Visiting the Golden State

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
April 8, 2015

On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, I flew from Houston to Los Angeles where Sandy Pollack, Director of Development, was kind enough to drive me to Burbank for the 107th California State Conference, Carol Oakley Jackson, State Regent.  The conference theme was “Celebrate Service to God, Home and Country.”

Carol’s emblem is the acorn and she wrote “Like the oak tree, our Society has grown from the acorn of an ideal of our founders to the mighty oak we serve today.” Her state regent’s project is to provide tangible support for music therapy for veterans with PTSD and to enhance the garden at their lovely state headquarters house by creating an oak lea – an open area of grassy land. They maintain a lovely state headquarters in Glendora, CA in a 100+ year old Craftsman style home which was used by more than 700 members last year. Founded in 1891, the California State Society now has over 9700 members in 115 chapters.

Carol hosted an informal dinner Wednesday night honoring the conference committee and all enjoyed the Mexican food.  It was such fun to greet Honorary Presidents General Deanie Kemper and Linda Calvin and Corresponding Secretary General Karon Jarrard.

While many of the conference attendees toured nearby Warner Brothers Studio on Thursday morning, Sandy and I took advantage of the time to get better acquainted with some of the members.  I never tire of hearing the enthusiasm of our members as they share their impression of the flag unfurling in Constitution Hall during Congress.

The Cameo Club Tea was held Thursday afternoon with Patty Schned, President and Conference Chair, presiding.  All enjoyed a delicious tea and the marvelous Wonderland decorations.

The formal Opening Night of the Conference was Thursday and from all accounts, the award recipients and music were fabulous.  Unfortunately, I had inconveniently contracted a stomach bug and wisely did not attend.

A large group attended the Heritage Club Breakfast Friday morning where I had the opportunity to share some of the exciting projects in the works, answer questions and express appreciation for their loyal support.

The business session convened Friday morning and the Credentials Committee report indicated that over 325 members were attending state conference and one-fourth of those were first time attendees.  Additionally, there were more than 30 conference pages.

I enjoyed updating the members on the progress made on the Administration goals. In addition to providing information on the building repairs and technological advancements being made at Headquarters, I challenged them to think about how we must evolve to attract tomorrow’s DAR.  The audience so warmly welcomed my remarks that I invited them all to travel with me.  Carol presented a very generous check for the President General’s Project as well as a charm of California for my growing bracelet.  Each of the guests also received a darling stuffed squirrel holding an acorn.

The reports of State officers and state chairs followed and a few highlights are below:

  • State Registrar Joan Bogaty shared information on the new members course (adapted from the DCDAR course) available on the CA State Members Website.  Part I explores the NSDAR website and students must complete 3 webinars (DAR 101, Generational Differences, and Introduction to Continental Congress) as well as elective webinars and/or participating in CA DAR activities.  Part II explores the CA State members’ website. All were asked to have a Senior Project in which they are challenged to explore something new in DAR. Graduates of the course were recognized at state conference.  As we know at National, a significant percentage of new members resign within two years because the meetings are not convenient and they are not participating in the mission of DAR. A program like this is a marvelous way to involve, engage and retain new members in DAR.  Please encourage your new members to visit the First Thirty Days section on the Membership Committee page of the NSDAR members’ website.
  • 78 chapters are commemorative partners with the Vietnam 50th commemoration
  • 18 chapters achieved a net increase in new members of at least 10%
  • The Flag of the U.S.A. Committee reported over 21,000 flags were given in 2014
  • DAR Genealogy Preservation – 90,000 documents had been categorized
  • Literacy Promotion – literacy bags are made from old denim and includ books, bookmarks and crayons
  • PG Project – 26 chapters received the 100% participation certificates
  • CA DAR has a committee to assist prospective Members at Large with their application papers
  • Over $17,000 was donated to the Friends of DAR Schools Fund.
  • One chapter presents Flag bags. The one they gave me included the state flag of one of my Georgia patriots, a Flag Code and candy.
  • The state members’ website has a wealth of resources for members, including a Chapter Regent Toolbox, listing links to the various items found on the website which are particularly helpful to state and chapter officers and chairs.  (Note - a similar page is being developed for the NSDAR Members’ website). 

The National Defense luncheon featured Kerri Childress, Vice President for Communications at the Fisher House Foundation, who shared the ways in which we could support the Foundation.  Many of us were delighted to hear that airline miles could be donated to the Foundation to assist with travel for family members.

