1 of Beta Sigma Phi 12/2013-1/2014
2 TORCH STAFF Editor - Seann McAnally Graphic Designer - Eric Burgess Assistant Editor - Betsy Thomas BETA SIGMA PHI INTERNATIONAL Address: 1800 West 91st Place Kansas City MO Phone: (8:30 am - 5:00 pm CST M-F) Fax: Insurance Only: Long Term Care Insurance: Gifts Only: DIVISION CHAIRMEN Laura Ross Wingfield - On-Line Chapters & Conventions Vivian Iddings - (Director of Service) - AK, AZ, CT, DC, DE, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MT, NH, NJ, NV, NY, PA, Puerto Rico, Germany, RI, VA, VT, & WV Karla MacRae - Canada, GA, Greece, HI, IL, IN, KS, MN, NM, Norway, Scotland, WA, WY, & Russia Cynthia Meadows - AL, AR, CO, MO, NC, TN, OH, OK, SC, TX, Belgium, & Zimbabwe Cindy Vance - Austria, Australia, CA, England, Finland, FL, ID, IA, LA, Mexico, NE, ND, OR, Saudi Arabia, SD, UT, & WI ADDRESSES Torch Department - Rushing Department - Gift Department - Home Page - Beta Journal - Beta Sigma Phi is an international women s friendship network. It also provides educational programs to its members and opportunities for service to others. We are women of all ages, interests, and educational and economic backgrounds, and are the largest organization of our kind in the world. For Beta Sigma Phi membership information call: BETA-2B1( ) December 2013 / January 2014 Volume Issue 7 Letter From The Editor I ve always loved the holiday season, and I look forward every year to watching one of my favorite movies the classic It s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey s realization that his life of domesticity and small-scale good deeds has, in fact, made him rich in love and friends, if not money, has always touched me. It shares something in common with another Christmas classic Dickens A Christmas Carol (of which there are many fine versions my favorite is the musical Scrooge, starring Albert Finney). Both of these stories share the theme of transformation. George Bailey, in his darkest hour, wishes he d never been born. Ebenezer Scrooge s goodness is buried beneath seemingly impenetrable layers of cynicism and emotional pain. In both cases, supernatural intervention leads them to a spiritual awakening, and they re transformed by the power of love. Luckily, most of us don t need the power of angels or Christmas ghosts to give us a similar epiphany we have those beautiful films. I think I m transformed just a bit every year by the Christmas season, and the examples of George and Ebenezer. I think Beta Sigma Phi also has the power to transform us for the better. For example, our executive director, Laura Ross Wingfield, used to be nearly crippled by shyness. I was afraid of people, she said. I would not go up to a group of new people and try to speak. Speaking in public was the most frightening thing I could ever imagine. But Beta Sigma Phi transformed Laura. At conventions, I would muster my courage, walk up to a group of ladies to introduce myself, and I would be accepted! It happened so often that eventually I overcame that fear. And every time I gave speeches, no matter how bad they were, someone would tell me that it meant something to them. Now, I talk to strangers all the time. Beta Sigma Phi also transformed me. Coming from the world of newspaper journalism, I had developed a very cynical attitude about people. Waking up in the middle of the night to take photographs of car crashes and fires, covering stories about toxic chemicals at former nuclear facilities, and looking at the local cops Police Blotter every day will do that to you. I began to see the world as an essentially negative place, because let s face it that s all most media outlets give you: bad news. Here at The Torch, I have seen first-hand, through your submissions and my attendance at conventions in Iowa and Virginia, the power of life, learning, friendship and the unspoken but understood fourth aspect: LOVE. Sisters have given of themselves in so many ways, especially during the holidays but all year round. These stories mean a lot to me. At a big newspaper, these would be considered fluff or feel-good pieces. But what s wrong with that? Nothing, I say. Beta Sigma Phi has given me a gift no one could purchase in a store: proof that the world is a good place, full of good people. This Christmas season, I realize that transformation is the best gift I have ever received. Whatever you celebrate during the holiday season for most of us, that s Christmas, but remember that we DO have sisters who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal holidays I hope it brings you the same warm feelings it brings me; I hope it brings you the realization that we can all change for the better. Happiness is a choice. Sometimes, like George and Ebenezer, we just need a nudge in the right direction. I think Tiny Tim said it best when he said God Bless Us, Everyone.
