When meeting Daughters in my travels, I love to ask why they joined DAR. For many, it was a family tradition and they enjoy sharing our organization with several generations of their family. One of my favorite aspects, which draws many women to DAR, is that there is a variety of committees to meet the different interests of members.
When my children were young, I was involved in the Children of the American Revolution and was surprised to discover my father had joined C.A.R. in 1923. As my children grew up, I became more involved in serving our veterans, particularly after losing my father, a World War II veteran. Although I never served in uniform, it has been a privilege to serve those who did and to record their oral histories for the Library of Congress.
Other members joined because of a specific mission, such as our support of the military. One member who inspires me became involved in Project Patriot and has developed strong relationships with the men and women to whom she shipped supplies, referring to them as “her kids.” In fact, she shipped so many boxes to Iraq and Afghanistan that she returned to work after retirement in order to help pay for postage. Furthermore, she has used her genealogical talents to recruit several of the women to join DAR!
In fact, many of our members are avid genealogists and enjoy helping prospective members discover their own histories. For others, teaching our young people to appreciate our American history and how to become better citizens is very rewarding. Historic preservation is a calling for many who are passionate about saving our history in order to share it with future generations.
I joined DAR because it was a family tradition on my Dad’s side, thanks to a great-aunt who had proven the genealogy and later organized a chapter. I encouraged my mother to join and now we have six generations that have been members of DAR/SAR/C.A.R. However, I stayed active because I felt my time and service was valued. All of us have many demands on our time and several mentors went out of their way to encourage and guide me and help me feel appreciated.
Of the many stories members have shared, one that really resonated was from a young woman I met recently in Tennessee. She has a demanding job and young children but told me she felt it was important to also be involved in her church and to find one organization in which she could serve her community. She chose DAR as that one organization to give her time to because of our patriotic values were very much in line with hers.
We work hard to attract new members, but I encourage you to take a look at how you are retaining those members. Do they feel valued? Are meetings convenient and enjoyable to attend? Do they feel their time is well spent? Does your chapter have a mentor program for new members?
I’m quite sure if it were not for my DAR mentors, I would not be an active member today. I realized after losing my mother and my mentors that it was my responsibility to encourage and mentor others and to let them know how much we appreciate their membership in DAR and their service to God, Home and Country. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your devotion to DAR.