THE IRON MOUNTAIN-KINGSFORD WOMEN'S CLUB
Making a Difference in Our
Community Yesterday, Today &
Club Profile 2011-2012
For over 100 years, the GFWC Iron Mountain / Kingsford Women's Club (GFWC) has enriched and enhanced our community by providing student scholarships, education projects, beautification of our towns, a building of infrastructure, a nurturing of the Arts, spearheading of safety projects, fighting of local crime, and we have supported our neighborhoods, towns, cities, and our country . . .all the while, developing strong female leaders. We have accomplished this work by forging lifelong friendships,while having fun and educating ourselves and others. All of the work done by our club and / or individually is voluntary and our members all believe whole-heartedly in doing right by others.
The Iron Mountains/ Kingsford Chapter is affiliated with the General Federation of Women's Clubs. We have nine monthly general meetings with programs that are both informative and very entertaining. You can find out more about the GFWC by visiting www.gfwc.org. In addition, you can learn more about our specific club at www.gfwcironmountain-kingsford.com. New members are issued a membership book, containing the club's history, a list of departments and standing committies, officers, and a list of current members and their contact information.
There are many benefits to joining our local club, including:
CONDENSED CLUB HISTORY
The Iron Mountain / Kingsford Women's Club was established in 1912 and it quickly became apparent that the women of the community had strong leadership abilities as well as a great amount of influence. Their objectives were simple: promotion through organized efforts of the ethical, intellectual, and social culture of their members and to further all measures for the betterment of the two communities of Iron Mountain and Kingsford, Michigan.
One of the club's first efforts was the establishment of parent-teacher groups in all the schools. This was followed by the Saturday night bathing facility at the Chapin Dry. Teachers selected boys badly in need of a bath and a nurse. Sometimes a club member who supervised the baths accompanied the boys. Since many homes were without bathing facilities, a public bath was badly needed and the Chapin Dry remained a worthwhile project of Women's Club for many years.
In 1915 the club affiliated with the GFWC Michigan Federation of Women's Clubs, sending two delegates to State convention each year. (We now have 4 delegates.) They became involved in bettering the city, petitioning the mayor and council to eliminate carnivals and street fairs. When an attempt to get a city ordinance passed, banning spitting on the street, failed, the women of the club tacked posters around the city. They even had a downtown restroom built and furnished with reed furniture. It came complete with a janitor who received $1 per week. The total cost was a minuscule $250.00.
When our country was in the midst of war with Germany in 1918, the members of the Women's Club joined the war effort by conserving food, planting gardens, preserving fruits and vegetables, purchasing Liberty Bonds, contributing $10 to the tobacco fund in France, knitting for the Red Cross, sending large boxes of clothes to France, and finally contributing to the Michigan State Federation Fund to maintain recreational facilities for American soldiers in France.TWhen the war ended, the club returned to community issues. Members worked to establish a youth center. When the Chapin Mine closed in 1934, they answered the needs of the community by furnishing clothing to indigent children and providing food baskets for the needy. Monies were allocated for shoe repair and a Christmas toy project. Underprivileged children were given milk and eye glasses. Doctors were given fees of $25 for the removal of tonsils and adenoids.
In 1939 a Scholarship Loan Fund was established, a club priority continuing to the present. The club was recognized for its long term continuing efforts to further the education of its young people. In 1941 when World War II was declared, we organized for National Defense with home nursing classes, a knitting group, Red Cross work, a blood donor unit, nutrition classes, and a canteen service. They collected iron, aluminum, rubber, and bacon grease. The women planted "Victory Gardens, and rolled bandages. Many of our women went to work at the local Ford Motor Company Plant to build military gliders; they worked as secretaries, plant foremen, and workers on the line. Those that couldn't work helped take care of the children of those that could. When the war was over, many of the ladies returned to serious volunteer work as members of the GRFWC iron Mountain/Kingsford.
During the 50s and 60s, our club was a strong community force with more than 400 members. The Interlochen Music Scholarship was established and HOBI, MTU summer programs were supported. Arts Department projects included the Festival of Arts,the Dickinson County Council for the Arts, and the Community Theater. Through the efforts of the club, the Community Schools Program was started, the first of its kind in Michigan. To this day, a member of our club serves on its board. It offers preschool activities and adult education for our community, serving both Iron Mountain and Kingsford.
During the 70s the club worked with local schools on the McGruff Crime Prevention Program, a Drug Prevention program, and workshops for high school students to raise SAT and ACT scores. During the 80s and 90s, outdated programs were discontinued.
