Departing Washington, DC before the sun was up Friday morning, I traveled through Minneapolis/St. Paul on my way to Rapid City, South Dakota. I have a new respect for the trials of Native Americans after listening to an amazing woman, Marcella LaBeau, describe how she and her ancestors overcame and even triumphed over circumstances they faced, and also hearing member’s tell of their work with tribes in their state. South Dakota Daughters, you are truly making a difference in your communities. Thank you for the inspiring weekend.
- President General Ann Dillon
On March 31, President General Ann Turner Dillon’s flight arrived at the Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota in the early afternoon. Mrs. Dillon was met by her escorts, Honorary State Regent Adele Kipp and her daughter, Honorary State Regent Lisa Nydam. Mrs. Dillon is the third President General these ladies have had the privilege to escort.
When Mrs. Dillon arrived at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center, she was met by Daughters from every corner of South Dakota. This special visit had been anticipated for many, many months and it was now time to enjoy having Mrs. Dillon at our conference.
The evening of March 31 was also our Banquet night. Three of our Honorary State Regents were in attendance, Adele Kipp, Lisa Nydam and Lavonne Anderson. We were also honored by having Wyoming State Regent Donna Weaver and her husband in attendance.
The highlight of the Banquet was an inspiring and moving speech by Mrs. Dillon. In a quote by one of our chapter regents:
“As a Chapter Regent I often think about ways to make our chapter stronger. Mrs. Dillon made a very helpful comment on this topic. She mentioned that over the years she has heard this plea many times, ‘We have nobody to serve as (fill in the blank with an officer position), what should we do?’ She urged current officers to identify and mentor future officer candidates now, whether or not an election is at hand or an unpredicted vacancy has occurred, in order to create a smooth transition and a stronger chapter.”
Our 103rd Annual State Conference started out with the displays being set up and visited by many Daughters throughout the state. These displays ranged from the Junior Doll, in the likeness of Maggie Mellette, the wife of our first governor, and all her accessories including a carved handmade bed. We had a ‘real daughter’ display and even a Mayflower information area.
The Dillon Administration merchandise almost immediately sold out and it was so much fun to see all the ladies who had purchased earrings and other jewelry, proudly wearing their new accessories.
The start of the festivities featured samples of the classes for both New Members and New Horizons. After our introduction into some of the offerings, we were all in for a lot of fun and learning with the ‘Knowledge Bowl’ challenge. There were some competitive spirits with the ladies as we all tried to answer the random questions being drawn from a bowl.
At this time of year, we wanted to insure regardless of the weather that we would all have a great time. The focus was not on tourist attractions, but on great speakers and allowing a lot of time for getting acquainted and a lot of old fashioned visiting. Another main focus of the conference committee was having beautiful food provided by an icon of fine dining in Rapid City.
Before Mrs. Dillon departed on Saturday afternoon, she was able to enjoy a rare speaker, a 95 year old descendant of Chief Four Bears, one of the original ‘Fool Soldiers’ from Lake Shetek, Mrs. Marcella LeBeau (Pretty Rainbow Woman). After a delicious luncheon, Mrs. Dillon made her departure and left us with a respect for our leadership and kind words that will not be forgotten.