By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleJuly 21, 2011
The Belvoir Enlisted Spouses Club met July 13 at the Vernondale Community Center in an effort to increase the club’s membership. As a result of the meeting, the club now has an additional seven members
Andrea Burton, who has been on post since December, said she decided to join the club so she could meet other military spouses.
“Everyone here seems so friendly,” said Burton, whose husband is in the 321st Infantry Division. “I’ve been a military wife for nine years and the first duty station we were at everyone was so reserved. I want to meet new people and also help out in the community.”
Started in 1980, the club recently saw its membership drop to its lowest level since 2007 at just four people, Dyanna Moore, club president; Helen D’Avignon, acting treasurer; Marty Schaeffer, Secretary and Scholarship Chairman; and Amy Altersitz, Membership Director.
Moore said they all strongly considered folding the club this past spring, but decided to do what was necessary to save the 31-year-old club.
“Our goal is to increase the membership where we have active-duty spouses that are holding the positions within the club,” said Moore. “Active-duty spouses are more in tune with what is going on on post and with the other spouses within the enlisted community.”
Moore said there are several factors for why membership has declined so much the last few years.
Spouses leaving due to being re-stationed and the club losing some of its big money-making events took its toll, including bingo nights and car washes.
“We were told recently that we can’t do the car washes anymore because the (post exchange) has a car wash,” said Moore “So, we are competing with our PX.”
But, Moore also said the amount of activities that spouses are offered on post is another reason the club’s membership has gone down. However, she still feels her club is the best choice for spouses who are looking to get involved on post.
“An enlisted spouse can come to this organization and be with other enlisted spouses,” said Moore. “They have other commonalities of other spouses and personal experiences they can bond easily with.”
The commonality of being a military spouse is why Schaeffer decided to join the club. Schaeffer, a member since 2007, lives off post and said she wanted to join because, more than likely, her neighbor isn’t a military spouse.
“I think it’s important to support the community we live in, and to give back to the community we live in and foster those friendships and relationships with people,” said Schaeffer. “You meet people at one assignment and you might stay in touch for 20 years. How many people can say that about somebody they went to grade school with?”
The club is hosting and participating in several events over the next few months to help increase membership. Moore said they will have a stand at installation appreciation day Saturday and host “Step’n Out” at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Lewis Village Community Center.
“Step’n Out is if you happen to have any high heels that you don’t wear on a regular basis or just for special occasions you can wear them,” said Moore. “It’s a social for current members to invite their friends who would like to meet us.”
The club will also have a booth at Wesley United Methodist Church next month during its 10th annual peach festival, and will also host a craft show at Octoberfest.
Moore said the club would like to have 50 members by the end of the summer, and plans on having on election in September to choose a new president.
“It’s time for the next group of spouses,” said Moore, “to come up and take the organization to the next level that it could go.”