3 5 You Light Up My Life A sister shares a recipe for special memories. 8 Happy Holidays! Christmas has always been a special time for sisters in Beta Sigma Phi to focus on service and giving. Here are just a few ways members have celebrated the holiday season. 12 Conventions The convention season drew to a close over the last few months. Here s a wrap-up of the fun your sisters have been up to! 14 Chapter in the Spotlight Chapter Down Under celebrates 50 years of sisterhood! 15 Angels of Mercy Part two of our series about sisters who serve in our armed forces meet two ladies who brought the healing touch to servicemen in WWII and the Vietnam War. 22 From the Archives This issue we examine the Lost Art of the Program Book Cover with a look back at some lovely, inspiring art from Beta Sigma Phi s past. 27 Featured Program This issue s featured program is, appropriately enough, about Christmas! Assistant Torch Editor and International Alpha president Betsy Thomas share some fun ways to kick this program up a notch. On the Cover Our resident artist Eric Burgess added some Beta Sigma Phi flair to this vintage illustration, originally featured in The Torch in the 1930s. TOP PHOTO! This photo of Connie Stoermer and Arla King of North Carolina Pi Master, Havelock, has good composition, action, and tells a story nicely done. TORCH TRADITIONS 4 Conventions, New Chapters, Friendly Ventures 6 Rushing 24 Chatter 29 International Award of Distinction 30 Gifts THE TORCH OF BETA SIGMA PHI (ISSN ). Official Publication of Beta Sigma Phi, 1800 West 91st Place, Kansas City, Missouri Periodical postage paid at Kansas City. Canada Post Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement # Published 7 times a year by Beta Sigma Phi International. Member subscription price $14.00 per year. Non-member subscription price $14.00 per year. Individual copies $2.50. Printed in U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Torch of Beta Sigma Phi, PO Box 8500, Kansas City MO December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 3
4 Conventions 2014 Welcome These New Chapters Alabama (Mobile) June 6-8 Alaska (Juneau) May 1-4 Arkansas (Little Rock) June Australia (Perth) Oct British Columbia (N. Delta) Conclave March 1 California (Monterey) May 1-4 Carolinas (Asheville, NC) April Colorado (Denver) June Florida (Daytona Beach) May Georgia (Atlanta) Sept Iowa (Clear Lake) June 6-8 Kentucky (Lexington) June Louisiana (Lake Charles) March 16 Maine (Bangor) June Michigan (Mackinac Island) October 3-5 Mississippi (McComb) Sept Missouri (St. Louis) Oct Montana (Missoula) June New York (Rochester) October 3-5 Ohio (Dayton) June 6-8 Oklahoma (Cruise) June 1-8 Oregon (Portland) June Quadra State (Cruise Vancouver, B.C.) Sept Tennessee (Knoxville) June Washington (Seattle) Sept Light Up Your Life Light Up Your Life Arizona Beta Beta Master, Flaggstaff British Columbia Beta Upsilon Master, Maple Ridge California Torchbearer Eta, Bakersfield California Torchbearer Zeta, Merced Florida Gamma Xi Master, Brooksfield Kentucky Torchbearer Beta, Maysville Michigan Beta Lambda Master, Flint Missouri Gamma Theta Master, Blue Springs Missouri Online Upsilon, Kansas City North Carolina Chi Master, High Point North Dakota Laureate Mu, Fargo Ohio Beta Master, Akron Pennsylvania Beta Omicron Master, Sayre Pennsylvania Torchbearer Iota, Montoursville Quebec Beta Master, Saint Lambert South Carolina Preceptor Alpha Kappa, Hampton Texas Beta Delta Zeta, Deer Park Virginia Laureate Beta Upsilon, Roanoke Washington Beta Nu Master, Bellevue New Friendly Venture Chapters Alberta Alpha Gamma, Fort Saskatchewan By: Donna Cummings and Xi Tau New York Kappa Sigma, Hartsdale (Chapter In A Box) By: Shannon Hagan North Carolina Kappa Sigma, Fayetteville By: Janice Jacobson and Alpha Chi 4 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch Texas Beta Mu Eta, Harlingen By: Elaine Adams and Xi Alpha Theta
5 By Elizabeth Morgan virtual member of Online Psi, full member of Arizona Laureate Sigma, Mesa Beta Sigma Phi has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother, Betty Morgan, joined in 1975, when my older brother was a baby. My mom and her sisters have been lighting up my life, and lighting my path for my entire life. I remember when I was a little girl and the ladies came over for meetings in their nice clothes, complete with lipstick and heels. I remember helping polish silver, so that everything would be just right for my mom s meetings. She always hosted her meetings in the formal living room of our house, and I would sometimes sit, hiding, in the entryway to hear the ladies laughing together. Sometimes, there would be leftovers from the special dessert that we would get to taste. What a treat! As I got older, I sometimes got to help with meetings. I remember one Christmas social in particular, when the ladies of my mom s chapter had a progressive dinner. Our house was the main course location. I was dressed up in a red plaid skirt that had a matching white blouse with a big collar trimmed in a plaid ruffle to match the skirt. I got to greet all of the ladies and their husbands as they arrived at our house. I felt so grown up, and I was so proud to be playing hostess for my mom s friends. My mom always let me know what Beta Sigma Phi meant to her, and I got to see the work the ladies did to help our community - donating to the local food pantry, creating food baskets for needy families, buying and wrapping presents for less fortunate children. My mom and her sisters set an example for me, and I am proud to be not only her daughter, but her sister and friend in Beta Sigma Phi. As a special treat, here s a recipe for one of the desserts that I remember my mom making for her Beta Sigma Phi meetings. The inclusion of oleo certainly dates this recipe (I haven t heard anyone say that in years!). I ve made it with butter, too, and these brownies are just as delicious as I remember! I hope you enjoy them! December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 5
6 Rushing Brightlighter Debra Weissmann, aka Brightlighter of British Columbia Epsilon Upsilon, Winfield hosts a monthly Girls Night Out to meet women who are interested in Beta Sigma Phi. She picks a place, time, theme, and shares the information any place she thinks women will see it. As you can see from the picture above, the events have been very successful. Debra is working on the organization of her second Friendly Venture chapter. Thank you Debra for sharing Beta Sigma Phi! We need more members to follow your example! Boise Valley City Council Rushing Activities Idaho, Boise Valley City Council officers organized a Beta Sigma Phi membership kiosk at the Boise Sesquicentennial Celebration this past summer. They followed up with a lively bunco party for prospective members on September 24, December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch Four chapters presented information on their social, cultural, and service activities as well as sharing the basics of sorority with the group. Everyone enjoyed getting acquainted while playing Bunco and refreshments. At this point they have three women expressing an interest in joining a chapter and the members are very open to them.
