BEMIDJI BONDS: Bemidji women gather to celebrate being amazing
On a sunny summer day, women from around Bemidji drove down backroads to an area that could be classified as no-man's land and between rural Laporte and Guthrie to dine and dish about all that is woman.
On a sunny summer day, women from around Bemidji drove down backroads to an area that could be classified as no-man’s land and between rural Laporte and Guthrie to dine and dish about all that is woman.
The ladies were attending the July Dinner with Amazing Women gathering hosted by event organizer Amber Neumann at her home.
Neumann dreamed up the idea in 2013 and started hosting dinners. After creating Dinner with Amazing Women, Neumann moved to Grand Forks.
Without their hostess, the group stopped meeting, but when Neumann returned home to Bemidji, she revitalized the group this year.
“It’s just still a good idea,” Neumann said. “It’s really chill and a good socializing opportunity. That’s ultimately why the group was created.”
Neumann chose Tuesday evenings as a designated meeting time because it doesn’t conflict with many other events such as church groups, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, school activities and entertainment venue’s open mic nights.
Women range in age from their early 20s to the boomer generation and bring experience from all walks of life. Some of the women at July’s meeting describe themselves as freelancers, freespirits, customer service representatives, hardware specialists and entrepreneurs.
“I think it’s great,” said Sue Neumann, Amber’s mother. “I enjoy it more each time.”
To join the group there are two criteria: identify as being a woman and at your first meeting tell other attendees what makes you amazing. Kendra Olson, an LBGT advocate, attended her second dinner July 21. Olson said Dinner with Amazing Women is an inclusive group that is welcoming to transgender women, which she said isn’t easy to find in rural communities.
“It’s common ground for all women,” said Lorrie Richardson. “I refer to it as rebels with a cause, to support other women.”
Richardson, who has attended previous dinners, said it helps empower the next generation by creating mentoring relationships. Erja Wiltse, originally from Finland, said not only are the dinners fun, they’re a great way to network with local women.
About a dozen women attended the shindig at Neumann’s place in July. She said attendance is lower in the summer and grows to between 40 to 75 women in the winter. Dinner with Amazing Women will be meeting next Aug. 18 from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. at Bemidji Brewing Co. Some meetings are topic specific, other times free flowing. The group’s Facebook page, Dinner With Amazing Women, announces upcoming gatherings.