Reception honors local woman’s installation as state president of women’s clubs
WINTERSVILLE — Marjean Sizemore of Wintersville finally felt officially like the 62nd president of General Federation of Women’s Clubs/Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs that she is.
A reception hosted Aug. 30 at the St. Florian Event Center by her home club, the Wintersville Woman’s Club, helped solidify that feeling in a time when COVID-19 pandemic precautions nixed other formal fanfare, including the state convention in Columbus in April and the international convention in June in Atlanta. Both were canceled.
“I am as excited as all get out — I really am excited,” Sizemore said as guests from close-to-home clubs and farther away began to arrive. “It’s the first time I’ve felt like I was president. It’s exciting, and a lot of the members are coming from all over the state, and that makes me feel good, too.”
Sizemore’s term runs from 2020 through 2022. It marks the first time in the Wintersville Woman’s Club’s federated history that it has had a member serve in the post, which takes in five districts in the Buckeye State. There are 53 clubs and more than 1,200 members.
Clubs represented at the afternoon reception included Barnesville, Boardman-Poland, the Cyberlinks of Niles, Warren Junior Women’s Club, Austintown Junior Women, Belpre, Jefferson County, East Springfield and Mingo.
Sizemore officially was installed by Diedre Devore, state treasurer and a leader in the East Springfield Junior Women’s Club, and had in attendance her executive board that included Mary Witkowski, director of junior clubs; Yvonne Ford, first vice president; Esther Gartland, second vice president; and Barbara Savarin, secretary.
Asked what her message is to clubs being impacted by the pandemic, unable to meet in person or hold fundraisers, for example, Sizemore said she started with a monthly newsletter being sent to the club presidents throughout Ohio.
“My message to them –and I think probably our biggest problem right now — is communication, so I keep stressing for them to communicate to their membership and for them to be creative with their projects,” Sizemore said. “A lot of projects that were done in the past we can do virtually — we just need to tweek it a little bit.”
Many clubs are not able to hold fundraisers as they traditionally have, including the Wintersville club, which has canceled this year’s Holiday Splendor held in December.
“We chose to cancel the Holiday Splendor because there’s no way we could self distance these people in this building,” Sizemore reasoned. “If we did have it, we would have to restrict how many people can attend, and we did not want to do it, plus we discussed the hardship on the businesses that they entailed this year, and we thought it was kind of selfish for us to ask for more, so we plan on sending them a letter and thanking them for their help in the past and let them know we’ll be back next year.”
Sizemore’s theme as state president is “Feeding the Hungry,” eliminating hunger. “It was my theme before COVID hit so now that COVID is here, it fits right in because so many people have been out of work, and they don’t have the money to purchase food and pay for their housing and feed their kids,” she said, noting that money that clubs raise will help their own. “All of the money raised will be staying in their individual communities to help their community and not send it off somewhere,” she said.
The Wintersville club will be resuming in-person meetings for the 2020-21 year with the Sept. 17 noon luncheon meeting at St. Florian Event Center.
Other local clubs shed insight on their plans for the new club year.
“We’re probably going to have a meeting in September to talk about the things for the year — the social distancing issues, Zoom meeting possibilities but people don’t have computers so we can’t do that. I don’t know — we’re going to have to rethink some of our fundraisers and things so it’s going to be an interesting time, but we’re still going to do a lot for the community, as much as we can,” Devore said of the East Springfield group.
Normally in October, the club would have a presence at Festival in the Woods in Richmond, which has been canceled, and at it they sell tickets for a drawing to attend an Ohio State game.
“We’ll have to come up with something else,” Devore added, noting, “Every group in here is dealing with the same thing. We want to help our communities but it’s hard because we can’t be in a big group.”
The Jefferson County Women’s Club is rethinking things as well, according to Mary Lou Jones, president.
“At the moment we’re kind of on hold but keeping in touch with each other through texting and such,” said a hopeful Jones. “We have a lot of plans — we’re just kind of waiting it out.”
The Woman’s Club of Mingo Junction will begin its monthly meetings starting Thursday. It will be in a new location — at the Bay Six Project at 618 Commercial St., Mingo, according to club President Sharon Cole-Isner.
The club will forge ahead and has three projects in the works to raise funds: The sale of Rada cutlery; the sale of See candy for Christmas and a Christmas lottery tree.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service, according to Sizemore, who explained the clubs and clubwomen are the heart of not only the federation, but the communities in which they live and work.
Local clubs welcome new members.