Friday, May 01, 2009

The Homemakers' Club

By popular demand, today's post is going to be about the Homemakers' Club that I belong to, that met at my house a few weeks ago.

I refer to it as the Homemakers' Club for ease, but in reality it's the Hamel chapter of the MCAHCE which stands for Madison County Association of Home and Community Education. And it used to be call the Home County Extension, I think. In essence that's what it is, the county extension club.

Our chapter has about 20 or so members at any given time. In general, meetings follow the format of a board meeting, with the rules of order. The meetings generally last 3-4 hours, all told. Everyone gathers in the home of the person who is hosting that month, and visits a bit, then snacks and coffee and drinks are served, and then the meeting is called to order. The Pledge of Allegiance is said and the minutes from the last meeting are read. The business presented for the club usually involves charitable giving or news items involving us or other chapters. There is a report from all the officers and people who head things up, like the 4H leaders, and from our treasurer. The members all collect and donate different things, like cancelled postage stamps, Campbell's labels, can tabs, milk lids, Box Tops for Education, old blankets and towels, canned foods, old eyeglasses, and toiletries. These are all given to charities that can use them like the local schools, the Lion's Club, the animal shelters, and the food pantries.

At every meeting, a lesson is presented. The person who presents the lesson attends a main teaching session at the University of Illinois Extension offices, then brings the handouts and information and reports the lesson back to the club. The lesson can be about many different topics. The last one was about retirement funds and the different tax laws and such surrounding ira's and whatnot. You can tell I was riveted by that one. :) The March meeting usually has a gardening lesson. The last one was about ground covers. There have been fun ones, like Using Your Creativity, and then there have been ones that don't apply to me very well at all, like retirement homes. And there are some in between, like the one about retirement money and the one about writing wills and having living wills. Things I should know about, but aren't super intested in. It's generally a good mix.

In addition to the meetings, there are also outings that are fun for us, like last summer we went into St. Louis and saw My Fair Lady at the MUNY. And charitble events, like the Easter bake sale we held at the bank in town to raise $300+ for the Animal Shelter and the ALS Association. There will be a lunch service stand at the Hamel community wide rummage sales on May 16th, as well. I won't get to attend that, because I'll be gone to MI then, but it's also a charity fundraiser, where the ladies will serve sloppy joes and hot dogs and other treats for sale at the community center in town on the day everyone is having their rummage sales.

The ladies in the club are generally of my grandmother's generation, though there is a mix of those in my mom's generation. The only one close to my age is about six years older, but she had to quit and go back to school and work. It's difficult for people of my generation to join, I suppose, since most of them work or have kids at home, and the meetings are on weekday afternoons. But the clubs only meet once a month, so I would think it might be do-able for some sahm's to join and attend.

Though there is a big age difference, and it can be frustrating when they don't know what I'm talking about sometimes (like trying to explain about audio books and mp3 players... I shouldn't even have gotten into that conversation, lol), I find that I do have a lot in common with the ladies as well as a lot I can learn from them. Though the club's lessons themselves rarely cover baking or gardening or animals or canning, all I have to do is ask during the social parts of the meetings for lots of input and advice.

So, that's my view of the Homemakers' Club and how it works.
Here's the link for the county extension, which has some great resources, but which doesn't really mention this particular program. The University of Illinois Extension site in general has tons of info about planting and gardening all sorts of fruits and veggies though, so it's a good site to browse if you're interested.

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1 comment:

Blue Castle said...

Thank you for sharing about your club. It sounds so fun. I think it would be neat to visit with older ladies about how they managed their houses "back in the day".

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