Stanstead Journal Profile of Linda Hoy, FWIC President

The following article is reprinted with permission by Victoria Vanier of the Stanstead Journal. The original was published in print on August 5th and will be available online at a later date.

Local woman begins FWIC presidency

DSC_0153Earlier this summer, Linda Hoy, of Sand Hill, took over the reins of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC) , the national organization that ‘umbrellas’ the individual Women’s Institutes across the country. Ms. Hoy officially became the president at that organization’s Annual Convention, held in New Brunswick in June.

Asked what her priorities will be as the new president, Linda commented: “We will continue to work on the seeds of change that were planted in the last triennium by “Making Change Count”. That is the theme chosen by my new board at the Post Convention Board meeting.”

“We want to continue the partnership we have with Vesey’s Bulb fundraising program, the International Peace Garden and the Scholarship and a new award called the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Canadian Women of the Year Award. It is the premier national award of Women’s Institute celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. The award recognizes a woman for demonstrating excellence – from leadership to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We are honored to shine a spotlight on her.
Plans to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary are being talked about with a year-long party.”

“The Strategic Plan for the next three years will be for the organization to be more visible by publicizing and promoting our organization in the local newspapers. The Stanstead Journal has always been a support to the WI in the area and we hope that it will continue for many years to come. By promoting and publicizing we are hoping to recruit new members. I have challenged each of our 9,000 members to recruit one new member a year. We have seen a new branch formed in Paris, Ontario, with 45 members. Social media (Facebook) played a big part in getting 100 interested ladies to come to an information night. The Women’s Institute is not just for the rural ladies – there is a need to bring the WI to the urban cities.”

Linda as Willie the Worm
Linda as Willie the Worm

As President, Linda has been invited to visit each province during her term. It could be for an annual convention, Anniversary or special event such as the Board in Quebec in 2017. Linda will be appearing in her Willie the Worm costume as she travels across the country to raise funds for the organization rather than raising the membership fees.

 

“I am proud to represent all Women’s Institute members from my branch here in the Eastern Townships to Quebec and all across Canada – from Coast to Coast to Coast,” concluded Ms. Hoy.

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About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – Meet Reta MacDonald

If you live on the east coast, you have probably come across Saltscapes.  It is a magazine produced in Halifax.  While the content usually concerns the Atlantic Provinces, it is widely read. Barb Taylor alerted us to the July/August issue that features a profile of WI Life Member Reta MacDonald. In her email, Barb wrote, “WI doesn’t get a lot of publicity, so I thought this was noteworthy.”

I heartily agree.

Since the story is not yet available on the Saltscapes webpage, here are some tidbits to tempt you to seek out your own copy. Once you’ve read Reta’s story, I hope you will be tempted to submit your own!

Reta MacDonald
“The organizations I belong to, we always try to do some good for someone” by Reta MacDonald, as told to Philip Moscovitch for Saltscapes

You could call Reta MacDonald of Ebenezer, PEI a “joiner.” At 82, she is out-going and remains committed to the many community organizations she belongs to. A former teacher – who thought nothing of teaching 10 different grades herself – and a mother of three, MacDonald values the old-fashioned bonds of family and community.

She is particularly proud of her lifelong association with the women’s Institute in PEI. She first joined as a teacher, and eventually served as provincial president. While she jokes that “people have a picture of the Women’s Institute as that tea-drinking group of old ladies who meet, bake and gossip,” she values the way the group has connected her not only to her local community, but also to national and international charitable and educational efforts.

Reta was born in Milton, attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, and she taught in East Wiltshire, North Winsloe, and East Royalty.

In the early days, teachers were expected to join the WI. Local branches maintained the schools. The WI bought toilet tissue, they bought chalk, they bought blackboard erasers – they supplied the school with those essentials. Reta recalls when the WI came to the school and washed the floors and walls in preparation for the new school year.  Reta joined the WI in each town she lived in.  Her mother was also a member.

Reta and her husband Douglas entered their home in the Rural Beautification Society’s annual contest and won the prize — for three consecutive years!

She explained how inclusive WI is – there is no barrier to being a member. For instance, a church club membership is defined by the religious denomination, but we [the WI] welcome everyone. Someone might belong to a church family, but WI is a community family.

Reta worries about the future of the WI with the aging membership and weaker community bonds. Her WI holds an annual “meet your neighbour” night in order to make new friends and a stronger community.

