Regional Mini-Chats 2023

A Mini-Chat is a regional gathering of labbers (old and new) to connect, build community, and participate in activities including crafts, cooking, games, and leadership. A Mini-Chat is also a really good way to introduce friends and family to what a week at Chatcolab may be like.

In 2023 the board has committed to FOUR Regional and ONE virtual Mini-Chat. We hope you are able to attend one or more of the opportunities listed below (bring a friend or two).

~ VIRTUAL MINI-CHAT | August 19th from 12p-2p Central Time

Hosted by Janell Marmon, Mayville, North Dakota on ZOOM

Mary Driskill will be presenting on Inclusion
Explore Chatcolab’s leadership model and brainstorm programming for diverse audiences and interests
Slideshow about Chatcolab

Questions? RSVP. Contact Janell at [email protected] or call/text (863) 969-9272

~ BOISE MINI-CHAT | August 19th from 3pm to 7pm

Hosted by Nel Carver, Betsy Carver & Kevin Laughlin, 6198 West Robertson Drive, Boise, Idaho

Join us in Nel’s backyard for crafts and yard games
Learn more about what Chatcolab is all about
Bring a potluck dish to share for an early dinner, drinks will be provided

Questions? RSVP. Contact Betsy at [email protected] or call/text 310-776-0346

~ PACIFIC COUNTY FAIR MINI-CHAT | August 24th from 3pm-7pm

Hosted by Toni Gwin and Pam Watson, Pacific County Fair, Menlo, Washington

Learn what a Leadership Laboratory is all about
If you have been to Chatcolab – Let’s reconnect
Make a chorded bracelet

Questions? Contact Pam at (360) 425-9634 or [email protected]

~ WESTERN OREGON MINI-CHAT | August 26th from 10am – 6pm

Hosted at the home of Mary and Stew White, 40197 SE Kitmiller Rd, Eagle Creek, Oregon
The setting is a construction zone as Mary and Stew are rebuilding the residence

Bring a friend, your voice, and your hugs!
Water, coffee and tea will be provided
Potluck – bring something good to share for lunch and a snack
Some chairs are available, more would be welcome.

Questions? RSVP.  [email protected] or call Stew at 503-658-3995 or Mary at 503-706-1568

~ GREAT FALLS MINI-CHAT | August 13th starting at 5:30pm – 8:00pm

Hosted by Dave & Annette Chandler, & Sally Heard
Redeemer Lutheran Church, 332 Riverview Dr 3W, Great Falls, MT

All ages welcome
Bring a potluck dinner Item to share
Plates, cups, utensils and beverage included. Bring own beverage if desired. 
Sally will speak of writing a book
Annette will teach Rock Painting
Dave will teach raccoon circles teamwork

Questions? RSVP. Contact Dave & Annette Chandler at [email protected] or (406) 781-2711

Chatcolab in the News

Janell Marmon attended Chatcolab 2023.  She reflected upon the experience and the people she met in an article printed in the Cass County Reporter with a readership of around 4000 in rural Cass County, North Dakota. She also shared the article with  57 4-H staff in North Dakota’s county and university programs, as well as the 12 board members of the North Dakota Home School Association.

A Chatcolab Memory Stream

By Stewart White

Being on the Chatcolab board as a young man of about twenty-three was exciting. It as the first day of lab, early to mid-May. My partner and I were driving out of Camp Easter Seal under a blue, sunlit sky to set up ‘Burma Shave’ signs to reassure labbers that they were still on the right gravel road, all seven and a half miles of it!
I was expecting to meet Nancy E’s little sister, Patty. After setting the ‘last’ two signs, in reverse of-course, we saw a light-colored sedan approaching. As they passed by, I caught the license plate – those were the Montanans and the driver was Nancy!
Failing to warn my passenger, I spun my truck around in a smooth-but-fast 180 degree turn and pulled over behind the then stopped car. I guess Nancy noticed the truck. Ladies started climbing out of the car and a series of hugs were exchanged.
Out of the rear passenger side of the came a pretty darned short gal. “You must be Patty,” I said. She replied with a definite and somewhat snarky, “No.”
“That’s okay, you deserve a hug anyway,” I replied. I proceeded to a bear-like E-hug. That’s a serious hug that often elicits an “eee” sound.

I guess it was a pretty good hug. We got married a few years later and we’re still together after nearly 41 years. Oh, and we celebrate our “monthaversary” on the 21st of each month.

Stew White wrote his memory stream at 2:14 a.m. on the last day of the Chatcolab Northwest
Recreational Laboratory as he ended another stint on the board, this time as Vice-Chair. He and
wife Mary are integral members of the Chatcolab family, and for those who don’t know, Stew is
still giving hugs to Mary and others who are lucky enough to know this couple of sweethearts at
Chatcolabs during the past 40-plus years.

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