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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

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!

Click 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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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.

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

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