7 We Want to See you at the next convention! Yes! Send the following P ( ) check all that apply Rush Packet Friendly Venture Packet Party Plans Name: Member #: Address: City: State/Providence: Zip Code: Also send me names/addresses of members-at-large and prospective members for the following zip codes: Mail to: Rushing Department, Beta Sigma Phi International, P.O. Box 8500, Kansas City, MO Recommendation For Membership Please pass on my friend s name and info to see if she d like to learn more about chapters in her area. Member s Name: Member #: Chapter #: Her Name: Phone:( ) Address: City: State/Providence: Zip Code: Interests: Age Group: 20s 30s 40s 50+ December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 7
8 Happy The Christmas Season has always been a time for sisters in Beta Sigma Phi to focus on service and giving not to mention the love they have for their communities, and for one another. Here are just a few of the ways our sisters have celebrated the holiday season. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree... Here we see a photo of the sisters of Alabama Xi Sigma, McCalla, along with a daughter and granddaughter, who decorated a downtown Christmas Tree for the holidays it s the centerpiece of an open house and Christmas party for all of the dignitaries who participate in the local annual holiday parade. Xi Sigma has been doing the tree for numerous years, and this year they had a new, nine-foot-tall tree! The chapter furnished 1,000 lights and the decorations and ornaments, and Syble Lamons made a threefoot Santa to top the tree! The chapter is very proud 8 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch that they have been involved in the downtown area for so many years, and are members of the Chamber of Commerce, which gives high local visibility to sorority! Our tree is viewed every year by hundreds of people from across the state of Alabama. We also furnish Old Saint Nick riding the fire truck throwing candy to all the children. Members who helped were Lynne Beeson, Diana Hyche, Syble Lamons, Debra McCulley, Ruth Brewster, and Karla McCombs, along with her daughter and granddaughter. The chapter is gratified to have received so many compliments on the tree! - submitted by Syble Lamons
9 Holidays! No Sister Left Behind... Mary Jane Gray of Tennessee Preceptor Alpha Nu, Germantown, recently received her 50th Golden Circle, and the fact that she is in a nursing home didn t dampen the spirits for her special ceremony! Her sisters made sure to make the ceremony special, enlisting the aid of a caregiver to hold the ceremony in the home of a sister. Mary Jane doesn t have family It s Never Too Late for Christmas! Iowa Alpha Tau Master, Glenwood, celebrated Christmas 2012 in January 2013! Mother Nature sent a huge snowstorm just before our chapter s scheduled Christmas meeting. We are older ladies (it is a Master chapter, after all!) and we chose not to get out in the cold, slippery mess. Our lovely president, Linda Nisely, kept up all her Christmas decorations, including the tree, until our January 10 meeting at her home. We enjoyed a catered meal, our meeting, and then opened our long-awaited gifts. We learned who our Secret Sisters were, and chose a new 2013 Secret Sister gift theme of the nickname you wish you had. We waited a long time for Christmas with our sisters and it was worth the wait! - submitted by Letitia Tish Fitzsimmons living in Memphis any longer, so her other family her sisters in Beta Sigma Phi are faithful in remembering her all year long with visits and gifts. At Christmas, she is gifted with cards from sisters all over the United States, who send her news, photos, and notes...it always makes her holiday! - submitted by Susan McInnis, Mary Jane s sister Making Christmas Bright in Ontario... Pictured here are four of the 13 sorority sisters of Ontario Xi Zeta Phi, Tweed. Lorraine Burt, Sandy Thompson, Nancy Borden and Gayle Thompson represented the chapter by delivering items donated by the chapter to an underprivileged family in the area this past Christmas. With the help of family and friends, the chapter was given the name of a family who was in need of assistance at this special time of year. The sisters worked together to help supply that family with all the necessities to have a special holiday with all the trimmings. The chapter gave of themselves to this local family from their personal bounties with food for a full Christmas feast, baskets of food to stock their cupboards, stockings full of toys and things needed by a deserving family to have a lovely Christmas. This family was chosen from many that are in need in our area due to unforeseen circumstances. The chapter urges everyone to get in touch with their local Salvation Army to help them support local families to give a special holiday something every child and family deserves! - submitted by Sandy Thompson December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 9
10 Sisters play Christmas Angels for teens in need Seventeen years ago, in Ada, Oklahoma, several staff members at Ada Junior High School realized there was no local program to provide for teenagers in need at Christmas time. Most such programs were (and still are) aimed at younger children. Thus the program Ada Teens Angel was created. The school staff anonymously pairs a teen in need with a group of angels. Just before winter recess, the school presents the teen with wrapped gifts! For the past three years, Oklahoma Preceptor Delta, Ada, has participated in this heartwarming program. At our early December meeting, chapter members Bobbye Darbison, Lucille Collins, Abby Phillips, Juanita Sutton-Green, Juanita True, Carol Winton and prospective member Jean Kelly, each arrived with bags and boxes overflowing with nonperishable foodstuffs. We can only imagine the relief we provided! Each sister was filled with holiday joy as she shopped for the teenagers gifts, food, The city of Havelock, NC, holds a festive Christmas Parade each year through its charming downtown streets. Sisters of the North Carolina Pi Master, Havelock chapter, are always on hand to promote sorority and wish Happy Holidays to the community. Here are sisters Connie Stoermer and Arla King spreading the joy of Christmas and the joy of sorority at the parade. - submitted by Sally Kelly and did the wrapping. As a group, we were united in prayer, thankful for what we had shared with those in need and praying for a better year ahead for them... and we were each forever grateful to have the love and sisterhood of one another in Beta Sigma Phi. - submitted by Abby Phillips A Decorative Donation Recognizing the need of a local food pantry for supplies, the 12 members of New York Preceptor Alpha Tau, Canton, found inspiration for a Christmas service project. The idea for the project was presented by members Kathy Eagles and Marie Mundy-Storms. A list of food staples and toiletries were distributed to each sister. Boxes were decorated, filled, and then delivered to the Pierrepont, NY food pantry. Pictured from left to right are Marie Mundy-Storms, Mary Ann Caryl, Liz Jenison, and Laurie Swinwood. - submitted by Mary Ann Caryl North Carolina Sisters Spread the Joy of Christmas 10 December 2013 / January 2014
