All posts by Chatcolab

Dolly Dwyer and Nel Carver at Chatcolab

Celebrating Dolly Dwyer

A firecracker on earth, now shining down from the stars

Dolly closed her eyes for the last time this morning surrounded by 2 of her 5 children. She had her wits about her until the end. Her terms. She was very loved and will be missed. Memorial information in Great Falls, Montana forthcoming. — Betsy Carver

Chatcolab’s Loving Memories of Dolly Dwyer

Dolly Embodied the Spirit of Chatcolab

It was delightful to share lab with Dolly. We remember her as always participating in everything despite having limited mobility these past few years. That never slowed her down. It didn’t keep her from participating in flag raising or lowering, crafts, singing, dancing or the parties at either Black Hill Rec Lab or Chatcolab. We can still see her in her “cruise wear” for a party at Chatcolab this past summer. We always enjoyed sharing a laugh with her and her family; she embodied the spirit of lab! —Ken & Cindy Birgen, Colorado

Such a Great Sense of Humor

I will never forget an improv she did with Brady at Black Hills Lab. Each time they turned out the lights and then turned them back on they were in a different position. It was hilarious. She had the greatest sense of humor. — Liz Hull, Utah

Dolly was a Welcoming Spark

For me as a first-timer, Dolly shared a welcoming spark that I can’t explain. Gracious and proud! — Linda Plenert, Washington

Dolly Dwyer Chatcolab

Such an Infectious Smile, so Nice & Encouraging

Last June, Stewart and I returned to lab after 34 years. One of the highlights was reconnecting with Dolly Dwyer. I was so amazed she remembered me. She was a 4-H leader in Great Falls with my mom and Sally Heard. Her daughter Kelly and I are the same age. We reminisced about many events during my 4-H years. Like when she judged county demonstrations or Daily 4 events.

She was tough, but always very nice and encouraging. She humbly shared the story of her being chosen “The National 4-H Leader of the Year” during 4-H’s centennial celebration. Well deserved! Her club was one of the best in the state for years. Her spirit and legacy continue on in her children and grandchildren. How lucky they were to have her for so long in their lives.

I am thankful Stewart and I visited her in September when we were home in Great Falls. I will always treasure the memory of her infectious smile and her enthusiasm for “fun and better living”. — Mary White, Oregon

Bless Her Sweet Soul

I loved Dolly’s wonderful sense of humor. I picture her laughing more than anything else. One memory is from a fairly recent Black Hills lab live auction when she stood up in front of the group next to Nel and shouted, “What will you give for my firstborn?” Everyone cracked up, including her firstborn (Nel) who got her humor gene. Bless her sweet soul. — Jackie Baritell, California

Dolly Dwyer Chatcolab

Beautiful Soul

She was a very kind person with a beautiful soul. — Malena Noriega, Utah

A Master of Human Relationships

Besides being a spark to any party or lab gathering, Dolly was a master of human relationships. Several years ago I asked her for pointers on creating a 4-H project group or club. She spent some time with me sharing experiences and guiding me to resources. Later in the Chatcolab week she took me aside again with more ideas. After Lab, she sent me a package of resources. In the coming years, she would check back with me about how it was going. She loved 4-H, she loved youth, and I knew she loved me because of her actions! — Marianne Burton, Washington

She Loved Us

She was funny and nice. She gave us hugs and loved us. I loved how Dolly dressed up in costumes. Everyone could see how much I loved Dolly’s hugs. — Jenalee Sorensen

She Will Be Missed

We loved how great Dolly was with the kids and people. She was so nice to everyone. We will miss her. — Preston & Randee Sorensen

She Was So Much Fun

We always loved having Dolly at Chatcolab. She was always so much fun! — Jadon & Jaron Sorensen

Chatcolab Unbroken Circle

Gratitude, Giving & News

Chatcolab Unbroken Circle

If you’re like me, you’ve gotten a TON of emails over the past few days with offers you ‘cannot refuse’ … the sale of the season.

The spirit of the season is rooted in giving and gratitude. Chatcolab is a tight-knit community. We love and help and support one another throughout the year, and then gather once a year to share our knowledge, love, and support.

One of the ways we can continue to deliver high-quality programs is through ongoing donations. Yesterday, we set up a free Facebook campaign for Giving Tuesday, with the goal of raising $1,000.

We’ve already raised $760! And there’s no reason we couldn’t raise MORE THAN our goal.

If you’re on Facebook please consider taking one (or all) of the following actions:

  1. Like this post
  2. Share this post
  3. Donate to Chatcolab

The campaign will run through December 10, 2019.


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Loss in the Chatcolab Family

It’s with a heavy heart that we wanted to share the loss of so many loved ones within our community.

It’s a reminder to love life today because you never know when things may change.

Longtime labber, Chris Beasley (wife of Beaz/Bob) passed away after a long battle with cancer. We love you, Chris, and hold you in our hearts.

Debbie Schwendinger and Linda Plenert each recently lost a parent. Please send these wonderful women love.