A visit to the exhibit and sales room was very interesting.  The Celebrate America! Committee asked members to write their favorite volunteer activity and place it on a wreath. 

The Junior Shop had offered three different gift bags: 

  • The Junior member kit included a peacock lapel pin, peacock note cards, and a tack back flag pin. It retailed for $19.
  • The page kit contained a pair of white gloves and the circle page pin. It retailed at $14.
  • The member kit included a DAR lapel pin, a tack back flag pin, and a choice of DAR note cards. It retailed for $20.

Reports continued during the afternoon business session.  With microphones at both ends of the large conference room, I was surprised how quickly the session moved, perhaps due to the strict timekeepers.  About the time everyone began to get weary of reports mid-afternoon, Carol warned those with latex allergies should be excused.  The Pages entered the room with giant bags filled with helium balloons.  As the music ramped up, we batted them around for 10 minutes. Everyone was awake and laughing by the time order was resumed!  Can you imagine doing that at Continental Congress?  It’s tempting…

All enjoyed a pasta bar buffet Friday evening.  With no host, head table or program we took advantage of the opportunity to make new friends.

Pages were excused Friday evening and were entertained with dinner and a murder mystery party. Serving as Pages for the evening business session were the Platinum Pages – those who were no longer Page age.  Instead of wearing white, they wore black gowns with silver sashes.  All were tickled to see Honorary State Regent Debbie Jamison serving as a Platinum Page for Honorary Presidents General Deanie Kemper and Linda Calvin.

The evening ended with a lively Past and Present Regents Association Social with a theme of “Hollywood Goes to the Movies.”  Guests entered on a red carpet and awaited the arrival of the star, State Regent Carol Jackson, surrounded by paparazzi (aka her Executive Board).  Carol was a natural and absolutely hilarious!

The Junior Breakfast convened early Saturday morning with my page, Jennifer Garvin, Junior Membership chair and her sister, Michelle Wikum, Page Chair, presiding.  On the table were supplies to create Easter decorations for the girls at the Pouch Cottage at Tamassee, sponsored by the California DAR.  Kris Wood, State DAR Schools Chair, shared her experiences visiting two of our DAR schools which benefit from the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund, KDS and Tamassee. Kris also shared with me that she and her husband ride their bikes in Run for the Wall – a cross-country motorcycle ride to D.C. to raise awareness for Vietnam veterans.  She even suggested chapters could welcome them in towns across the route and provide meals or water.  What an easy way to participate in the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration. 

The highlight of the breakfast was the MOP (Mother of Page) Award.  This highly coveted award is given annually to a woman who has encouraged Juniors to become active and serve as Pages.  Lisa Fox was surprised to win the highly decorated mop (seriously!) and was invited to lead the processional at the business session. 

Following the breakfast, the conference guests, Bea Fischer, State Regent of Georgia and Martha Crapser, State Regent of New York, and I were excused to spend a lovely day in Malibu. Joanie Prather drove us through the Rindge Canyon to Adamson House where we were given a private docent tour. Built around 1930 by Rhonda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt, the house features unique tiles made at Malibu Potteries.  Most impressive was the faux rug made of 674 pieces of tile, including the fringe. The pottery factory was begun by Rhoda’s mother, May Rindge and existed for six years before it was burned in 1931.  The historic tiles are highly prized and rare collectibles. The Adamson house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to the efforts of preservationists who opposed it being razed for a parking lot. The house is now a museum and includes all of the original furnishings, accessories and clothing of the owners. The Museum is fortunate to have Carol Jackson serving on the Board.

We had a delicious lunch on the nearby pier at the Malibu Farm Café as Joanie shared much of the early history of the area, including the de Anza Expedition to colonize California for Spain in 1774. 

The Celebration Dinner was held Saturday night and the highlight were the beautiful young debutantes.  Each had a DAR connection and a brief bio was given as they were escorted to the platform where they were formally presented to Carol Jackson, Billie Spence, Senior National President, Children of the American Revolution, and to me.  I was particularly excited to meet one who is moving to Houston.  Patricia “Tica” O’Neill led the State DAR Chorus as they performed a medley of songs related to all the eras of wars in which America has been involved.  They even sang the “Yellow Rose of Texas” for the Battle of San Jacinto in which Texas won its independence from Mexico.  The chorus was accompanied by a very talented pianist, Rebecca Viebrock, drums, a flute and a piccolo.

After a wonderful weekend Celebrating Service to God, Home and County, I departed before dawn for D.C. in order to spend a few days in the office before the Virginia State Conference. 

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