August 5, 2021
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Discover “The Best of Britain” in July 2022
Many pleasures were delayed over the past year for safety, including “The Best of Britain” tour for GFWC members, hosted by President Marian St.Clair and President-elect Deb Strahanoski. Luckily, the tour has been rescheduled for July 20-29, 2022, and you can still reserve spots for you and your friends or family.
Over the years, Marian has created 20+ tours with Discover Europe, a US-based operator that specializes in custom tours for clients such as Tufts University and Smith College. The upcoming 2022 GFWC tour features some of Marian’s favorite sites in England, including the garden of Prince Charles at his private estate, Highgrove, and the art studio of Winston Churchill at his country home, Chartwell.
The tour also includes visits to two world-renowned gardens, Sissinghurst, a plant-filled paradise built around the remains of a 14th century castle, and Great Dixter, home of garden writer Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006), the most influential gardener of the 20th century. Get a peek at Lloyd’s amazing home and garden in a video created for the recent GFWC Board of Directors Meeting. You will also find an enticing array of other adventures in the tour brochure, from shopping and antiquing in pretty villages of the Cotswolds, to visiting Jane Austen’s humble abode in a tiny Hampshire village, and even touring Downton Abbey’s famous Highclere Castle.
Navigating the New Normal with Schools
By Tina Daniel, GFWC Education and Libraries Chairman
Returning to school in the past was an easy thing. Today, this activity has taken on new meaning as staff, students, and families prepare for the new normal of in-person learning. Students benefit from learning in person, and our schools play an important part of that infrastructure in our communities as an often safe and supportive part of a child’s daily life. Students in school develop critical social and emotional skills to improve their life outcomes.
Over the years, our clubs have given tremendous support to schools as they open. One key way clubs have done this is through donating school supplies and tutoring students. This year, however, clubs may need to think outside of the box to help staff and students who have been affected by social isolation. In fact, many school systems may be using federal funds to purchase all of the necessary school supplies to help families impacted by the coronavirus economically and may not need donated items.
The CDC considers promoting vaccination among those eligible to be the most critical strategy for resuming full-time and in-person school operations. Within this focus area, clubs could partner to help educate about the vaccine, organize vaccine clinics, or provide written educational materials. Clubs can assist by providing a vaccination location, such as a clubhouse, organizing a COVID-19 vaccine presentation for your community, or encouraging community leaders such as yourselves to be vaccine champions.
Clubs could also sponsor a physical outlet at all school levels, such as an early-bird running club for students coming to school early; jump ropes, hula hoops, and other playground equipment; or yoga for youth programs in which an educator holds classes to provide social or emotional support. The pandemic has left many adults and children feeling socially isolated and lonely, and studies indicate that there are elevated signs of depression and anxiety. Isolation has increased screen time and reduced physical activity.
Start planning your new back-to-school project today! Submit your out-of-the-box project successes to PR@GFWC.org to be considered for the GFWC Blog. Please note that any photographs of children require written consent from a parent or legal guardian to be published.
Volunteers in Action
This week’s GFWC Blog features GFWC Women’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa (Colorado) and the Women’s Club of Collinsville (Illinois). Check out these stories about clubwomen making hundreds of homemade cookies to show their appreciation to frontline workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and raising more than $10,000 for a local food pantry.
Have a success story to tell? Email PR@GFWC.org to have your club project considered for the GFWC Blog.
Safety Protocols Required at GFWC Annual Convention
We are looking forward to seeing you at the 2021 GFWC Annual Convention to participate in business sessions and catch up safely after being apart for more than a year! All attendees and staff members onsite will be asked to comply with health and safety guidelines and precautions recommended by the CDC and federal agencies, including an executive order signed by Atlanta, Georgia, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms requiring people to wear face masks indoors in public places. The order mandates that individuals must wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status. In addition to being required to wear a face mask in all public areas, Convention participants are asked to maintain a safe and reasonable distance between others in attendance, minimize touching, and frequently wash or sanitize their hands. There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the hotel.
GFWC also recognizes that the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the U.S. represent a safe and effective method of addressing the ongoing pandemic. Accordingly, GFWC encourages its members to get a COVID-19 vaccine and to work with our Affiliate Organizations and with entities in their local communities to promote and advocate for the vaccine. Read the GFWC Position Statement: COVID-19 Vaccine posted on www.GFWC.org.
An Opportunity to Thrive!