11 Stockings for Soldiers Our sorority chapter, Ohio Laureate Epsilon Mu, West Chester, joined with the West Chester American Legion Post 681 to provide Christmas stockings for soldiers in Afghanistan. Our military received a variety of gifts, from magazines to candy to vitamins to socks. There was also a great response from the entire community. This wonderful outpouring was no doubt a holiday boost for our heroes! Stockings were dropped off at the Mueller Parker Funeral Home in preparation for overseas shipment to our brave men and women who are serving our country. Pictured here is Jerry Nelson, Service Officer, who helped organize the distribution of the gifts from our chapter. - submitted by Maureen Ritter Toys for Tots, from Iowa to Virginia... The sisters of Iowa Xi Theta Zeta, Gilbert, enjoy exchanging Secret Sister gifts throughout the year, but at Christmas, they put a twist on their Secret Sister gift. Each member purchases a toy for the Toys for Tots program. The toy we choose is one that somehow reminds us of our Secret Sis. We gather to open gifts and enjoy watching one another react to the thoughts our Secret Sisters put into the toy. The unwrapped toys are then delivered to our local Toys for Tots. We have a great time with this service project, and we all enjoy making contributions to children in need. Five of our sisters were unable to be with us this year, but pictured here (top photo) are the rest of us with our donations. Meanwhile, sisters of Virginia Preceptor Alpha Chi, Falmouth, also collected for Toys for Tots. They purchased many items and made monetary donations, as well. We hope there were many happy endings in store for the children on Christmas morning (bottom photo). - submitted by Rosalyn Brandt (Xi Theta Zeta) and Linda Decatur (Preceptor Alpha Chi) Friends Around the World In the city of Wetumpka, Alabama s annual Christmas Parade, sisters of Alabama Xi Beta Chi, Wetumpka, made sure Beta Sigma Phi was represented! In keeping with sorority s international character not to mention last year s theme the sisters chose an appropriate theme for their parade float: Christmas Among Friends Around the World. Sisters dressed in the representative costume of several countries, including Italy, the USA, Egypt, Germany, Brazil, and even the Barbary Coast! Better yet, the sisters, like Santa, had some little helpers: their grandchildren, who helped man the float and enjoyed waving along the parade route. - submitted by Glenda Cardwell December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 11
12 Conventions The convention season drew to a close over the past few months with a series of wonderful conventions sure to create lasting memories. Here s a wrap-up of what your sisters are up to! Don t forget, you can send The Torch information about your conventions, and we ll help you share those great memories with your sisters around the world! Mississippi Lady luck was on hand to guide her sisters as members gathered in Biloxi, Mississippi for the 2013 Mississippi State Convention, hosted by the Mississippi Gulf Coast City Council September The theme was It s in the Cards, and sisters enjoyed numerous casino and card-themed activities all weekend long. International sent Samantha Ulmer, director of data processing, as a special guest. Thursday night was an early bird party and Beta Bingo Night. Friday the fun started early at 9 a.m. with a Crazy Bridge Card Party, complete with coffee and danish. That evening, the ladies enjoyed Diamonds and Denim, with a master jewelry designer, buffet dinner with cash bar, and jewelry and denim vendors. Saturday began with a roll call of chapters, an overview of the convention, and a speech from Samantha. Interesting workshops followed, where members learned to make embellished greeting cards and gift tags, while others learned a bit more about Tarot cards and received some readings from Madam Ida. A Woman of the Year reception followed, and then the Queen of Hearts Luncheon. That evening, sisters traveled in spirit to Vegas with a full Las Vegas Showcase with a buffet dinner, followed by live entertainment from Honky Tonks and Heartaches. Sunday morning saw a Jubilation Jackpot, with memorials, a special Spirit Award, convention bids, final remarks from Samantha, and the Closing Ritual. It was a fun weekend for our Southern Belles, and best of all, silent auction items benefited the Gulf Coast Women s Center for Nonviolence and the Bethel Free Health Clinic. New York The Convention registration began in the afternoon at the Otesaga resort hotel in Cooperstown, New York for the 2013 New York State Convention, October 4-6. The beautiful old hotel was once a girl s school and is purported to be haunted. In keeping with Cooperstown s home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the theme was Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Natty Bumppo! Laura Ross Wingfield, executive director of International, was the special guest. Friday dinner s theme was Take me out to Convention with speaker Chuck D Imperio, DJ and local celebrity. He spoke about his book on famous people buried in upstate New York. He told of his friendship with Kate Smith that began in his childhood at her instigation - her grave is one covered in the book. There was a photobooth set up for photos with a professional photographer and later that night two sessions of a ghost tour in town. Saturday s breakfast buffet was amazing. Forums followed, one from Laura and another on spirits, among others. Lunch was also a buffet (again, amazing), then tours. Laura took the Beverage tour of two breweries and one winery. Tea was served in the lobby before dinner, which was wonderful. Entertainment followed 12 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch in the ballroom, with Too Many Divas, a great women s singing group. There was a photobooth opportunity again at the firepit and a DJ in the hotel playing dance music. Sunday, began with a brunch buffet (tremendous!), then Laura spoke in the ballroom. Sisters placed bids for convention and showed appreciation to the hotel staff. Two young women from the hotel staff joined Beta Sigma Phi, and a front desk staffer plans to. The head chef came out with some of his staff to a standing ovation - there was love all around for all.
