Women's Group Blooms With Membership Growth
August 3, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--It’s time for the women of Redstone Arsenal to unite.
Do you like participating in a group interested in both your personal and professional development? Do you want to help local charities by raising funds and making donations to their missions? Do you want a chance to network with women from different commands and organizations all across the Arsenal?
Then, the Redstone Arsenal Community Women’s Club is for you.
Last year, the group " formerly known as the Officers and Civilians Womens Club " opened its doors to all women of Redstone, regardless of their professional positions or their military ties. The club began offering its membership to any woman who has access to Redstone.
And with that change, which is reflected in the club’s new name, membership has skyrocketed.
“We have tripled our membership,” club president Tonya Daniels said. “It grew expeditiously because we opened it to many different Arsenal groups who were not invited before.
“For 35 years, we were a club for officers’ wives and high-ranking civilian women. But now we are open to all women who want to come together to network, learn from each other and give back to their community.”
Last year, the club had 232 members. On Aug. 16, the club will launch its 2011-12 program year with a membership drive " known as Membership Super Sign Up -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Overlook, located just off the post golf course near the Officers and Civilians Club.
“The year’s kickoff will be more than a membership drive. There will be a lot of excitement and fun,” Daniels said about a club whose mantra is “helping others while having fun.”
The membership drive event will be more like a membership fair with a Hawaiian beach theme. Sandwiches will be served, and there will be vendor booths selling everything from jewelry and candles to cosmetics and fashion bags. In addition, exhibitor booths will highlight on-post and off-post community and health services, including the American Red Cross, Fox Army Health Center, Crestwood Hospital, Army Community Service, Arts and Crafts, Scouting, Child Youth and School Services, Veterinary Services, Thrift Shop and Bicentennial Chapel.
There will also be opportunities to sign up for special activity groups sponsored by the club. These include the Lunch Bunch, Book Club, Bunco, Gourmet Club, and Crafts and Quilting.
“Anyone who wants to start a special group activity only has to express an interest. All they need is someone who will lead the group and enough member interest to keep the group going,” Daniels said.
Annual membership in the club costs $20. The membership form as well as club information can be found online at www.rsacwc.org. It is hoped, though, that renewing and new members will make it a point to take advantage of the activities planned for the Super Sign Up event.
“Women can visit us at anytime between 10 and 2 on the 16th. They can shop, visit with each other and just have a fun time getting together to renew their membership or to sign up for the first time,” Daniels said. “We hope to have a really good crowd because we have a lot of new people who have come in this past year.”
Opportunities for new friendships, community involvement, networking, topical information and vendor shopping are all reasons to be part of the Community Women’s Club.
“My personal reason for being part of this club is the camaraderie with so many wonderful women and the good we can do in the community with our involvement and fund-raising,” Daniels said. “This group gives us a way of touching lives and volunteering for our community. It gives our members many ways to be involved.”
With membership, women are invited to the club’s monthly activities, which include a membership luncheon on the second Tuesday of each month beginning with social time at 10:30 a.m. at the Officers and Civilians Club. The first luncheon event, planned with the theme Ultimate Welcome Luncheon, is Sept. 13 and will include guest speaker Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton.
“We will be the first group to use the renovated ballroom at the Officers and Civilians Club,” Daniels said. “We will be doing some ice breaker activities and other things to make it a lot of fun and to welcome everyone back for the year’s activities.”
The luncheons are planned so that those members who are at their leisure can enjoy the entire program while working members can enjoy lunch at the special express tables that allow them to come in late and leave early as needed.
The year’s lunch programs include: Oct. 11 " jewelry designer and licensed gemologist Vicky Stickles; Nov. 8 " Gen. Ann Dunwoody, Women in the Military; Dec. 13 " Christmas wreath decorating activity; Jan. 10 " Garrison schools liaison Barbara Williams; Feb 14 --romance novelist Kimberly Lang; March 13 " Bingo at the Challenger Club; April 10" fashion show; and May 8 " community assistance program.
In addition, at each luncheon there are vendor booths where members can shop for special gifts.
Besides the networking, fellowship and learning opportunities of the club, it also offers members the opportunity to give to local charities through their membership.
“We have added the position of outreach coordinator to our board this year,” Daniels said. “This coordinator is working with the community to find out what immediate needs are so that we can disburse funds as needed during the year. We also make large donations each May after an application process, and we will be taking up monthly collections for various community charities.”
The following charities have been chosen to receive collections of monetary and supply donations during the 2011-12 year: October " Humane Society; November " Veterans Homeless Program; December " Marine Corps Toys for Tots; January " local school programs in need; February " Alabama Women’s Crisis Center; and March " Food Bank. In May, the club will present community assistance funds to local charities.
In addition, the winter fund-raiser has been set for Feb. 24 with details provided later.
“We are trying something different this year for our fund-raiser,” Daniels said. “We’ve had art auctions and golf tournaments in years past. Last year, we raised $15,000 to $17,000 with our auction and golf tournament. We want to raise even more money this year to give to local charities.”
The club’s website along with its monthly newsletter, Southern Exposure, works to keep members informed of all activities and ways they can get involved.
“We really rely a lot on volunteers,” Daniels said. “We have been blessed with volunteers " especially our board members -- who want to take the time to do what needs to be done for our club. That’s what makes us successful at what we are doing for the women of Redstone Arsenal.”