Airdrie-based group Ladies Out Loud (LOL) has moved into the Diamond Events Room at the local Best Western hotel, just in time to resume events as the province reopens following 16 months of public health restrictions.
LOL is a group for Airdrie women that focuses on maintaining members’ social health through activities, workshops, events and gatherings. The activities aim to encourage authenticity, growth and fun.
“So, [LOL] is basically that safe space and a community for women to come together to learn, [laugh], build their confidence and get bold,” said founder Karen MacDonald.
Scottish-born MacDonald has deep roots in community involvement. Having been a resident of Airdrie for 23 years, she has worked as a certified professional life coach and at the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie.
She said that LOL began after she would use her life coaching skills to put on various events for women and girls. MacDonald organized Airdrie’s first V-Day event in 2013 – The Vagina Monologues. V-Day is a global activist movement that originated in 1998 when playwright Eve Ensler had the first showing of her play by the same name.
The event has come to be known globally for its contribution to women’s empowerment and the women’s movement. MacDonald said it was her own experiences as a woman, mother, and sexual abuse survivor that motivated her to run the Airdrie version of the event, which eventually became the foundation for forming LOL.
“I wanted to help women. I wanted to be able to support them in their journey, whatever that may look like,” she said, “We all have a story to tell.”
All of the proceeds from The Vagina Monologues went toward supporting North Rocky View Community Links and the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society.
MacDonald is hoping LOL’s new home in the Best Western Diamond Event Centre – now called the Ladies Out Loud Event Centre – will further enhance her aim to create a safe and supportive space for women to come together in pain, sorrow, laughter and joy.
“Coming together in our own space has been a goal of mine for a long time,” she said.
Not only will the centre host events, but MacDonald said they will also feature fitness classes, line-dancing, tea-time chatter, a lending library, live speakers and much more, all with the goal of bringing Airdrie women together.
MacDonald is also interested in having local artists display their work on the currently blank walls of the centre and potentially hosting live music as well.
Events and activities were previously only available to paying members of LOL. But MacDonald said the membership program is currently on hold until December, with the hope this will encourage individuals to come out and see what the group is all about.
“It’ll all come together, and people will see that there’s value in what we have to offer,” she said.