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Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Happy Anniversary. And Many More!

President Elect Joan Holthe paid a visit to the 95th Anniversary Tea of the Valhalla Busy Bees WI from Alberta.

I was very pleased to be in attendance and bring greetings on behalf of president Linda, and the other members of the board on the occasion of their 95th year. They had a great display of quilts and report of their many years of community service. I told them they had to keep working so I can present them with their 100 certificate!

IMG_2085
Joan Holthe, FWIC President Elect, Kay Saastad, Valhalla President; Jan Lawrence, Secretary; and Lillian Nordhagen, Grande Prairie Constituency Convener, Eunice Horte, MC.

IMG_2086 IMG_2089

Making Change Count!

Planting Seeds of Change - Looking Forward
Planting Seeds of Change – Looking Forward

Making Change Count! A letter of introduction from President Linda Hoy. Please share with your membership.

Hello WI,

Welcome to the new Triennium.

The FWIC Convention was a wonderful opportunity for WI to come together to share and plan for the future of this organization. We held a plenary session where we asked for input from all convention attendees on how to ensure the viability of our organization. These key words and phrases were repeated many times:

• Be more visible • Publicize • Promote • Recruit • Reach out

Many of our members at the branch level may not realize how uncertain the future of our organization is. We continue to lose members at a steady rate that even our most successful recruitment strategies at the provincial and national level have not been able to combat. In many branches, WI continues to function as it always has. It is perceived that there is no need to do anything differently or that change will come from above: the provinces or the national level. The truth is, we must all be proactive to revitalize this great organization for women. As a grassroots organization, the power to thrive lies is in the hands of the individual members and the WI branches themselves. The future of WI lies within you and must happen in your community first.

It is imperative that you understand that we need to do things differently. We need to market and promote and be more visible.

Here’s how you can help: if WI is to survive, we need to make ourselves available and open to attracting new members. We need to be visible to gain credibility among other nonprofits and for-profit agencies and funding bodies. This means we must be proud of our organization and promote ourselves.

Get into the habit of alerting the public of upcoming meetings and special WI events by writing press releases and reports before and after your events. Designate someone in your branch as Media Coordinator: it could be considered THE most important role if the WI is to succeed.

In most areas, the local newspapers are eager for content and will print your meeting and event reports in their entirety. Take pictures and include them. Remember to smile!

Once you’ve tackled print media, set your sights on social media. Facebook has been credited over and over for outstanding marketing success. It’s free, it’s fun. It’s folly to ignore it.

Let us all continue to work together, For Home & Country,
Linda Hoy, President
Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada

***

Find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Happy 80th Newfoundland and Labrador

In her letter to the members of the Newfoundland and Labrador WI, President Jane Laite writes:

Spring is a special time of year. Many of the memorable activities that we enjoy in the Women’s Institutes occur at this time of year.

Our District AGMs, ACWW Women Walk the World, Earth Day, activities highlighting volunteer activities and the environment, not to mention branch closing activities. This year there is a lot of talk of Conventions, both the FWIC one taking place in Fredericton in June 2015 and the NLWI already taking shape for May 2016 in St. John’s. Connected with the Conventions are the Competitions and the opportunity for NLWI members to display in a tangible way their creative skills.

80th cakeAs you know, 2015 is the 80th anniversary of the NLWI in Newfoundland and Labrador. As part of this recognition, I have asked members to send in their short stories or memories of their time in the Womens Institutes. The submissions don’t have to be long. A paragraph can do. The first eighty submissions will be placed in a booklet and brought to the 2016 Convention. It is entitled 80 Years, 80 stories. I have only received a few so far, but I am sure that there are many more to follow.

I wish the membership an enjoyable summer full of fun, relaxation and exciting activity.

I’ve extracted a couple of items from the newsletter for this blog post, but if you’d like to read more about what’s going on out on the east coast, you can download the newsletter by clicking on this link: Spr 2015 NLWI

all entriesThe newsletter details the Competition Guidelines for the 2016 Provincial Convention. All the usual categories are discussed: needlework, artwork, baking and preserves among them.

 

Speaking of baking, Cherry Bran Bread is one of the several recipes in the newsletter.

Bran_Cherry_Bread

Cherry Bran Bread
INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup All Bran
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 lb cherries
1/4 lb walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp flavoring

DIRECTIONS
Beat eggs, add milk then add melted butter.
Add the dry ingredients and bake in a moderate oven (350 F) for one hour.