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The Great Carver Takeover: Look Out Boise

If you felt the earth shift about three weeks ago, that’s because there’s a consolidation of Carver Power in Boise.

Nel and Beanie have OFFICIALLY moved from Moscow into their beautiful new home in Boise.

Please congratulate them on this wonderful new adventure!

Oh, and LOOK OUT BOISE! That’s a LOT of Carver Power in one place!! 

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Do you have a story to share?

Please send your Chatcolab updates to [email protected].

Chat Chat Summer 2019

Chat Chat Summer 2019

What's inside?

If I Had a Trailer... Mr. Towed

Nel and Bob Carver, Moscow, Idaho

The 2019 Chatcolab participants pooled their collective ideas for naming the trailer that carries all our supplies back and forth to lab every year.

Jean Baringer submitted the winning entry, Mr. Towed, and as a result, she was awarded $100 off her 2020 registration. There were over thirty different names for labbers to choose from which really showed off the creativity of the group. They were so clever, in fact, that one labber even thought we needed a second trailer just to use another name. 

Now we have the opportunity to come up with the best graphics to go along with the name to paint on the side of the trailer. So put those thinking caps on once more and exude your creative juices and win yourself $100 off your registration. 

Submit your entries to Betsy Carver via email ([email protected]) or snail mail (6220 W Robertson Dr. Boise. Idaho 83709). The deadline for all submissions is March 30, 2020. 

Guide lines:

1. Be Creative, Be Creative, Be Creative

2. It should be timeless 

3. Something that is inviting & elicits questions 

4. Something that packages the idea of Chatcolab 

Our thanks again to Terry and Steve Weber for graciously storing the trailer, Mr. Towed for yet another year at their farm North of Moscow. 

Chat Chat Spring 2019

Chat Chat Spring 2019

What's inside?


Audrey Richmond, Boise, Idaho

An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message.

The word comes from the French acrostiche from post-classical Latin acrostichis, from Koine Greekἀκροστιχίς, from Ancient Greek ἄκρος"highest, topmost" and στίχος "verse").

To create an acrostic, follow these five easy steps:

1. Decide what to write about.

2. Write your word down vertically.

3. Brainstorm words or phrases that describe your idea.

4. Place your brainstormed words or phrases on the lines that begin with the same letters.

5. Fill in the rest of the lines to create a poem.

Creating an Acrostic in Five Easy Steps

Now let me show you how to follow these steps.

The first step is to decide what you would like to write an acrostic poem about. I recommend you start by writing an acrostic based on your name or on your favorite thing, whatever that happens to be.

It doesn’t matter if your favorite thing is soccer, video games, chocolate, music, pizza, movies, or anything else. Audrey made one for Chatcolab!

C-campfire songs
H-happy times
A-attitude of positivity
T-the importance of friends
O-open mind
L-love everybody
A-always laugh
B-be kind to everyone

Chat Chat Winter 2018

Chat Chat Winter 2018

What's inside?

A great place to give of yourself and try out your ideas!

Holly Purdy, Whitefish, Montana

Being the seeker I am, I generally find myself concerned with philosophical ideas surrounding questions like "What makes a person happy?" and "How can a person make themselves feel better when battling the inevitable monsters of shame, depression, unhappiness, and the like?"

The simple answer (that has taken me a very long time to learn on my own) is to volunteer and share your gifts: get out into your community and spread love (no matter how minuscule), share your gifts, and aim your attention and energy outward instead of inward.

A simple formula (simple, yet maybe not always easy).Chatcolab is an opportunity to do just that, and in doing so, gain confidence in your ideas, passions, and gifts. I've been a presenter, teaching yoga, at Chatcolab for the past two years, and what follows is a brief reflection on that experience.

Chatcolab is a brilliant place to share your passions and talents with an open-hearted audience. As a new yoga teacher, I wanted to share my love of yoga and mindfulness with families in a way that did not feel intimidating to me, and Chatcolab was the perfect place to pilot some of my ideas.

For the past two years, I taught a morning yoga class from 6:30-7:30 am for the early risers and anyone interested in trying out yoga in a comfortable, fun setting. My students ranged in ages from 10-80+, which gave me lots of good experience creating classes for ALL age ranges, abilities, and levels of experience.

Both years, I have come away with tons of new ideas, new friends, new inspirations, and new ways of thinking about my practice and the kind of yoga teacher I aspire to be.

Chatcolab is a great place to give of yourself and try out your ideas, whether you're new to a profession, been at it for ages, or anywhere in between. It's a leadership opportunity, a time to step outside of yourself, into your community, and share your gifts and talents.

It's a place to give back to the world, and I've found that when we do that, we make life so much sweeter for ourselves and those around us.

Chat Chat Fall 2018

Chat Chat Fall 2018

What's inside?

