The New Jersey State Conference

Written by: Karen Stroever, New Jersey State Regent
April 17, 2019

An early morning flight from Denver took me directly to Newark, New Jersey, Karen Stroever, State Regent, where I was met by Lori Bailey of Tamassee and Bruce Stroever. After a brief drive to Princeton it was a distinct pleasure to anticipate two nights in the same hotel. The New Jersey Daughters were celebrating the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and provided many in the processional with authentic suffragette sashes with handmade rosettes. It was a pleasure to meet so many wonderful members and to see my many New Jersey friends.

- President General Ann Dillon


The New Jersey DAR State Conference (March 28 – 30) marked 127 years with the theme “Making a Difference in Education”.  We learned about the long history of NJDAR and the Tamassee DAR School, educated ourselves in order to properly celebrate the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, and discovered whether or not the Jersey Devil is real.  Along the way we took some selfies as Suffragettes, collected books for underserved schools, and celebrated our hospitalized Vietnam veterans by collecting supplies and donating for newspaper subscriptions.

While our guests, Maryland State Regent Maureen Tipton and Michigan State Regent Gina LaCroix had lunch and a private tour of newly renovated Buccleuch Mansion and laid a wreath on Colonel John Neilson’s grave in New Brunswick, our members attended workshops on Thursday at the conference hotel in Princeton.  One workshop examined how to successfully transition new officers into leadership and another had question and answer sessions with the State Treasurer.  Lucy Beard of the Alice Paul Institute visited our Women’s Issues workshop as they explored ways to celebrate the upcoming Suffrage Centennial.  Members learned ways to find information on the national website and on the internet.

Attendees had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of President General Ann T. Dillon at the State Vice Regent’s Social Dinner, where old and new friends greeted each other and the Jersey Girls enjoyed a relaxed social evening of visiting and exchanging ideas.

Friday morning began with an All Member Breakfast to get us all sufficiently caffeinated. As Credentials and Registration handled the early crush, everyone took advantage of the exhibits and sales tables and the chance to drop off bags of comfort items for our veterans.  At the morning business session, we were treated to greetings from the President General in person!  NJ Daughters presented Mrs. Dillon with a charm and a Cape May Diamond.  Reporter General Connie Olde, our own Jersey Girl, also brought greetings.  Members were delighted to hear about the accomplishments of the past year from their officers and chairmen. During the break, members purchased many “leaves” for our Pathways of Patriots Tree and visited the Development and Hamilton tables.

Luncheon celebrated 100 Years of Tamassee as Lori Bailey, CEO of Tamassee DAR School, gave us the latest information about the school and our Mabel Clay NJ Cottage.  The NJ Daughters were privileged to present a check for more improvements to the NJ Cottage.  After the lunch there was more time to drop off children’s books and to pose for photos with protest signs and suffrage sashes in front of the White House.

The Friday Awards Banquet honored our student award winners. Our keynote speaker was Mrs. Dillon who held our large audience spellbound as she spoke about patriotism and the mission of our organization.  It was quite an introduction for the rest of our program.  The NJDAR Outstanding Teacher of American History, Meredith Riddle, made everyone wish that she had been their history teacher.  Parents, siblings, principals and teachers came out to celebrate the achievements of their outstanding students with the sponsoring chapters and hear parts of the winning essays read.  The young winners of the Fashion Design contest astonished everyone with their expertise and JAC winning entries were displayed.  Finally, NJDAR Outstanding Junior Melissa Wetzel was announced.  Afterwards there was a frenzy of photo taking to remember the occasion.

Saturday morning our guests visited with our state board at the State Regent’s Private Breakfast as Mrs. Dillon prepared to travel to her next destination.  The morning business session heard nomination speeches for candidates for state office and concluded with the Memorial Service as soloist Julie Fristensky framed the roll call of our beloved members in song.

The Southern District hostess chapters prepared clever centerpieces for the Jersey Devil Luncheon at which Professor Brian Regal revealed “The Secret History of the Jersey Devil”.  We heard from the newly elected N.J.C.A.R. President about their project funding ground penetrating radar for searching for a lost graveyard at historic Dey Mansion. 

The afternoon session featured presentation of some special awards: 2019 Daughter of Distinction, 2019 Little Chapter that Could, Outstanding Chapter Regent, and Outstanding VIS Volunteer.  The newly elected officers were installed to thunderous applause, except for the State Regent and State Vice Regent who will be installed at Continental Congress.   The New Jersey State Conference concluded with thanks to all who had made the event a success and the Flags were retired.

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