As November is the Month of the Military Family and also Veterans Day falls in November, we felt it was apt to spotlight Lee District this month.That is because our District Special Project is a combination of two charitable organizations - REACHCycles, which provides specially adapted tricycles for the handicapped, mainly children, and Veterans and Athletes United, VAU, which caters to veterans and their families, with an emphasis on sports for disabled veterans and family retreats. Both organizations were founded by Capt. James Howard, Ret’d., which is the reason for combining our support of the two. Despite the current Covid-19 restrictions, we have been able to provide 44 bags of goodies to be presented to the children as they receive their new tricycles, making the day even more special. For VAU, we have provided food and served at the only social for veterans that Capt. Howard has been able to hold, but have given gift bags for their sky diving outing and welcome baskets for a visit by Gold Star Mothers. In the meantime, we are raising funds to donate at the end of this Administration by selling raffle tickets.
Lee District started life as The Fifth District of The Federation of Women’s Clubs of Virginia on March 20th, 1925. It was originally comprised of 22 counties, and the name “Fifth District” remained throughout the 1950’s, when it was changed to “Lee District.” It currently covers the central area of Virginia, from Ashland in the north to Gloucester in the West, Chesterfield in the South and Powhatan in the West and includes 16 General and 10 Junior Clubs. The District Seal shows clasped hands on a Carolina Blue shield and was adopted at the 1976 Spring Meeting.
Lee District is proud of the outstanding clubwomen who have served as GFWC Virginia President. To date, eight members have held that distinction and ten members have served as GFWC Virginia Third Vice-President/Director of Junior Clubs.
During 1970, Mrs. Linwood Holton, wife of Governor Linwood Holton, opened the Executive Mansion for tours. Members began serving as docents, which became a Lee District Project and members have served as docents since that time. In fact, we celebrated 50 years of this continued Project last year. At the 1972 Spring District Meeting, the Lee District Juniors voted to support Camp Easter Seal, located in Caroline County, as their philanthropic project.
Along with the regular awards given to clubs at the Annual Meeting, Lee District clubs sponsor eight Special Awards, with monetary gifts.
The current administration uses Mary Stewart’s Collect for Clubwomen as its theme “Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed” for the Generals and “Let us take time for all things. Make us grow calm, serene, gentle” for the Juniors. It is purely a coincidence that the President and Third Vice President/Director of Junior Clubs both chose parts of the Collect, as they did not discuss this before deciding!
As with so many other districts, we have some clubs that are thriving despite the restrictions and others that have found fund raising, meeting and retaining members more difficult. However, there is still a strong spirit of service and friendship and we look forward to growing in numbers and enthusiasm of purpose.