Following Opening Night at the Texas State Conference, I returned to Washington to attend the 113th D.C. State Conference, Julia Miller Rogers, State Regent. Julia’s theme is “Honor the Past - Preserve Our Heritage - Build for the Future”.
The original shape of the District of Columbia as envisioned by George Washington in 1791 was a diamond; and most of the original land is intact today. The mile markers of the original boundary of the District of Columbia were put in place from 1791-1792 by Andrew Ellicott. Larger stones are laid at the north, south, east, and west corners of the original ten-mile square. The south corner stone was ceremoniously laid at Jones’ Point on April 15, 1791. Since 1915 the District Daughters have worked to restore and protect the historic boundary stones. It was a natural fit that Julia would choose a diamond as her emblem.
Julia’s theme is DIVAS – Daughters Involved for America and these ladies truly are! Many of the District Daughters volunteer at Headquarters as Museum Docents and on the Property Beautification and Hospitality Committee and it was a pleasure to share activities of Young Administration and updates on projects at National Headquarters.
At the Opening Night banquet, cards were distributed with room numbers of some of the committees and chapters for a Mardi Gras round robin. All of the over 130 attendees were invited to come and go for informal visits with light refreshments in the rooms and Mardi Gras beads as party favors. I managed to visit almost every room and accumulate quite a few beads!
Following the morning business session, Patrick Sheary, Curator of Furnishings for the DAR Museum, gave a lively presentation on the D.C. Period Room as it is in the process of redecorating.
Saturday afternoon Claudia Onken, State Regent of Delaware, Gail Terry, State Regent of Massachusetts and Dot Lind, State Regent of South Carolina and I had a fascinating tour of Postal Museum, hosted by May Day Taylor, Honorary State Regent and avid Philatelist. May Day was responsible for many first day covers depicting DAR and C.A.R. The recently retired Curator of the Museum, Dr. Cheryl Ganz, interpreted the very interesting China exhibit.
State Registrar Layla Voll Heimlich presented a very encouraging report in which she stated that three chapters exceeded the Administration’s goal of a 10% net gain in membership: Margret Whetten Chapter, with 15% growth and 9 new members; Mary Desha Chapter, with 22% growth and 6 new members, and Manor House Chapter, with 22 new members and 48% growth. Each member of those chapters was given a “+10% Soaring High Chapter” ribbon to wear. Additionally, every member who attained a Member-for-Member credit was also given a “I helped someone join DAR” ribbon.
The Rogers Administration emphasized not only on gaining new members, but also on retaining both new and old members through programs such as the New Members’ Course, monthly prospective member workshops and the many other ways the State Society, the Chapters, and individual members worked to ensure that new members became involved in the work of our Society.
Statistics show that we lose a large percentage of members within the first five years because they are not actively engaged in a chapter. One of Julia’s initiatives is a course for new members to help them become better acquainted with DAR. Many of the course graduates not only received certificates of completion but are more actively engaged in their chapters, thus resulting in better retention of new members.
It was a pleasure to install the newly elected State Officers for 2014-2016 and to participate in presentation of the State Outstanding Junior and Good Citizens. Everyone sparkled at the D.C. State Conference!