The Women's Club has always supported education. We co-sponsored leadership training workshops for community leaders, workshops for Jr. High science & math students, and promoted important programs for awareness of child molestation. With local businesses, the club sponsored the portable touring Planetarium, which was awarded a First Place CIP (Community Improvement Program) at the State Convention and special recognition by the Michigan School Board Association. Northwoods Discover Summer Science Camp was developed by Dickinson-Iron ISD, Wisconsin Electric, Champion International, the GFWC Iron Mountain.Kingsford, and by the GFWC of Michigan. Our club made Bay Cliff Health Camp a major project in the late 90s. It is now recognized throughout the state of Michigan by GFWC-MI.
As the new millennium begain, new programs were started, focusing on the current needs of the community. Women's Club members responded generously to the relocation of the Caring House, which is a shelter and counseling center for women enduring domestic violence. Continuing support of the arts was a major focus as well as club strengthening. To promote patriotism among area students, pocket flags were distributed. A Disaster Preparation Guide was done for clubwomen. A Senior Girls' Tea was reinstated and continues to be well received. The club gave higher education scholarships and continuing support to the arts. The challenge of establishing a higher education facility in Dickinson County was met. Club members provided financial support and womanpower to get the proposition passed by the voters. In June 2006, club members were able to witness the ground breaking of the western campus of Bay De Noc Junior College. The college was completed and officially opened its doors in August 2007.
The club helped the Menominee Range Historical Museum with volunteers. We hosted six fundraisers for a World War II glider restoration project and accompanying building to house it. We donated $17,000, the largest donation of a service club in the area. Volunteers went into the schools to educate the children about the importance of the gliders to the war effort. which were built in the their own community of Iron Mountain/Kingsford by area workers. July 17, 2011 was a monumental day for our Club. The Museum housing the World War II Glider was dedicated. The GFWC Iron Mountain/Kingsford Women's Club was honored at the dedication and the spokesperson was interviewed on the local radio program. GFWC Iron Mountain/Kingsford received the GFWC Community Project Award in 2008 for the Glider Project.
A new generation of clubwomen brings new spirit and new energy to the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Women's Club.
We have programs that appeal to our membership and to new members. One of our most successful meetings was the one that compared GFWC, our club, and the famous novel “…..And the Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer, as inspiration.. It took the author 50 years to write this novel. From the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War to the threshold of the New Deal this novel tells the warm, intimate yet epic tale of the lifetimes of two women in a small Ohio town and other members of the Waynesboro Ladies’ Literary Society. A member of our GFWC Iron Mountain/Kingsford, Shirley Nelson, an avid historian and member of the genealogical society, presented the program. We used the book as our foundation of the 2010 District V Meeting, so most members were familiar with the novel. Shirley, in period costume, gave a talk in first person as of one of the characters in the book, weaving the history of the GFWC and the GFWC Iron Mountain/ Kingsford into it. (The Literary Society in the novel parallels many of our members experience in our GFWC club.) We also wanted to bring to attention that our GFWC Iron Mountain/Kingsford will celebrate it’s 100th Anniversary in 2012. GFWC is the only women’s club to be recognized by the congress of the United States!
Our club was organized in 1912 and federated in 1915. We are celebrating our 100th Anniversary April 1st with a luncheon for all current members and a program commemorating our history in the community. We donated $100 to the local genealogical society. We also gave out GFWC pins to new members and recognized our 10 year members at this meeting. We also made sure our general meetings will address the positive contributions to our community to members and prospective members. We concentrate on educating our members to the history of our communities, the educational and scholarships we provide, and Adult Literacy and how members could help in our community. Programs from a local author, a play from our local Community Theater, and our Annual Traditional Senior Tea (with educational speaker) rounded out our emphasis on education and opportunities in our community. The very successful projects: Caring House for Domestic Abuse as well as the Veteran’s Party, and local Nursing Home Parties rounded our emphasis on a history of service to our community.
100th Anniversary GFWC Centennial Cookbook
THE IRON MOUNTAIN-KINGSFORD WOMEN'S CLUB
EXECUTIVE BOARD| 2012-2014
Co-2nd Vice Presidents: Cheryl McDonnell, (906) 776-1031 & Toni Lori, (715) 696-3768
Recording Secretary: Shirley Nelson, (906) 779-1213
Projects and Charities Chair: Joan Pataconi: (906) 774-0686
If you should have any further questions about the GFWC Iron Mountain-Kingsford, please do not hesitate to contact Cheryl McDonnell at (906) 776-1031. My e-mail address is: Cheryl@up.net