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.