Thursday, October 11, 2012

DAR - Getting to know you


I know what clubs are like.  I’ve served on plenty of church committees and chaired some.  I committed eight years to the Junior Woman’s Club of Portsmouth chairing committees, serving as president, and even serving as a committee chairman on the district level.  I was a Girl Scout leader and attended all those council meetings.  I helped start the Western Branch Little League and build our field of dreams.

I know how people can get sidetracked in discussion, how people can be anal when it comes to procedure, how people can resist change.

So I knew what to expect when my sister Mary Jollette and I attended our first DAR meeting on Thursday, October 4. 

It was both funny and inspiring to watch multiple generations at work.  On the one hand, the younger members (and by “younger” I mean hip grandmothers) are trying to make the DAR relevant to younger women.  On the other wrinkled hand, some older members are there for lunch.

Mary Jollette and Pam
As we passed through the gate into the front yard of the Fort Nelson DAR house, we were greeted by Pam, the Registrar, a real go-getter.  We signed in as guests and donned our name tags.  Pam gave us a Bingo-like card with VADAR (Virginia DAR) across the top.  Instead of numbers, the boxes were filled with information about various members of Fort Nelson.  We were to introduce ourselves to the members and ask them to sign a square that applied to them.  For example, has a dog, lived overseas, doesn’t have a cell phone, adores pink, had a big wedding, was a nurse, is a retired teacher.  As soon as we had 5 signatures in a row, we could turn in our card for a prize.

I usually hate activities like this because I’m shy.  No, really, I am.  But it turned out to be not so bad.  The members were very gracious and willing to help -- except for one woman with badly-applied makeup who was skeptical of the whole thing and feared she would be put on a committee if she signed her name to a square.  As it turns out, there were a couple women from my neighborhood, and one woman had been a popular substitute teacher where I taught in public school.  In fact, she had subbed for me. 

The business meeting followed the social hour.  It began with a ritual of pledge to the flag, singing the national anthem, and reciting the DAR creed. Committee reports followed.  The women's pride and enthusiasm for their pet projects certainly made up for certain members' inability to keep up with the motion on the floor and others' efforts to rehash old issues that had already been voted on.  We heard reminders to vote, announcements of activities for Columbus Day and Yorktown Day and Veterans Day.  We heard about some projects involving the Veterans Hospital and DAR museum and library.  Some members were recognized for milestone years of service.  One member spoke about her patriot ancestor’s genealogy.  And finally every prospective member introduced herself and gave the name of her patriot.

Following the business meeting, the members had lunch and after that a program.  However, we were unable to stay for that part.  But I can tell there are some cooks in this group.  The dining room table was overflowing!  I hope to plan my time better for the next meeting because the program promises to be outstanding.  Club day is practically an all-day affair at Fort Nelson DAR.


16 comments:

  1. I'm so glad your first meeting went well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so mixed about this whole DAR thing - I don't like to plan things on Saturday that don't include my husband and the meetings here are all on Saturday. And I don't really like the whole "social" thing as you describe (although that activity sounds cool and I just might steal it at some point). But I really want to join DAR because I can and I'd like to leave that legacy to my daughters and grandchildren.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post about your first DAR meeting! I kind of have the same feelings about joining DAR as Debi. I'd like to 'cause I can, but I don't want to have to go to the meetings and be committed to all the activities, etc. It will be fun to vicariously enjoy your DAR activities and meetings until I decide whether or not to pursue my own DAR membership. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Debi and Jana, I wonder if we can start a Virtual DAR chapter? One of you would make a fine Regent! Seriously, I'm with you. I want the DAR membership to complete the work my mother had started because she wanted the membership, but I wasn't WOWed at the meeting. I am honestly interested in some of the projects, but others are a complete snooze. We were told from the git-go we are welcome to do as much or as little as we want, even nothing if we want. When they were recognizing members for service (that is, membership), some don't even live here. So I think I could be ok with this group. Right now, this chapter meets in the day, but they want to change a few of the meetings to either a night or Saturday to accommodate younger members who are still working. Prospective members were polled, and I voted for night time because like Debi, I don't want to give up a Saturday. However, I think Saturday is winning because of the older members who don't want to drive at night. Sigh ~

    ReplyDelete
  5. Virtual DAR chapter - why couldn't we? There have got to be others out there who feel the exact same way. You also bring up another good point - not living near the chapter you're a member of. Maybe it would make sense to join a chapter near where my patriot lived (CT and OH) which just happens to be on the other side of the country from where I live (WA).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debi, I had originally thought too that you join where your patriot lived, but that's not so. You join where you can actually DO something, because I'm sure while all kinds of members are welcome, the practical reality is they need living, breathing, working bodies to carry on the causes of patriotism, preservation, research, etc.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for posting your observations on your DAR meeting experience, Wendy. I'm about to visit my local group for the first time this month, so I'm really watching for everything you write on the subject!

    What was an eye-opener to me was even confronting the thought that DAR has regular meetings and activities. It revealed my own pre-conceived notions and attitudes about the whole topic. I guess I saw DAR as an end-game strategy: prove that I'm one of them (because I know I qualify). I never had given it any thought what I would/could do after attaining that stamp of DAR approval.

    It turns out that there is a whole world of opportunity...and commitments...out there for DAR involvement. Like you, I'm not sure I want to give up certain times I reserve for family. I'm not one of those hip grandmothers, and I have a lot of other obligations to attend to.

    But it was certainly a paradigm shift kind of experience to actually give some thought to the fact that achieving DAR membership is not the end of the process; it is only the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew DAR was active because of DAR essay contests that my students participated in when I was still teaching and because of a service I attended when the DAR dedicated a new tombstone for a Revolutionary War veteran whose grave had recently been found. BUT I had no idea just how active they are until I heard all those reports. I hope you'll post about your meeting.

      Delete
  7. I have been searching for my husbands and my daughters Revolutionary War Ancestors. My ancestors are relative newcomers. I will give them the information and see what they do with it.

    I am glad there were a lot of military patriots in both sides of our family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you check dar.org you might find that your patriot has already been proven.

      Delete
  8. I'd never heard of DAR and had to research it but Now I think I know what it is. tTe introduction game actually sounds like a good idea to break the ice, but i don't blank that one member for being a bit suspicious

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you can certainly be forgiven for not knowing about the DAR. In fact, it would be ironic if there were a chapter in your neck of the woods. HA! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a good meeting. I, too, am shy and usually stay away from activities like that. I've been thinking, though, that maybe I should try and get involved in something that'll take me out of my head for a while. Maybe...

    Glad you had a good time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your head could probably use a break. Good to see you out and about in blogland.

      Delete
  10. You should have posted YOUR picture signing in with Pam. Pam is great. Too bad you didn't talk about the piano DISCUSSION-LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheesh -- I couldn't stand to relive it in detail. I did reference it in the penultimate paragraph. (I love that word and am grateful for the opportunity to use it!)

      Delete