My first year as president was 2018-2019. My theme was “What’s the Buzz?” because of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of International P.E.O. and the 100-year celebration of Chapter AZ\CO in May 2019, I imagined we would be “busy as bees” getting ready for these two events. I used the “bee” to help carry AZ’s theme and called the summary of our meetings “The Buzz.” My second year as president was 2019-2020 with the theme “A Year of Celebrations.” Our meeting summary remained “The Buzz.” We also got to celebrate a 50-year Golden Girl, Sister Joyce Acre.
We’ve sung the Opening Ode at the beginning of each meeting since I became president (to honor the original sisterhood.) Our attendance at regular meetings in 2019 ranged from 12 or 13 up to between 20-26. The average attendance at just regular meetings was 16.58 members.
We combine Founder’s Day each year with two Brighton chapters, Chapter BN and Chapter FA. We three chapters rotate who decides on the location, the program and the meal. Chapter AZ furnished the meal this year and last year we did a program about the early lives of the Founders, including growing up and family life.
Sister Jeanne Schmidt joined Chapter Eternal in February, 2019. A donation of $10 was made to Chapter House in her memory. She will be missed. She allowed us to have meetings at her house whenever we wanted to so that she could attend them. She was always so gracious. Several Sisters lost family members this year and each gave a $10 donation to Chapter House in their memory.
Several officers attended the P.E.O. Spring Workshop in Loveland on April 13. Each of us received a lot of helpful information.
Early in March 2019, Sister Marge Klein was inducted into the Republican Party Hall of Fame for her volunteer work. This is the second year the Republican Party has given this honor to someone. We are very proud of her.
Each year Chapter AZ makes twelve May baskets then delivers them to shut-ins or members who have not been attending meetings hoping, to revive their interest in attending meetings. The baskets are filled with many different useful items. The recipients are always surprised and thrilled when they receive one. It is a fun group activity for the chapter.
Our P.E.O. sisters worked on the chapter’s 100-year celebration–a Tea Party in May.
Our Sister Fern graciously allowed us to have the celebration at her home. Several of us experienced the joy of painting rocks to look like bees. That proved to be quite an activity–but fun!
Each member wore a hat and gloves to the Tea Party and loaned the chapter whatever teacups and tea pots they had. We had a beautiful 3-tier cake frosted in yellow and/or white frosting and decorated with white daisies. A decorated tea pot sat on the top. It was made of Rice Krispy Cereal so it would be edible and could be shaped like a tea pot. We received so many positive comments about the cake and a lot of sisters took pictures of it also. We used the tea pot cake as refreshment at a meeting after our celebration. Several different Chapters attended from surrounding areas. Several past state presidents attended. We were so pleased that we were represented so well. Our chapter’s non-resident (60-year member from California) sent us a congratulations card and a donation. We were delighted that the group picture of our Chapter’s 100 year celebration was in the September/October issue of the Record. The City of Fort Lupton gave our Chapter a proclamation about being 100-years as a P.E.O. Chapter AZ.
The Chapter celebrated our 50-year Golden Girl, Joyce Acre, with a tea and luncheon on
August 6. It was held at a small museum and tea house in the country. Joyce received a plaque made by a chapter member. She also received two bouquets of yellow and white carnations and white daisies. Everyone seemed to enjoy the little museum as it brought back a lot of memories of the past and our years of growing up. We especially enjoyed honoring Sister Joyce.
In June, Sister Marge Klein and her BIL, Larry, hosted a BBQ with other members furnishing side dishes and/or desserts. There were ten of us there. We had a delicious meal and lots of conversation. We found out that Larry was from the same town in Nebraska as our transfer Sister, so they knew quite a few of the same people. Small world….
Chapter AZ awards a scholarship to a graduating high school senior every year. The scholarship was raised to $750 this year. Thirteen applications were received. Gabrielle Norby, daughter of Sister Jennifer Norby, received the 2019 scholarship.