13 Michigan Twins Roberta Balser and Cynthia Mason, members of Michigan Alpha Chi Master, Flint, came home from the Michigan 2012 convention disappointed that there was no bid for Not wanting to go a year without one, they decided to make a plea to International and Michigan chapters to organize one themselves for After getting proper authorization, a reservation was made at a local hotel, and plans ensued. Eleven months later (October 11-13) the Flint, Michigan convention was held with 124 in attendance. A cruise on the SS Beta Sigma Phi began with sisters picking up their passports (program, gift bag, & ID) at the Embarkation Dock (registration desk). Friday evening was a sail away party on the Lido Deck (hotel ballroom). Horns were blown at sail away time, and a lively DJ provided an evening of fun before sisters retreated to their staterooms for an overnight voyage to Friendship Isle. A parrot named Beta Bird was the mascot at every event. Early Saturday morning, sisters shopped at the island boutiques (chapter bazaars), followed by Team Trivia with the Cruise Director. After that, sisters walked across the island to be greeted with a lei and tropical music for a lulu luncheon. Entertainment was provided by ventriloquist Barbara Daniel, 1984 s Miss Michigan. Everyone had to be back on board the ship before 6 p.m. to set sail again. Sisters were greeted at the door of the ballroom by the co-captains wearing tiaras for a cocktail party, followed by a formal dinner party with all silver and sparkly décor. Everyone received a cruise ship convention charm on a silver cord. Sunday was disembarkation day with a ritual color theme. Following breakfast and entertainment by the Sweet Adelines, the Closing Ritual was performed by Michigan Laureate Rho, Jackson, and the ship docked. Missouri Missouri sisters met in Jefferson City October for the Missouri State Convention. The theme was Show Me Some Sisterhood (appropriate for the Show Me State). Friday was arrival day for all the sisters for the convention. The International Gift Department was present for the convention, as well as Division Chairman Cynthia Meadows. Friday night s event was Rolling on the River Casino Night from 6 to 10 p.m. There was a cocktail hour and a few announcements and welcomes, then the fun began. Saturday, October 12th doors opened at 9:30 am for our brunch Show You Some Style. Following opening remarks and the Beta Sigma Phi grace, a plated lunch was served. Sisters then welcomed speaker Carrie Carroll, followed by a fashion show. Sisters had free time in the afternoon for a local festival or a choice of tours. Saturday evening saw a Capitol City Murder Mystery during dinner, followed by DJ Jim Logan until 11:30 pm. Sunday morning activities were called to order with an Executive Brunch Buffet. Entertainment was Sister Act, performed by Missouri Preceptor Lambda Iota, Jefferson City followed by a wonderful speaker, Millie Aulbur, Director of Citizenship Education for the Missouri Bar Association. After presentations and the passing of the convention lamp, the Closing Ritual was performed and sisters went their separate ways a great time was had by all! Wisconsin Wisconsin s convention was held October in Kenosha, with the theme God Bless America. International sent Division Chairman Cindy Vance as a special guest. Friday evening, everyone was welcomed in the Prairie Ballroom with a beautiful presentation of a God Bless America video. As the evening progressed, sisters enjoyed a USO Dance, contests, skits, and a Best American Gal contest. Following Saturday Breakfast, a very touching Color Guard was presented by The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 767, The Battlefield Cross Ceremony, National Anthem, and My Name is America video. An excellent Forum, Cornelia Harvey, Wisconsin Angel, was presented by a local Civil War Museum actor, Mary Kababik. During lunch sisters enjoyed a Style Show presented by local merchants. Brenda Mueller of Wisconsin Laureate Alpha Alpha, Merrill, discussed Operation Home Front, Wisconsin - their State Service Project. At Convention, $1,365 was donated, bringing their total dollar amount raised to $4,465. Saturday evening many dressed in Civil War Cotillion for Cocktail Hour, dinner and dancing. Sisters had the pleasure of dining with Paula Mae Kuiper, aka 2013 Miss Wisconsin. The Ken Covan & Company Band played music for a dance to round out the evening. Sunday morning, the Convention was winding down, with announcements, raffles, door prizes, and a Memorial for our cherished sisters lost. December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 13
14 Chapter in the Spotlight Chapter Down Under celebrates 50 Years of Sisterhood! By J. Eleanor Holden, Victoria Epsilon Master, Williamstown In 1963 in the west of Australia, three young ladies Maureen Dawes and Audrey Taylor (now members-at-large of Victoria Beta Master, Melbourne) and Yvonne Turner (now deceased), decided to form a chapter of Beta Sigma Phi this was the birth of the Epsilon chapter. Now, in 2013 the chapter s 50th anniversary members voted that this would be their final year: they would bow out gracefully. Special events have taken place since then a mid-week holiday on Phillip Island (fierce winds, rain and only a splash of sunshine couldn t dampen their enthusiasm!). Two well-known horticulturists shared the story of Williamstown Gardens, as the members strolled through. They have enjoyed lunch at the Yarrville/Footsray Bowling Club, while members studied the Horse Form in the Melbourne Cup Sweep. This December, the sisters gathered at Beginning with a group of 25 sisters, membership went up and down over time; some members moved to different locales or changed careers, and some have passed on. New members filled the ranks, and over the march of years, the chapter passed through successive degrees, attaining their Master and in 2013 lightly touching the Torchbearer degree. Seven founding members were awarded a 50-year badge a special surprise for those who attended the 2013 Founder s Day Luncheon, and who were honored and officially congratulated by Melbourne Victorian City Council president Tina Oataway. To celebrate their final year of active sorority together, the sisters enjoyed an overnight stay at the Werribee Park Mansion. Each member received a lovely birthday memoir card, including photographs taken from the full tenure of their time in Beta Sigma Phi. Their final official meeting was held in May, and many members most notably the seven surviving founders shared their emotions about how valuable sorority has been in their lives. They mentioned researching of projects for programs, servicing and raising money for Ways & Means, and all the delightful trips they took along the way. In the whirl of socials over the decades, there were celebrations of babies born, birthdays, and a wedding. Needless to say, this meeting was nostalgic, memorable, and heavy with emotion. 14 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch (l-r) Irene Gittins, Muriel Lysiuk, Norma Nash, Joan Ridley, Lois Swaby, Irene Wescott, Barbara Fleischer, Valerie Robbins & Joan Crook. The Anchorage for a Christmas Lunch to celebrate the end of the final year of the Epsilon Master chapter. But it s not the end! In the meantime, the chapter received correspondence from Beta Sigma Phi International, who recommended that the chapter remain as a Sustaining Chapter; this enables the members to easily stay in touch and continue to enjoy a slightly more relaxed form of sorority. This cements the time our chapter spent in Beta Sigma Phi truly, it was an experience of Life, Learning and Friendship. On behalf of the members of Epsilon Master-Sustaining, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2014!