Forty-Five And At Camp

Tim McCain, El Cajon, CA 

As a youth, I was not exposed to the camp of any kind. No day camps, no church retreats, indeed not a week-long summer camp. It wasn't in the cards for my family. We had enough money barely for food and the basics. At 14, I was living on my own. Camp wasn't even on the radar. I hadn't given camp a thought. Period. No reason to. Until I heard about Chatcolab, it intrigued me. I was contacted to be a speaker. Had I not gone to this as a speaker, I am not sure I would have gone, but I am sincerely happy I did! I had no idea what to expect.

On the speaker side, I was good; we often go in very blind. We have to feel out a crowd and make adjustments as we go. This camp thing, however, was throwing me for a loop. When we checked in and got our badges, activities were already in full swing. It was mealtime. Everyone was gathered and eating. We sat down and started introducing ourselves. Everyone was warm and friendly. There was a goofy, fun-filled vibe of expectation in the room. After the meal we did ice breaker games, ending with singing songs. Everyone played all out and was rewarded with pure fun as a result. I went away that first night, thinking this was going to be a different experience for sure.

One I had never had before. It turns out I was right. The talks, the meals, the groups I had been through before, at various times in my life, this, however, seemed very different. What made it different at camp was the people, the closeness, the private talks, the solitary walks. A Solitary yet communal experience. If you can imagine several people sharing an experience, each on their journey. Every evening after the meal, the cleanup, and the evening activity, people would gather around in different spots and exchange ideas or sit in the silence of the beautiful setting we were in. Each morning was met with expectation and joy. We would gather for the flag-raising. We would have gratitude, a meal; then, we would speak of the day to come — a smile on everyone's face. The friendships and instant bonds made were worth the trip alone. I met great people. All from different walks of life. Conservatives, liberals, atheists, and Christian. The environment fostered compassion, respect, and empathy ....

Chat Chat Summer 2017

Chat Chat Summer 2017

What's inside?

Chatcolab 2017 Poem


``Planting Seeds of Leadership"...Nel Carver, Moscow, Idaho

From Yoga at the crack of dawn

We sang, danced and drew,

Playing golf upon the lawn,

Learned about horses too.

Chatcolab was amazing.

Made some paper with some seeds,

Having fun with late star gazing,

Even pulled some noxious weeds.

Learned Teddy was cool Cut and pasted,

Had a lake instead of a pool,

Not a minute to be wasted.

What fun we had,

Sailing to enjoy and tapping to do,

Telling stories till time for bed.

And laughter and shouting, Yahoo!

Planning an activity

Our time was short, so much to do,

Making bowls of kimchi.

Also waxed and dyed an egg or two.

Building our own game,

We ate and then we ate some more,

Learning everybody’s name.

Sang by the fire and cooked a s’more.

Making Soulcards© from materials galore,

We checked the water quality,

Visiting the costume store,

Felt we had won the lottery.

Using the compass to find our way,

With fishing and sharing in the shade,

Everyone had their say.

Great decisions were made,

We ran the meetings,

Parli Pro,

Some STEAMed along and all Connected,

Sang, re, me fa so, la, ti, Do.

Finding leadership skills and tips as expected.

Then appliqué stitched and sewn

Changed a tire, fixed a flat,

Planted seeds and know we’ve grown. 

Escaping rooms as quick as that.

We picked our tree and rolled a log,

Great presenters to be congratulated,

Some one tried to catch a frog.

2018 CHATCOLAB # 70, anticipated.

Chat Chat Spring 2017

...The seeds of leadership are in nearly everyone.

Chatcolab simply provides a little fertilizer (Ideas, Knowledge, Philosophy & Humor), water, and sunshine to help leaders grow, be transformed, and share.

There's tremendous benefit in planting seeds in due season for both young and old. Chatcolab is held in late Spring or early summer, when the ability to impart change is present—when the soil is tilled and the earth is fresh and we are able to cultivate.

An old Chinese proverb says the best time to plant a seed is 100 years ago; the next best time is today. We encourage each of you to plant your seeds at and after Chatcolab and reap the benefits for generations to come. The seeds we will be pondering...

Chat Chat Winter 2016

What's inside?

Remember This ...

  • No one will ask what kind of car you drove, but ask how many people you helped get where they needed to go.
  • No one will ask the square footage of your house, but ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
  • No one will ask how many friends you had, but ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
  • No one will ask about the color of your skin, but ask about the content of your character.
  • Helping, Welcome, Friendship & Character is an essence that takes place at CHATCOLAB, it is then extended and shared into our families, communities, and world!
  • Be a Bridge Builder...

- Tom Trail, Moscow, Idaho

Chat Chat Spring 2016

Chat Chat Spring 2016

What's inside?

Butterfly Fever

Chip Tudor, Newport, Washington

Kevin Laughlin gave me my first lesson in butterflies three years ago at my first Chatcolab. Since then I have become an avid butterfly student. This year, Ed Bechinski, an expert entomologist, from Idaho, presents two labs on butterflies. I have read Flight Behavior byBarbara Kingsolver, unwrapped my butterfly net, and am ready. Thanks, Kevin, for turning me into a 70-year old nutcase.