Our fundraisers vary. We have the small ones (25 cents or donation) for birthday money, not wearing pin, brag money, money for a chance at the traveling basket at each meeting. One of our sisters who quilts has donated two quilts and people give donations for a ticket. It has been a huge success during the Trapper Day’s Art and Quilt Show at the Library in Fort Lupton. Another fundraiser we have done is saving $1.00 bills with the four “7”s on the front side (one “7” in each corner). The Chapter does well with that also. We do concessions at the ball field occasionally during summer.
I attended the 2019 P.E.O. State Convention as a Delegate. It was held at the Embassy Suites in Loveland in June. There were 293 voting delegates and a total of 600 in attendance. Past State President, L J VanBelkum, installed the 2019-2020 State Officers. State President Janelle Rodriguez EN has as her theme “The Heart of Change-Inspire, Encourage and Reward”, Lia Christians IZ, State Organizer; Paisley Huntoon IF, State Treasurer; and Cory Tanner FT, State Secretary were installed.
In September I met my daughter Kenna Hirschfield and her BIL Greg in Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the Sesquicentennial Celebration of P.E.O. They live in Durham, NC. Kenna is a two-year president of Chapter AE in Durham, NC.
The first person we saw and talked to when we got to the Convention Center in Des Moines was Margie Martinez from Chapter I in Greeley. I saw each of the State Officers – their tables at the final dinner was a table or two away from where the North Carolina’s sisters and BILs sat.
Words cannot express what an experience the celebration was. It was amazing! Final count of attendance was a few over 6000. The exhibits were outstanding. Dresses made in styles like the original sisters probably wore were exhibited on dress forms. These dresses were made of screen. We talked to one of Sisters who acted as a guide and she said each dress took about forty hours to make. In another exhibit, volunteers wore long black dresses and one-shoulder aprons like the original Sisters wore for the first time when they entered the church in front of the I.C. Sorosis group.
We took a tour bus to Winterset, the birthplace and home where John Wayne grew up. An interesting fact is that he weighed 13 pounds at birth! A museum is on the opposite corner of the block where his home was. Inside is lots of history about his life and the movies he made.
We also got to see three of the six “Bridges of Madison County”. The most famous is the Roseman Bridge because it’s the one you see in the movie “Bridges of Madison County” starring Clint Eastwood. We took several buses and walked across “the bridge.”
We toured the P.E.O. headquarters. It was amazing with all the antiques and history inside. We got our pictures taken next to “the new brand” on the grounds in front of the headquarters. It’s very nice. Our chapter donated $150. to the $150. Fund.
Our outstanding program at a meeting this year was given by Sister Claire. She went to the Holy Land this year and gave a program at one of our meetings, telling us all about her trip. I was in Des Moines and didn’t get to hear it but heard it was exceptional with pictures and stories.
In October the Chapter went to a Fall Family Festival at Anderson’s Farms just north of Erie. Not many attended but the two young boys who went enjoyed it very much. There were lots of fun things to do there.
On October 31, P.E.O. Chapter AZ participated in a “Trick or Treat Street” in downtown Fort Lupton. Three “busy bees” from Chapter AZ handed out candy that Chapter members had donated. Two were dressed as “’bees.” More than 1000 kids participated.
The Chapter’s Christmas party was held at Sister Fern’s home. She always has it decorated beautifully! Twenty-six sisters attended and brought “finger foods” for a potluck dinner. Afterwards,
we played a Jeopardy game made up by Sister Barb I. about the holidays. It was fun! A few years ago,
it was decided instead of giving each other a gift, each sister would buy a gift card (where to and how much at the discretion of each sister.) They are collected in a basket and the content goes to Miracle House, a safe house for family(ies) in temporary need. This year $585. was collected and given to the families for their holidays.
We had three new members join our Chapter before the year ended. One was a reinstatement from Chapter HR in Nebraska, another was a transfer from Brighton Chapter FA and the third was an initiation.
As you can tell, our “hive” has been very active. We have had a very busy, fun, productive year.
Lovingly in P.E.O.,
Vicki L. Ceretto