 

Membership Monday – Today from BC

Today for Membership Monday, I shall provide some highlights from British Columbia WI’s newsletter Vol 153. It is the February/March 2015 issue and for the full report click on the link here:

BCWI 2015 FEB MAR ISSUE

If you are like me, you will find the next bit of news very uplifting. Here is a screen capture of the newsletter:

Did you see that number? 47?

4.

7.

47.

AWESOME!

OK, on to the reports from the assorted branches:

Nicola Valley WI

This paragraph caught my attention:

With the dumping of Biosolids in our area from the Lower Mainland our members plan to protest as individuals as well as preparing a resolution to send to the Provincial WI.

Biosolids? Help? Google?

Biosolids are the treated, stabilized solids resulting from wastewater treatment and are regulated under the BC Environmental Management Act and Health Act.

Stay tuned for more from Nicola Valley WI for updates on this issue.

From the Douglas District, Pemberton WI look forward to WI Week in February when they hold a potluck and annual “fun auction”. Pictured below are the members and some 64 dozen Christmas Cookies.

Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola & Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski, Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson, Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.
Fran Cuthbert, Carmen Levefre-Moore, Barb Brooks, Ola
& Donna Perkins, Rolande Midgley, Pat Bencharski,
Linda Welsh, Rosalinde Young, Shirley Ellingson,
Marnie Simons & hostess Judith Walton.

Atchelitz WI celebrated their 100th Anniversary on September 6th.  Because of the continued support of the community at fundraising events, they were once again able to donate to many local charities such as The Ride to Conquer Cancer, Salvation Army Food Bank, Chilliwack Hospice Society, BC Agriculture in the Classroom, Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, Ann Davis Transition House & Sardis Doorway, just to name a few.

Over in Kamloops District, Overlander WI continued their support of local charities. For example, they gave p.j.’s and toiletries to the YWCA Women’s Shelter. Coldstream WI from the North Okanagan Sushwap District declare themselves to be a “crafty bunch.”  I’d say they are a compassionate bunch too. They gathered “gifts of hope” for the clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Among several community support activities, Gabriola WI from the north end of Vancouver Island made donations to their local 4H club. At the south end of the island, Colwood WI had a busy year. They were fortunate to be involved in several community events last Fall. For example, the women provided Christmas gifts for the residents of Cockerel House. This is a home for injured Veterans and Colwood WI is proud to able to support the vets in their recovery.

Donna Andrew reports that a wonderful time was had by all at the Olympic View Golf Course where they celebrated Christmas. Unfortunately there are no photos. Apparently, says Donna, “what goes on at the golf course stays at the golf course.”

Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.
Claude of Cockerel House receives the Christmas gifts from Carol.

Langford WI’s report was a series of images. I’ve arranged them in a gallery here. Hover or click for captions.

Salt Spring Island WI pose the question, “Did you know that it was Spanish women who started the chocolate craze?” To that I answer, “No, I did not, but let me go on record to state, GRACIAS!!” Their report also includes this encouraging financial news: “We were able to more than cover our goal of $6,000.00 for donations, our two scholarships and still have money to start the year 2015.”

Membership Monday – Connecting the UK to BC

Earlier this week we heard from a member of the UK branch in Holmsforth. Sorry, Holmfirth. (There were a few minor glitches, to be expected since Mercury is retrograde and all that.) Our ACWW pen pal member from Nova Scotia sent this message:

England and Wales are celebrating 100 years of WI. One group in a small town of Yorkshire, England contacted me with a request to hear from Canadian WI and association groups as a way of marking this event. Interestingly, their group of 76 members was organized in 2013 by a 26-year old. Members range in age from 23-75 and are diverse, not only in age, but background. I encourage you to write a note to them if you wish.

So, I did. Or I should say, we did. I broadcast the email to all of the provincial federations. Holmfirth will receive our emails any day now and I look forward to a lively exchange over the next few weeks. If you didn’t yet receive the memo, you can contact Michelle at president@holmfirthwi.org.uk

In the meantime, thanks to those aforementioned glitches, I had the pleasure of meeting Fay Van Horn, the president of the Glenwood WI in Smithers BC. This is perfect, I said to myself. I have content for the next Membership Monday post!

