GFWC Silver Leaf Club of Cassville to celebrate 105 years at Nov. meeting

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Silver Leaf Benefit Club of Cassville is the oldest service organization in town having been in existence since 1908. This month, club members will commemorate their 105th anniversary on Nov. 19 at the Barry County Museum. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m.

"We're inviting all past members and people of the community," said Jean Marney, current president of the club, who hopes that past members in particular will consider being a part of the celebration.

The Silver Leaf Benefit Club of Cassville has been associated with the General Federation of Women's Clubs since its inception. The GFWC traces its roots to a journalist named Jane Cunningham Croly who began a woman's club in New York during the late 1860s when she was denied admittance to a press club meeting honoring Charles Dickens because of her gender. Since that time, the GFWC has left its mark on American culture by bringing awareness to such issues as child labor, the eight-hour work day, work place safety, and prison reform.

The GFWC Silver Leaf Benefit Club of Cassville began in 1908 with the motto of "large attainments." Over the years, the club has attempted to meet this goal by sponsoring community service projects in a variety of different areas called departments by the state GFWC. The current club's departments include the arts, conservation, public issues, public affairs, international outreach, community improvement and education. Each year, the club tries to hold programs during the months they meet that coincide with these departments.

"Looking over the past yearbooks and minutes from the past meetings, we're doing pretty much the same things that we've been doing for 105 years," said Marney. "I was impressed that most all of those things are still part of our organization."

The club meets the third Thursday of the month beginning in September and ending in May. A yearbook is printed each year that provides information on officers, highlighted events, and each month's program.

"At the end of December you send in reports," said Marney. "Somebody writes the report and you send it in and we've won several awards each year."

Last year, they were presented an international award on domestic violence, based upon the report club member Tracie Snodgrass prepared.

The mission statement of the club includes a statement on "community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service." Sherry Johnson, vice president of the club, commented on the efforts of the members to provide service at each of the three nursing homes in town.

"If there's a need that comes up then we try to fill it," said Marney who detailed club accomplishments from last year, but pointed out that those efforts were in the past and that the club tries to focus on the here and now.

There are currently 19 members in the club and both Marney and Johnson hope to see an increase in membership over the next year. Current members range in age from the 30s to the 80s.

"Some of us are older, and some of us are younger," said Marney. "The older set has done everything that there is to do, but the younger ones are kicking in and we're doing some different projects than we've done."