from readers make all of the frustrations and long hours worthwhile!