BCWI  Fay Van HornClick on the image above to read Fay’s bio. Then use the back arrow in your browser to return to the blog!

Like Calhoun WI on the opposite coast, Glenwood WI is a small group of ten, ages range from 40 to 75. The branch is near Smithers, BC and meetings are held in their own building, Glenwood Hall. Which happens to be the name of their Facebook page, if you’d like to drop by and say, “Howdy.”

Glenwood Hall
Glenwood Hall
Smithers BC
Smithers BC

The branch is very active providing support to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the hospital in Victoria.

Fay writes,

We have a bake sale every February and the money raised goes directly to benefit the children. We have a competition amongst the groups at the end of April each year and take turns hosting. Our competitions this year are a double crust apple pie, a decorated tea towel, a pint of pickles, a tote bag for carrying grocers or other items, a pint of mincemeat, and a lap robe made from felted wool sweaters. Our WI has won for the last few years.

Glenwood supports the ACWW in every way they can. They have made inquiries into finding a pen pal group through ACWW to exchange stories.

Hence, I gather, the interest in contacting the gals from the UK.

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada

We Work for the United Nations

Sheila Needham
Sheila Needham

Last night I told my husband about my latest project. It’s a continuation of the membership profile I wrote about Sheila Needham. On December 9th, 2014, Sheila, who is the Canadian Area President of the Associated Country Women of the World, was interviewed by CBC radio. The station has graciously permitted us to use the recording of the show hosted by Susan Campbell, as a way to promote the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW).

It’s been fun scouring the internet for photos to use as illustrations to accompany the radio interview.

It’s also been educational, as is the case on some many of the pieces I write for this blog. “Did you know,” I told my hubby, “That the WI has direct ties with the UN?”

“Really?” he said.

“Yup. It starts right at the local branch level. We collect money for the ACWW, and then there are regional and national committees and sub-committees that advise the UN on women’s issues. Cool, eh?”

“Well,” he said. “I guess you work for the UN, then.”

Huh.

I guess we do!

You can watch the video here. Enjoy.

un-building-web

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – Meet Sheila Needham

Sheila Needham
Sheila Needham

“We’re not good at tooting our own horn,” says Sheila Needham. Allow me, then, to share what I have learned about this WI gal!

As you will recall from a recent Membership Monday, Sheila Needham, the editor of the Quebec Women’s Institute Newsletter, graciously agreed that we could reprint the pictures and summarize the content of the Autumn/Winter issue. Her name has appeared here before on the FWIC blog. It was Sheila who alerted us to the fundraising projects undertaken by the Canadian WI’s in support of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW). Sheila is the editor of the ACWW newsletter as well.

The ACWW has had a hand in improving the lives of women from all walks of life, and by extension, society as a whole. Endeavours include building hospitals, lobbying for access to fresh water, or funding projects to educate and empower women.

As it happens, our Sheila, who was recently elected Canada Area President of the ACWW, has been discovered by more than just yours truly. Not only did CBC Radio’s Susan Campbell interview her, Matthew McCully of the Serbrooke Record wrote a wonder profile piece titled Sheila Needham-Think locally, act globally. 

Sheila joined the WI 42 years ago. “My mother-in-law brought me to a meeting when I was first married,” she said. “I think that’s how most women get involved; a mother, a friend, an aunt, someone invites you to a meeting.”

To read more about this inspirational woman, click on the link below to download a .pdf copy of the newspaper article.

Record article about Sheila Needham

After you read the article, drop on by to Sheila’s Facebook page to wish her a happy birthday!

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – An Invitation to Engage and Connect

Virtual Potluck

You are invited to a

Potluck Christmas Party!

Yes, You!

And all of our Facebook Friends

When: December 14th to 24th

(or longer, if demand dictates!)

Where: On Facebook

Post a picture of your Christmas baking, or celebration dinner. Perhaps you could write out a cherished seasonal recipe and share it with us. Or, if you have a link to a recipe that’s online, that’s great, too!

Post a simple message of season’s greetings. Or not so simple. Reminisce. Share photos of your Christmas tree or sparkling lights or that funky sweater that once was an eyesore but is now all the rage.

Send us a snap of snowbanks or winter landscapes. Maybe even send a picture or yourself all decked out for the holiday.

Whatever you like, we would be delighted to hear from you. This is a chance to engage and connect with the women across the country and across the world.

Please share!

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Follow FWIC on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.