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Guelph Area WI 72nd area convention was well attended this year

PALMERSTON - It wasn’t the Red Sea, but it was a sea of red that greeted chairman Lynda Alexander as she welcomed everyone to the Guelph Area Women’s Institute 72nd area convention.

Communication has been working this fall as nearly everyone was dressed in red to match the theme Keep Your WI Heart Beating.

The Guelph area is made up from the districts of Huron Perth, Waterloo, Wellington-Halton and Wellington North. This year’s convention was held at the community centre.

Surrounding the room were displays and exhibits pertaining to WI activities plus a mini health fair, while the entrance hall was suitably decorated for fall and Halloween.

To set the mood, Sandy Turner performed a “walking” demonstration using ski type poles. This is the latest new exercise and with winter coming on, the poles double as a safety measure.

The meeting opened with the singing of O Canada and the Institute Ode, then repeating the Mary Stewart Collect.

President of Wellington North Margaret Bracken welcomed everyone and presented a few opening remarks.

In memoriam was offered by Little Ireland, where one of the eldest active members, Marion Bracken had a reading.

During the morning there were reports on many activities: highlights of the 2010 convention; Financial status; by-laws; correspondence; and summaries from the various committees. Many of the Tweedsmuir History Scrapbooks have been digitized and are now available on the Wellington County archival website,

The administration from the County Heritage Park sent its appreciation and thanks for all the help WI has given over the years. In the well attended children’s program, the kids did spool knitting using empty toilet paper rolls and popsicle sticks. Spinrite of Listowel donated the yarn. The registry indicated there were visitors from around the world in 2011.

Reports from the advocacy committee indicated that advocacy is the word that replaces resolutions, which brings us up to the modern 21st century.

Cindi Rabstein, provincial international co-ordinator reported on Canada Comforts, the knitted Teddy and children’s blankets programs. They now need cleaning products as well as clothing. Large containers have been sent to third world countries where the ACWW is also working on fresh water projects.

Debbie Bauer, provincial membership co-ordinator, commented on all the red, and advised that their branch is going to tie a quilt for each family who lost a home in Goderich. Anyone who has a stash of material, or not-needed quilt tops should contact Lynda Alexander.

There is a new thrust – the iris program. Members who recruit a new member to WI will receive a yellow iris plant.

Huron-Perth hosted a membership workshop Nov. 14 at the Listowel Agricultural Hall.

After the June tally, the Walk Across Canada had recorded 24,291,521 steps (18,402km). That’s a lot of exercise for  WI members.

The Friends of the Lee group is selling two year calendars to assist in keeping the Erland Lee Museum Home open.

Stretch break exercises based on belly dancing techniques were demonstrated by Shirley Thaiss.

During roll call various projects and outings of the local institutes were discussed – organ donations, edible Christmas gifts, visits to Wellington County Museum, a night at Grand River Raceway, making mats from milk bags for third world countries, working with stores for cheer baskets for sick and shut-ins.

Margaret McMahon spoke on provincial nomination procedure and conducted nominations for vacant provincial positions.

Minto Mayor George Bridge brought greetings and joined the red group for a lunch catered by Helen McFazden’s group.

Names and places sometimes get to be so common people tend to forget the significance. The audience was reminded that Adelaide Hoodless (founder of WI), on the eve of her 52nd birthday, was to speak at Massey Hall in Toronto. Her son-in-law drove her to the hall, and despite a terrible headache she gave a resounding speech. She was sipping water – the glass fell to the floor - and so did she. She died immediately from a stroke.

Guest speaker Bauer had a very good point to her message, “We’re all looking to our leaders for information and guidance. That leader should or could be you. Set your goals low enough that you can reach them, but high enough you have to stretch a little.”

First place for exhibits went to Huron Perth while Waterloo was runner-up.

Many service certificates were given out as well as recognition to several members who have extra long-time service with Women’s Institutes – some in excess of 60 years.

Next year’s convention will be held in Alma.




November 18, 2011


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