Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014: a truly extraordinary year!

Happy New Year, LEP members and blog readers! Have you written your first letter of 2015? Did you get the year right? I'm proud to say that I wrote 2 letters so far, and I didn't need to use any correction tape for the dates. That's a pretty big victory for us letter writers, isn't it?!

So 2014 has come and gone, and now 2015 is here. But before we start thinking about all the great things we want to accomplish this year (I don't know about you, but world peace is on my list in 2015), let's see what happened in the penpal club in 2014:

+ The League had a big makeover as I launched LEP 2.0 on February 1. Back then, the penpal club counted 150 members. Would you believe that by the end of the year, membership had more than TRIPLED?! That's right: on December 31, the group had grown to 461 active members! Wow. We were sad to see 57 members leave over 2014, but really excited to welcome 368 new members! That's one new member a day on average.

+ Some members got involved in the beginning of the year: the LEP REPS! These ladies do an excellent job of helping new members get accustomed to the club when they join the Facebook group. Thank you my friends!

+ My personal life went from disastrous (ruptured ectopic pregnancy, emergency surgery, separation) to phenomenal (met my soulmate through the LEP (of all places!), got married and lived happily ever after). My wife became even more involved with the League and is now in charge of the customer service. If you need assistance with your membership, Denise will be happy to help!

+ Michael AKA Slayer of Popcorn became the first man to take a look at the lesbian massage parlor's webcam (he glanced for about a second, and promptly fainted). He also started writing for the newsletter: the article, the website of the month, and DID YOU KNOW, a collection of totally unresearched and unverified facts about League Members!

+ The LEP got some media coverage in 2014. One of the articles that mentioned us was by Kate Dailey in BBC News Magazine: The allure of an old-fasioned pen pal. Another one was by Jessica Bateman in The Guardian: Dear pen pal: how writing letters to strangers is making a comeback.

+ We got a new illustrator! Beth AKA Phantom Image has an impressive portfolio, and she gracefully accepted to do the superhero portraits you see in the monthly newsletter. All the staff got brand new portraits as well!

+ Hundreds of friendships blossomed, and dozens of LEP meetings happened all around the world. The biggest one was in the UK, with 11 members present. Another one involved 6 LEP members in Michigan. And I was lucky enough to meet a few LEPsters myself when I went on a crazy road trip across the United States in April!

+ In addition to all our existing LEP clubs (Reading Lair, Mail Art Heroes, Needles and Nonsense, and The LEP Fountaineers), we created a baking club: Tea and Treats, and a LEP Flea Market.

+ Close to 50 official swaps were hosted through our monthly newsletter, the LEP clubs and the Facebook group. Some of them were documented on the blog: the Random Object Swap, the ABC Letter Swap, the Mail Art Supply Swap, the Ugly Mail Swap, the Made Up Story Postcard, and the Home Postcard Swap.

+ The LEPep Squad was created, and currently counts 128 cheerleaders who receive a weekly pep rally email. Our mission? Welcome new members, and bring some extra cheer to LEP members who are struggling.

+ Our very first LEP Recipe eBook was published. Don't look at it while you're hungry, because I promise you will drool everywhere!

+ Thousands of letters were written and read across the globe. This fact alone makes me incredibly happy.

Long live the LEP! Thanks for making my 2014 so special. I love you guys! I'm convinced that the coming year will be even better. If you're reading this and still aren't a member, I hope you'll join the fun in 2015!

Julie,
AKA Super Sushi
xox

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