15 Angels of Mercy Editor s Note: This is the final part of a series on Beta Sigma Phi members who have seen military service. In our November issue, we explored the lives of sisters who currently serve. In this issue, we take a step back in time to World War II and the days of the Vietnam War, and meet two sisters who brought love and healing to soldiers when they needed it most. Bonnie Landon, now of Tennessee Laureate Lambda, Memphis, joined Beta Sigma Phi in Years before, she had a different life: that of a medic in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Like many men and women of that era, she was patriotic and wanted to do her part. But she also had a more pragmatic reason: she wanted adventure. It was my own idea, and I volunteered to go, Bonnie said. I was in a little town called Blytheville, Arkansas, and there was nothing to do. Unfortunately, if you were a girl, all you could do was get married and have babies. Eventually, Bonnie did that but not before she had her great adventure. On September 30, 1943, Bonnie enlisted in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in the U.S. Navy and quickly achieved the rank of Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class. She received her training at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Massachusetts (it closed in 1974), and was fairly quickly transferred as close to the front as a woman could get Honolulu, Hawaii. There, she had a rather grim job: to decide who could be saved and who couldn t. Most days I was there where they airlifted the wounded soldiers from the islands, she said, referring to various Pacific islands where U.S. soldiers were engaged in some of the most vicious and deadly conflicts of the war. They d bring the soldiers from the airfield in trucks, and we d have to look them over and decide if we could save them. Most of the wounds had been stabilized by field medics, but by the time many soldiers reached her, it was too late. Some of them we could save, she said. We d identify them by priority (how badly they were wounded) and send them further on. But some of them... She didn t need to complete the sentence. Bonnie explained that in many cases, the best nurses could do was to hold a young soldier s hand just so they wouldn t be alone when they passed and there wasn t always time for even that. Bonnie later returned home and eventually got around to doing what those girls from her hometown did got married and had babies. Recently, she was honored by the Forever Young organization, a group that takes WWII vets on trips to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial. Bonnie took that trip, and went a step further the organization sent her and several other Navy nurses back to Honolulu in I won t forget it, she said. I m absolutely proud of it and I have no regrets none at all. Bonnie became aware of sorority during the war years, but it wasn t until the late 1960s that she joined a local chapter. Bonnie enjoyed the trip, and got plenty of attention from her fellow veterans of the opposite gender. There were very few women in the military during that time, so those veterans loved her traveling with them, said her daughter, Susan Murrah. Not to mention, she is a delightful person. Yvonne Potts, now of Virginia Laureate Psi, Hampton, saw something she didn t like during the Vietnam War news footage of soldiers returning home being treated disrespectfully by war protestors. Being against the war was one thing, but to spit upon or degrade soldiers many of whom were drafted was too much, in her opinion. She wanted to do something about it. The way people were treating them when they came back home was... Even today, she struggles to find words to describe it. It was emotional. The era being what it was, Yvonne couldn t join up and fight. But she could do something to help the soldiers. She joined the Women s Army Corps. I had my license in practical nursing, and I decided I really wanted to go into the military, she said. Those men were fighting for their country. To take care of them, to take care of their families, gave me a good feeling. December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 15
16 Yvonne was 19 years old, and unmarried, so there was little to hold her back. She went to Alabama for basic training, then went to what is now the Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she was trained as a trauma nurse and got her first taste of treating wounded soldiers. From there, she was shipped off to Stuttgart, Germany. There, she helped military men in a way many might not consider: she helped deliver their babies. I worked in labor and delivery, she said. Married soldiers sometimes had their wives with them in fact, military wives greatly expanded Beta Sigma Phi all over the world, she said. It was during this time, in fact, she first became aware of sorority. Yvonne served a two-year tour and then returned stateside, where she met her husband, a Navy man: Master Chief Edward R. Potts. They married, and Yvonne traveled the world with Edward. We lived in Japan, then Egypt, and all over the East Coast, she recalls. It was during an East Coast deployment that she got much better acquainted with sorority. My husband was stationed in South Carolina, and one of the ladies whose husband was on a submarine with mine took me to my first meeting and introduced me to sorority, Yvonne said. She joined sorority in 1979 and has been an active member ever since. It s important to Yvonne that Beta Sigma Phi members realize the spread of sorority across the globe had almost everything to do with military wives. Wherever there were U.S. servicemen, you d find Beta Sigma Phi, she said. Yvonne is modest about her own service, but it s clear she feels some pride, knowing she brightened some lives. In fact, Yvonne realized that being a nurse is about a lot more than medical care. I helped them physically, but I was also there for them emotionally, she said. I read to them, talked to them, prayed with them. Chapter Yardstick Change Hello sisters! We want to draw your attention to a change on the Chapter Yardstick, which is now available for download. In the planning category, under Beta Sigma Phi review, there are two additional options for earning points. Until now, you could earn three points for each Book of Beta Sigma Phi monthly activity. Many of our longtime sisters know that book front to back, and have asked for additional ways to review and earn points in that category. Now, in addition to the Book activities, you can earn three points for each issue of The Torch reviewed (either in print or online), or three points for review of the Beta Sigma Phi website. If you have any questions, don t hesitate to ask! Correction: September/October 2013 Torch page 16 Lone Star Sisters Ride to the Rescue. In the article the ride was identified as a bike race, in fact it is not a race but a charitable bike ride advocating for funds for cancer research all along the way. Also we forgot to identify Tina Beigelbeck University of Texas Student and Team Leader for this years Texas 4000 Ride, shown here in the middle holding the check. Article was submitted by Bobbi Torchia of Online Delta. Our appologies for these errors. 16 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch
17 By Seann McAnally Betsy, Eric and I here at The Torch have our own challenge: we d like every chapter to subscribe to the print edition of The Torch. Those who do will be eligible to become official Torch Chapters! By now, many of you are familiar with Laura Ross Wingfield s membership challenge: for each sister to add one new member over the next two years. We know many of our sisters enjoy reading the online, PDF version of The Torch but many sisters don t. They prefer print, which is in many ways longer-lasting and more meaningful to them. The print edition is alive and well for now, but we re looking to the future. If just one sister from every chapter subscribed possibly by gathering a few dollars from each member then they could share the physical copy among themselves, include clippings in scrapbooks, and so on, and there would be no question of the sustainability of the print edition for years to come. So, NOW is the time to obtain that chapter subscription to The Torch and be eligible to become a Torch Chapter. What does that mean? All chapters that participate including those who already have sisters with subscriptions will be placed in a drawing each issue. The winning chapter will have a page in The Torch completely dedicated to them! That means The Torch staff can write a chapter in the spotlight about your chapter, or you can request articles of special interest or you can even fill that page yourself, submitting whatever you d like (within reason!). Is print better than digital? That s really in the eye of the beholder. But it s worth noting the results of a recent study by professors Arthur D. Santana, Randall Livingstone, and Yoon Cho of the University of Oregon. They found that readers spend more time with print articles than online articles, and that readers recall and retain more facts and images from print than digital media. Never fear your free, online copy of The Torch is always going to be available. While our recent Save Our Torch campaign proved successful, a subscription magazine is always in flux. Members may not renew for a variety of reasons. Rates for bulk postage and printing are subject to change. We have recently lowered our costs to print The Torch across the board. Some members have asked me why we must charge for the print edition, or if it could be made less expensive by reducing the paper quality or making other cuts. The truth is, the print version of The Torch is not a money-making enterprise. It s a service. But it s not free to produce, and it has to at least break even to continue. We want to reinforce the concept that this is your magazine by putting your Torch Chapter in control of an entire page each issue. We can t wait to see what our sisters will come up with. So if you already have members of your chapter who subscribe, you re already eligible. If you don t, let us know. We can handle it in a five-minute phone call, so don t hesitate to contact Betsy or I at Our first Torch Chapter will be featured in our February issue, and it could be yours don t miss it! December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 17
18 Sisterfest in Southwestern Ontario Nothing mini about this convention! Editor s Note: Chapters often host regional or mini-conventions - here s one that was larger than some state conventions! Even if you have modest numbers at a mini-convention, The Torch wants to hear about it! Let us know at Beta Sigma Phi chapters in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, hosted a miniconvention Sisterfest in October They welcomed 220 sisters from 49 chapters from Southwestern Ontario. The idea for Sisterfest began as a day for sisters to congregate for lunch to share stories of their years in sorority and to discuss Beta Sigma Phi happenings just down the highway with area sisters. It quickly evolved into more than a luncheon! The day was filled with lots of activities which began with table mingling in order for sisters to get to know their table mates by sharing information and stories about their chapter. Then another mingling activity was introduced with a challenge to meet 10 other sisters from different chapters and cities. Everyone then enjoyed a wonderful hot buffet lunch prepared by St. George Banquet Hall. While enjoying dessert and coffee, guest speaker Susan Cranston presented The Tale of the Sister and the Oxygen Mask. Her presentation focused on women and how many of us neglect our top personal needs because we re busy pleasing others, raising families. Susan then presented ways to tap into rekindling our dreams and exploring practical tips to bring them to life. The afternoon was filled with various workshops on organizing our personal space, nutrition, fashion and skin care. Sisters also enjoyed a marketplace of Beta Sigma Phi vendors and public vendors. During the event, raffle tickets were sold to raise funds for a very worthwhile project in our community, the Family Violence Relocation Project of Waterloo Region. There was also a photo booth for sisters to snap a chapter photo memory of the day. As the day drew to an end, draws were made for the door prizes donated by chapters and councils, as well as for the raffle gifts which were generously donated by local businesses in our community. Thanks to our generous Sisterfest participants, we raised $ for the charity from the raffle tickets and photo booth donations. The Sisterfest committee (Jenn Ososki of Ontario Delta Rho, Cambridge, Joanne Mouneimne of Ontario Preceptor Alpha Sigma, Kitchener, Diane Hawrylenko of Ontario Preceptor Beta Rho, Kitchener, Sheena Curwood of Ontario Preceptor Lambda, Kitchener, Paula Fecteau of Ontario Xi Gamma Theta, Kitchener, and Leanne Reekie and Amberlee O Connor of Ontario Xi Theta Eta, Kitchener) would like to thank all of the ladies who attended our event, and to also thank the group of Kitchener Waterloo sisters who helped with the goody bags, the raffle gifts, the hall decorations and day-of volunteer tasks. Based on the feedback from many participants, we feel confident that our sisters enjoyed a fun-filled day and went home with lots of new friends and new ideas. We hope that the connections that were made will continue to swap stories of sisterhood in the future. Karen Payne, Leanne Reekie and Jenn Ososki (above) (below) Diane Hawrylenko and Susan Cransto 18 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch
