For those of us who have had the opportunity and the pleasure of attending a number of Women’s Institute Conventions, there are memories of great and small events, each one in our thoughts as the years go by.
My first BCWI Convention was in Nelson in 1974. It reminds me of the warmth and welcoming feeling that rippled throughout the time we had together, and of the Drama competitions where so many of the actresses gave such superb performances that they are still vivid. Dr. Ellen McLean, FWIC president at that time, spoke so eloquently about the the challenges we faced and gave us courage to take them on!
There have been many other Provincial Conventions since then – some I attend as a spectator, others as a Provincial Officer. Each one was unique, and most interesting.
In 1979 I attended the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada Convention in Saskatoon. A beautiful campus, perfect weather, great hostesses. Here Emmie Oddie became National President – for many years I had read her columns in the Western Producer, this was a different setting, but her warmth and abilities shone through – she was a fascinating lady.
We in British Columbia have been fortunate to host a number of National Conventions as well as provide the venue for a World Conference in 1983. Canada was the host in 1983, but much of the on-site work was done by BCWI members. You all deserve a great pat on the back for that! 1800 members, including some husbands, attended, the weather was beautiful and the University of British Columbia campus was delightful. The write ups in various Women’s Institute publications was enthusiastic and very complimentary. Personally, I shall never forget it!
And so it went through the years.
2020 will be another big year in BCWI’s history. Not only do we have the Provincial Convention being held at the Shoal Centre in Sidney, but coupled with it, will be the Associated Country Women of the World mini-conference for Canada! We anticipate a number of World Officers will be attending, so this will provide first hand information on what is happening in the new term, which began in April at the World Conference held in Melbourne, Australia. Start saving your loonies and twoonies so you can be part of this first-of-a-kind Conference in British Columbia. Planning is underway for the site and some of the speakers and entertainment. Anyone who attended the 2012 Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada conference held at Sidney knows what a super job Donna Jack and her committee made of that event. Now she is heading up the planning for 2020, and I am sure there will be a good time for all! I encourage you to be there!
Women’s Institute Conventions always have something to learn about, and ideas and enthusiasm to take home. Friendships are strengthened; commitment is re-doubled and we return home with our spirits rejuvenated.
I look forward to seeing many of you in June 2020. And when we return to our homes, I hope none of us return to heavy snowfalls as in 1978 or the threat of wildfires we experienced in 2017.
Have a great summer!
Yours For Home and Country,
Ruth Fenner, Provincial Historian, BCWI
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