Thursday, September 1, 2011

Program Ideas

Our DAR meetings are fun.  Really, they are.  I look forward to them each month.  Everyone who comes seems to laugh and talk and feels that it was worthwhile to give up time at home.  We get between 30-40 at a meeting, depending on the month.  We always have them on Saturdays in order to accommodate the working woman and hold them at a local country club.  We start off with the regular meeting and ritual.  We get almost all of our regular business done, and then we have lunch promptly at noon.  Just when the last of us are served dessert, we often start up again.  Through the clinking of the spoons, we finish our business and then introduce our program.  Having a program that will appeal to all the members is difficult but not impossible.  Over the years, our chapter has had some great ones.  One of the ‘rules’ that we obey is to “keep it short”.  No more than 20 minutes.  We are glad to give up our time for our chapter, but none of us want the day completely spent.  If you follow this rule, all your programs will in some way, interest your membership.

This may be too late for this year for some of you, but here are some of my favorite chapter programs that I have seen over the years:

·         Historical Preservation, “Show and Tell” – ask members to bring in an item they own that has historical significance.  They will stand and present their item and why they brought it.  One woman in our chapter is a mid-wife and she brought her antique ‘birthing chair’!  Another brought a family quilt that had been made generations ago with sewn signatures.  You get a different program every time with some amazing stories.  Everyone loves to show off a piece of their favorite history.

·         Constitution Week – ask a local high school teacher to speak about how the constitution is taught in the school system today.  Perhaps this U.S. History teacher may also be your next nominee for the Outstanding US History Teacher Contest.
·         Women’s Issues – ask a nurse to visit and talk about health care for women such as annual mammograms, healthy eating, staying heart healthy, and exercise.  Or perhaps you could have a stress management meeting with someone leading relaxation techniques.  If you do this one after you eat, watch out – you may have some nappers on your hands.
·         Genealogical DNA Testing – ask a local biochemistry professor to speak about genealogical DNA testing, how it is done, and how reliable it is.
·         History of your Local River – ask a local steamboat captain to speak at your meeting about the history of your local river.
·         Conservation Luncheon – ask a local beekeeper to teach you about bees and how they are important to our agriculture.   The one we had even brought in some sample beehives (empty of course!).
·         Junior Membership – We are celebrating 75 sweet years of the Junior Membership committee.  Why not have a celebration at one of your meetings?  Invite a local bakery to show your group how to decorate cupcakes since Juniors are so “Sweet”.  Start off with just the cupcakes and then have an icing decorating class.  Fund raise during the meeting to support your juniors financially at the next state conference.
·         Junior Membership – Another ‘sweet’ idea…invite a local jeweler to talk about jewelry, which is like the sweet frosting we wear!  Fund raise during the meeting to support your juniors financially at the next state conference.  Perhaps you can auction off a piece of jewelry if you can find someone to donate it.

If you are looking for a program for your chapter, don’t forget to go to the Program Committee page on the Members’ Web Site to see a huge list of great ideas for programs.  You also have a Speakers Staff available, both national and state.  Check your directory. 

I wish you luck on a wonderful year!

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