By Becky Wright, GFWC Membership Committee Chairman
Retaining members is vital for membership growth and a winning recruitment season. As the world re-opens and clubs are warming up for their fall season opener, this is the perfect time to assess your team to find ways to help your membership thrive. Seize the opportunity to help your members step up to the plate with confidence, knowing that their input is valued.
- Use the sample Club Survey located within the “M” Resources of the Member Portal’s Digital Library to determine what projects are meaningful to your current members.
- Take action to make sure that “at-risk” members are staying in the game. Does a member need to be moved from spectator to the starting lineup? Would a seasoned member prefer a less demanding position?
Touch base with each club member to determine the who, what, when, and why of encouraging members to stay in the game. Share how you will let your team know that we are counting on them for a winning season on GFWC’s Facebook page.
Heifer International’s Green Business Belt
GFWC Affiliate Organization Heifer International firmly believes that farmers can restore the health of the Earth while running businesses that allow them to make ends meet. The Green Business Belt offers a dynamic example of how being a good steward of the land is ideal for the people and the planet.
Heifer Guatemala’s Green Business Belt project is supporting 6,250 farmers to secure a living income in the northern rainforest through sustainable spice production. It works to help small to medium spice-related enterprises scale-up their businesses and access high-value markets. The project focuses on sustainable production in agroforestry systems to protect the tropical forest and restore deteriorated lands, improving forest management across 4,750 acres of biodiverse agroforestry systems. It also seeks to create and strengthen spice-related businesses with strong production, accountability, and sale processes. The lucrative spices being grown by Heifer’s farming partners include cardamom, black pepper, allspice, annatto, clove, and cinnamon.
Farmers are receiving agricultural inputs, specialized training, and technical assistance to generate strong and lasting income through social green enterprises in the spice value chain. More importantly, the Green Business Belt is a scalable program with potential for implementation across other countries where Heifer works in future years. With sustainability always at the crux, Heifer International looks forward to ending hunger and poverty while caring for our Earth.
Johns Hopkins Webinar August 10
Johns Hopkins Medicine is offering a webinar at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 10, about the signs of anxiety that children may be feeling about returning to school after a tumultuous year of virtual learning. Join host Hal Kronsberg, M.D., a psychiatrist and former public school teacher, to discuss isolation, loneliness, apprehension, depression, and suicide ideation, which has tripled among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Johns Hopkins website to register for this event.
State President’s Project: Nancy Kaufman, Wyoming
Despite a challenging year, the sisterhood of GFWC Wyoming clubwomen remained strong as they strove to “Be the Light” in their communities. GFWC Wyoming State President Nancy Kaufman’s focus is on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Wyoming women rallied to relieve the anxiety, isolation, and trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clubwomen opened their hearts and wallets in many ways to help others. Every club in the state supported their local food banks. Clubwomen also made thousands of masks for schools, senior centers, day cares, veterans’ service centers, and wherever needed. In addition, clubs brought lunches to weary wildfire firefighters and to Habitat for Humanity building crews. They also collected and donated money, clothes, toiletries, blankets, toys, books, household items, and shoes for homeless shelters, children, single mothers, veterans, and unaccompanied students. Members’ efforts also led to a new home for unaccompanied high school students being opened.
For another project, two Buddy Benches were completed and placed on school playgrounds, with more planned. Lastly, during an annual city-wide collaboration, GFWC clubs baked, frosted, and packaged hundreds of cookies to give to single airmen in the barracks at F.E. Warren AFB on Valentine’s Day to let them know they are not alone.
In April, GFWC Wyoming held an in-person convention with representatives from eight of the nine state clubs. The convention included presentations from National Alliance on Mental Illness and Grace for 2 Brothers Foundation, a suicide support organization. Members left feeling eager to find ways to aid both. Collections benefitted GFWC Affiliate Organization March of Dimes, local food pantries, Nike Grind, and Free the Girls.
One positive from this difficult year was the camaraderie between clubs. Members drove hundreds of miles to champion each other’s projects and are committed to lifting the spirits of those around them by being kind and taking care of each other and their communities.
GFWC Marketplace: Headquarters Notebook
Whether you are planning for future club projects or preparing for an upcoming meeting, there is no better time to purchase a GFWC Headquarters Notebook to help you organize your thoughts and stay on top of your to-do list. This spiral-bound notebook features a 1929 cover of General Federation News that includes a gorgeous illustration of GFWC Headquarters. Order yours today.
There have been reports of mail service delays in many communities throughout the United States. In order to speed up processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at time of purchase in the Member Portal. For details on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page.