24 January 2014

Learning More at the DAR 101 Workshop

     Only shortly after attending my first DAR meeting last Sunday, I attended a DAR 101 Workshop for new members yesterday.  I learned a lot about the DAR, though maybe not as much about the chapter as I'd like.

     The workshop was at 6:30 and started with a dinner of soup, salad and sandwiches.  I approached the registrar and was able to sign my application and hand over my check for application and membership dues.  I'll note here that joining the DAR is not inexpensive; the check I wrote was for $157.  Going forward, yearly dues are currently set at $72 ($25 Chapter, $10 State, $37 National).

     The main portion of the workshop was conducted by Camille Baxter, a State officer (I don't remember her title).   She gave a really great overview of the history and organization of the DAR.  I learned that they were founded in 1890 by an act of Congress, only a few months after the Sons of the American Revolution decided against female membership; they were responsible for finishing the Washington Monument after the national government failed to finish it; they helped restore the Statue of Liberty in 1976; they founded and still support a number of schools, many of them founded in rural areas in the early 1900s; members have logged over 1 million hours of volunteer service this year (the year starts/ends in May).

     I feel like I learned a lot about the DAR as a whole, but not necessarily about the chapter that I'm joining.   Both Mrs Baxter and the chapter Registrar spoke some about the different committees and their purposes, though not in great detail.  We were provided with a link to a website that detailed the committees.  They stressed that all members (Daughters) have a variety of interests and talents, and that there is something for everyone.  As the Registrar put it, "the DAR is what you make of it." They want all members to be active and involved.  And really, that's my goal in joining the DAR: getting active and involved with something - getting out of the house!   There are a few committees that interest me, and I think I'll ask about them at the next meeting.

     Another thing that they spoke about, which I was wondering about, were the ribbons and pins (insignia) that the members wore.  In order to wear them, you have to be at a DAR event, and you must be wearing the right cloths: business/church dresses and pants suits.  The Registrar was joking about having to stop by Office Depot on the way in and covering her insignia up with her scarf while she was there.  You can start ordering your insignia as soon as you have a member number, and the basic starter ribbon and three pins is about $200. From there, you can purchase insignia for a number of things, including making donations, completing certain amounts and types of service, for holding offices, etc.  The cost of the pins does add up and, as they jokingly said, the DAR stands for Dollars Are Required.  But, it does seem like it takes a lot of service to earn the insignia, so they can be meaningful.  I also got the feeling that you weren't expected to purchase any of the insignia if you didn't want to (although I assume that if you start going to state and national conferences, that would change).

     I'm still learning about the DAR, but I think it's going to be something that'll be good for me... if a bit expensive.

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