True to their pioneer roots, with faithful resilience, the Warden Ladies Group has kept the organization in operation for 75 years, or perhaps more.
“Not much has changed over the years — meetings are still held the third Wednesday of every month, except July and August,” said Joyce Gordon, president of the Warden Ladies Group.
“It is friends helping friends, supporting neighbours like extended family.”
The special milestone was celebrated with an old-fashioned picnic last Saturday evening, hosted by Robin and Julia Weir in the Warden district.
The group has held an annual neighbourhood picnic every June. Keeping with rural tradition, this year’s event boasted food galore, with all sorts of homemade salads, pies, squares and other desserts.
The group has records dating back to 1937, when it was originally known as the Warden Ladies Social Credit Group. Formed on the suggestion of Mrs. Minnie Bullington during the throes of the Great Depression, the purpose of the club was to be a venue for the women in the community to keep in touch with their neighbours in a social atmosphere.
It’s thought perhaps the organization might have operated a few years before 1937, but a fire at the Bullington home destroyed all prior records.
Everett Bullington, son of the founding Mrs. Bullington, was in attendance at last weekend’s celebration. He recalled his mother going to meetings by horse and buggy.
Minutes from the May 25, 1937, meeting, held at the home of Mrs. Jerard (first names weren’t commonly used back then), record that the meeting was opened by repeating the Lord’s Prayer in unison.
Gordon said that practice continues today and the meetings are still held at member’s homes.
Present members are unsure how Social Credit came to be part of the original name. The Social Credit political party was formed in Alberta in 1934, swept to power in 1935 and governed until 1971. The new party’s social credit monetary policy and conservative Christian values offered hope during dismal economic times and the repercussions of widespread drought.
One can only speculate that the local women might have found the inspiration and hope the Social Credit party offered to be fitting for their group as well.
The club, with a membership of 17 today, is proud to have a pair of longstanding members in Dora Reinbold, who joined in 1950, and Mary Muhlbach, a member since 1956.
Reinbold is the current vice-president and past president for 10 years. Violet Kruse is the secretary, while Helen Smith fulfils the duties of treasurer.
The women’s group is more than a mere social club. Since its inception, the organization has worked to provide quilts and afghans for the needy, visit and send cards and gifts to the sick and mothers with new babies, donate to charities and support the local food bank. The members have also provided a catering service to funerals, weddings and farm auction sales.
“In this age, where there is so much fighting and killing in the world, it is refreshing to know there are people who are happy helping others in a neighbourly fashion, such as the Warden Ladies Group,” Gordon reflected.