Soroptimist Hold May Meeting

President Laura Ferguson welcomed 22 members and guests Melissa Ridinger, Ashlinn Anthony, Cheryl Fout, and Barb Flory to the Kenton & Hardin County Soroptimist International meeting on May 2 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Kenton.

Ferguson thanked the committee of Jodi Dearth, Cam Hemmerly, and Danette Hommel. The group enjoyed some appetizers during social time and then began the meeting at 6 p.m. Norma Frederick led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pres. Ferguson introduced 2010-2012 SI Governor Cheryl Fout of SI Northeast Suburban Franklin County who spoke about the beginning of Soroptimists in the US and internationally. Fouts stated that entrepreneur Stuart Morrow found that the first men’s service club or Optimist Club was begun in 1911, and it was successful enough to charter other clubs. He traveled to promote either Optimist or Rotary Clubs. He presumed that men ran a secretarial school in Oakland, CA, but soon found that two women owned the school and was interested in such an organization. The idea sparked that women would be willing to be a part of a service club that promotes women since women in early 1900s had no voice to vote and be taken seriously.

The Nineteenth Amendment, to give US white women the right to vote in political elections, was passed in 1920. A group of ladies gathered in 1921 at a luncheon in Oakland, CA. They became founders calling themselves Soroptimists, a Latin term loosely meaning “best for women”. They chose Violet Richardson as their first SI President, and she expected to expand this organization to other countries. The SI Founders paid $5,000 to Stuart Morrow so that he gave up any claim or power to their new organization. At the time, women were restricted from joining service organizations. This opened up avenues for women to develop choices and make their own decisions about those choices. Having around 160,000 members in clubs found in more than 120 countries worldwide today, thus being part of the United Nations, they have voiced concerns and voted how best to help women. Soroptimists have focused on education for women, economics, and human rights for almost one hundred years.

Soroptimist Midwestern Region includes the states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. There are 31 clubs in this region. Ohio has two districts and there are four districts in Midwestern Region. When any woman wanted to become a Soroptimist in the beginning, she had to own a business or be a CEO of the company. Gov. Fout persuaded the membership in 1990s to change this rule so that any woman could become a Soroptimist as long as she was able.

The ideas, started back in 1921, have grown to include many women around the world. The Soroptimist International Pres. Mariet Verhoef-Cohen of Europe (2017-2019) presides over SI Americas, SI Great Britain & Ireland, SI Europe, and SI Southwest Pacific. It is hoped that SI Africa will be next to form when around 135 women will choose to be members. It is thought that SI Asia will be formed in the coming years as Japanese, Filipino, Korean, etc. women have seen the usefulness of Soroptimist International to bring a voice of women to many worldwide concerns.

Pres. Ferguson led the group in thanking Past Gov. Fout. The business meeting began with Sec. Courtney Linke’s digital minutes, that she has corrected, being approved as amended. Treas. Ruth Ann Cook has revised her report, and it was filed for audit. She is still waiting on a bill for the ONU dinner for Celebration of Women in March. She thinks that she has enough funds set aside for next year’s awards as they stand now. Discussion followed concerning possible portions of club funds to help pay membership fees for new members. Nothing was decided at this time.

Pres. Ferguson read a message from Vice-Pres. Andrea Richardson that she is unable to complete her term. It was accepted with regrets, and she is welcome to return when she is ready. Sue Lohrber will fulfill her term.

The Board of Safe Haven sent a letter of thanks for a donation that Kenton/Hardin Co. Soroptimists had donated to them. The money was appreciated as it can help provide needs for abused women as they escape their abusers. The newest Soroptimist Club, SI Cleveland, sent a thank you letter since 3 of our members attended their chartering and helped pin the 20 new members.

June Boose and Ruth Waggoner have tickets and flyers for the new fundraiser called “Nothing But Country” which will be held at the Moose on June 22. It is a BBQ dinner with a live band for country music dancing. Informal dress will be jeans. Husbands and male friends are invited to enjoy the evening’s entertainment. The profits will help fund awards at the March Celebration of Women. All were encouraged to sell tickets or ask for donations. Boose will need a preliminary count by the June 4 meeting. Tickets are $45 per couple or $25 per single. A cover charge is possible if one wants to attend but not have a dinner. Those under age 21 can attend, but the ticket will be marked under 21. There is no style show this year.

A discussion about Club 250 followed. Club 250 will be available for another year and then evaluated. The winners for the weeks of May for Club 250 were drawn. They will be announced by the media.

There were various committee reports. The nominating committee was asked to begin looking for new officers. Project Care & Comfort will be on May 20 from 6-8 p.m. at Missie Austin’s house. Spring Conference had several positive comments, and Karen Kier was thanked for being an excellent presenter. Kenton-Hardin County SI received four award certificates which were distributed for all to see. The sign-up sheet for hostess list and committees list for 2019-2020 was distributed. Pres. Ferguson asked for any new project ideas.

Before closing, Carrie Newland was congratulated for her work promotion. Cam Hemmerly was congratulated for joining Quest FCU Board of Directors. A card for Wanda Clinger was passed for all to sign. It was announced that there will be a meeting on August 29 instead of the first week of September during the fair. District 2 Director Barb Flory had some kind words about getting new members as we ended the meeting.

The next meeting is June 6th at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Kenton at 6 p.m. with committee Missie Austin, Hope Myers, and Kelly Rickenbacher. All circled the room and recited the Soroptimist Pledge. Attendees were wished safe travels as the meeting was adjourned.