19 Johnnye Wells Felps of Texas Master Beta Zeta, Denison, recently retired from a long career and closed the doors on one of the longest-running and most successful businesses in her hometown. Local leaders have been praising her as a pioneer for women in business, and her strong reputation as a business leader has brought honorable attention to Beta Sigma Phi in her community. Johnnye was a business woman before women were prominent employees or owners, said sorority sister Ruby Moran. She witnessed the transition from manual to modern-day technology. The year was 1900 and it was a simpler time. A handshake was considered as binding as a written contract and many merchants carried in-house credit, allowing their customers to buy what they need and pay later. It was a matter of trust by the store owners and responsibility on the customers side. Even then, merchants needed dependable advice when deciding whether or not to extend credit to someone. Without modern technology, computers and the Internet, information on individuals finances, work, personal history and dependability had to be gleaned manually. To provide this service to local businesses, the Denison Retail Merchants Association later known as the Grayson County Retail Merchants Association was organized. Johnnye came on board in 1948, and quickly rose to manage the company in a business community mostly dominated by men. Since that time, the association has continuously provided credit information to its members. However, its 113-year service came to an end in November, when Johnnye closed its doors for good. The years and modern technology have brought many changes not all positive for the association, says Wells, who took over the association as full owner in 1992 after running it for decades. When I first started in 1948 we did everything manually, Wells said. At one time, we had 14 girls working in here! Practically all the businesses in Grayson County Texas Sister Blazes Trail for Women in Business were members. They depended on us. But technology has destroyed nearly all small credit bureaus now. People can secure credit reports themselves over the Internet. Closing the business has just become a must. It s just one of those things. It s kind of like having a funeral in the family. From a dozen charter members in 1900, the association membership grew to include several hundred businesses and professionals from Denison, Sherman, and the surrounding area. The service it provided expanded through the years to include not just providing credit information, but investigating possible advertising schemes, protecting members against hot checks, delinquent account collections and sponsoring vocational training schools on retail credit procedures. Johnnye has always been so caring about all of the businesses, and always had their best interests at heart in working with them, supplying credit reports and things they needed, said Anna McKinney, of the Denison Chamber of Commerce. I admire her. She was a woman running a business long before it was a common thing. She has been a role model and a mentor for us. She is going to be missed as a permanent fixture in our business community. Wells, aided by her husband, Lynn Felps, and employee Deborah Hicks, has cleared out the office and held her final day of business. She said she s enjoyed her many years on the job, but is ready for much-needed relaxation. She stays busy as an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and, of course, has more time to devote to sorority, which she said has given her much of the confidence and drive that enabled her to blaze trails for women in business. I m sorry to leave all of you, Johnnye told her fellow merchants in an article in her hometown paper. But I need a rest! Editor s Note: Portions of this article, and the photograph, were originally printed in the Herald Democrat newspaper and are included here with permission. December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch 19
20 California Sisters Help Teen s Family Breathe Easier Roberta Bobbie Call, a retired nurse and member of California Preceptor Kappa Sigma, Concord, experienced some health issues last year, and was receiving pulmonary therapy at the John Muir Pulmonary Rehab Facility. During her treatments, she struck up a special friendship with a 17-year-old boy, Justin Fowler. When he was 5, Justin was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a degenerative disease, but symptoms vary from person to person due to more than 1,000 mutations of the gene. Many CF patients are in need of organ transplants. In Justin s case, he needed a lung transplant. He received one in February, just 5 days after his 17th birthday. Justin s courage and personal charisma in the face of his struggles, as well as his sweet nature, impressed Bobbie, and she wanted to do something to help. Even though the lung transplant was successful, Justin s recovery is a long and complex process, requiring various treatments including the pulmonary treatments where he and Bobbie became friends. Because of this, Justin s family has been obliged to stay at a hotel near the hospital, which is far from their hometown. They ve been unable to work since February, but they ve gotten some relief thanks to the efforts of Bobbie and her sorority sisters. Not only did Bobbie organize a huge pot luck barbeque to raise much-needed funds and gift cards for the family, she has arranged for the family to work with an organization called COTA that help transplant patients cover costs without losing SSI benefits that they are entitled to (these donations help cover cost and provide tax deductions to donors, while not having it count as income toward the family.) Bobbie s efforts spurred other fund-raisers for Justin s family, who say they have been blessed by Bobbie and the community. Alabama Sister Brings History to Life Barbara Free-Wallace of Alabama Xi Alpha Pi, Gadsden, recently donned a period costume and took on the role of a historical character to educate the public and raise funds for a local cemetery. Barbara participated in the 5th Annual A Walk Through Time program, an event intended to preserve the history and dignity of Forrest Cemetary in downtown Gadsden. She portrayed Anne Mathilde Bilbro ( ) a well-known composer, music teacher, and novelist. Barbara researched the role and brought to life many of Bilbro s accomplishments, such as her revolutionary teaching method which changed the way many children were taught to play piano. Meanwhile, Barbara s sorority sister Sharron Yancy of Alabama Laureate Eta, Gadsden played Bilbro s music in accompaniment. Some 50 participants from local organizations took part in the event. Another sister, Anne Batie, also of Laureate Eta, worked all day as the information director at the event. Another Gadsden chapter that took part was Preceptor Zeta. One of the chief goals of the event was to gather donations to help defray the cost of repairing the roof of the historic Ruth Cross Memorial Chapel, which was constructed in by the federal Works Progress Administration. - submitted by Sharron Yancy 20 December 2013 / January 2014 The Torch