There can be no doubt that Tidewater District’s greatest strength is its dedicated, caring, and tireless members past, PRESENT, and future. In the coming year, a celebration will begin to honor Tidewater District’s 100th year. Looking back, it is difficult to grasp the selfless efforts of Tidewater club women who dealt with the devastating Depression, World War II, persistent inequities, the Vietnam War, the challenges of recent years, and more illnesses and natural disasters than can be named. How wonderful if we could share the memories of the members who brought us to this milestone in the District’s history.
Geographically, the Tidewater District includes Virginia’s Eastern Shore, extends south via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to include Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, the area known as the “Southside”. It continues to the “Peninsula” via the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to include Hampton, Newport News, Phoebus, Poquoson, Yorktown, and northwest to Williamsburg. This amazing area offers many reasons to visit or make it your home. It proudly welcomes a large population of active duty and retired service men and women from all branches of the military. The USO operates at several locations and GFWC clubs find ways to support military families through the USO. For the duration of this GFWC Virginia administration, the entire state is supporting the State Project, the Armed Services YMCA, which serves military families in Virginia Beach.
In the 1968-1970 administration, Tidewater District became the first district to design an emblem and it remains in continuous use today. The emblem takes the form of a shield held by the wings of a seagull. Sections of the shield illustrate important aspects of Tidewater District. The center holds an anchor symbolic of the many naval bases in Tidewater. There’s a bright red crab for our Eastern Shore and a tri-corn hat recalling the style in colonial times that can be seen today in Colonial Williamsburg. The lighthouse references the Cape Henry lighthouse that marks the spot Europeans first landed in the new world in 1607. The silver Norfolk mace is portrayed as it is a symbol of Tidewater’s pre-colonial times.
In the current administration, Tidewater’s District project reminds us that as “Baby Boomers” add years, more and more will face the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s. This results in the challenges of medical care, managing even simple activities of daily life, finding long term care, the expenses that entails, and the toll this disease takes on families and caregivers. Knowing that, the Tidewater District project is Alzheimer’s-Research and Support.
The current District President’s theme is “Cherish our Federation Journey”. As observed above, it would be amazing to share in the memories of club women who built Tidewater District and brought it to nearly 100 years of successes. Just as thrilling is sharing the efforts and projects of today’s club women, as we find new ways to see a need and fill it, to value all that Federation means to us, and build a strong Federation future on the sands of Tidewater.