Girls' Night Out in Rock County to have fun, connect and give back

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

JANESVILLE—Amy Newton lives in Evansville and has family in Janesville and Beloit, but she worked in Madison and never met many women in Rock County.

Now she's working in Rock County and is bringing Girls' Night Out with her.

Newton in 2004 founded Girls' Night Out in Madison as an organization for women to meet other women, network, have fun and learn about and help charities.

"Women love to be able to meet other women and socialize," Newton said. "We show up, and everyone is just super social."

With help from about eight other Rock County women, Newton is starting Girls' Night Out Rock County. The group's first gathering is Wednesday, April 23.

"I became aware of the need to not only get me connected but these other great women connected," Newton said.

She will continue Girls' Night Out in Madison, where it has spawned lasting friendships.

One Girls' Night Out Madison participant mentioned her husband was unemployed. A week later, her husband found a job through her Girls' Night Out connections, Newton said.

Another Madison woman, who didn't have many city friends, joined Girls' Night Out Madison, too.

After being diagnosed with cancer, she was supported by her Girls' Night Out friends, Newton said.

“During her funeral visitation, her husband mentioned how many GNO women she'd met and how huge of a thing the group was to her,” she said.

During gatherings, women learn about local charities and what they need, which often is volunteers.

"Some people get asked all the time to volunteer, and they're getting burned out. Some people never get asked. That's my goal is to find new volunteers," Newton said.

Newton, 46, Evansville, said she's been surprised by the interest shown among Rock County women in Girls' Night Out. Since March 5, 453 women have liked the Facebook page for Girls' Night Out Rock County.

“I knew there was a need but didn't realize it would be that immediate,” Newton said.

Regardless of their situations “there's definitely a need for girl support,” Newton said.

Newton realized that when she was new to Madison in the early 1990s. She didn't know anyone and longed for friends.

Now as an account executive for Houck Transit Advertising in the Janesville and Beloit area, Newton continues to meet women eager to network .

More than 1,900 women are on Newton's Girls' Night Out mailing list, and Madison events typically attract between 20 and 50 women.

Newton wrote a code of ethics for Girls' Night Out, and the group's motto is: “Have fun, connect, give back.”

“These events are for fun only. This is a social gathering and not an opportunity to sell your products or try to do business. Expanding your circle of friends is the intention of GNO,” she said.

“I'm excited to see what we can do to give back to the community,” Newton said.

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