Continental Society celebrates 50 years of service
What is The Continental Society?
The Continental Society of Bermuda is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year after having been formed in 1962.
It is an autonomous affiliate of the Continental Societies Inc USA.
The aim of the society is to improve the quality of life for Bermudas children and the local chapter is composed of 33 members.
Society President Tracy Packwood has been with the group for two decades.
The organisation has a five-point programme health, education, employment, recreation, arts and humanities aimed at helping improve the quality of life for Bermudas children.
It also sponsors an annual Mothers Day luncheon, provides eyeglasses, school uniforms, medical assistance, camps and extra-curricular activities.
They also help with Christmas hampers and respond to crisis situations.
Outside of Bermuda, The Continental Societies have 42 chapters in 17 US states.
Useful website: www.continentalsocietiesinc.org/
The Continental Society has a lot to be proud of as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this weekend.
Since 1962 the local chapter has devoted its efforts to children installing a playground on Court Street, providing pancake breakfasts at schools each Shrove Tuesday and donating equipment for King Edward VII Memorial paediatric ward.
About 90 women from chapters across America have travelled to Bermuda to celebrate the milestone.
A series of workshops and meetings have been organised for tomorrow and Saturday afternoon; residents are invited to attend a gala dinner at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess in honour of the anniversary on Saturday night.
Pamela Barit Nolan, executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy will speak on the Islands third sector; Florence Blount, the national President of the Continental Societies, is also scheduled to give a presentation.
Society member Olga Scott said it would be a great night of dinner and dancing and they would make sure overseas guests left with a real taste of Bermuda hospitality and fun.
She told The Royal Gazette: The purpose of these events is to celebrate us as an organisation. Bermudians support each other and theres a special affinity and special sensitivity for organisations dealing with and helping children.
Particularly at this time where theres so many children in need, its nice if you can get support from others [associated with] groups like ours.
The retired social worker and wife of former Premier Alex Scott, joined the group shortly after moving to the Island 40 years ago.
I needed to get to know people and establish a network and just meet friends and I was invited by a member at the time.
I went [to the meeting] and what resonated was the fact I was a social worker and how they were involved with children appealed strongly to me.
Treasurer Marilyn Simmons was invited to join the group.
In 1970 there was a fall off in membership and a member named Marilyn Smith, our only charter member, was eager to keep the society alive, she explained. I was one of ten friends she invited. We all had children and this was a way of helping the less fortunate children on the Island.
The society has an annual Mother of the Year competition and has sponsored a booklet designed to educate children and parents about asthma in a fun and exciting way.
It has also sponsored children to attend camp on Ports Island and regularly sponsors youngsters attendance at the annual pantomime production.
The organisation also provides an annual $4,000 scholarship to a student at Bermuda College or in a university or college programme overseas.
Mrs Scott said while there was no one thing that was the most rewarding, it was a pleasure to see the longevity of some of their members.
They are working hard in the interest of children and the club is continually growing, she said. Ever since 1970 when Marilyn Simmons came I think we have continued to be growing and active.
In our club we have three generations and so its also a testament when someone, as well as their grandmother, is still active in the club.
She said one of the other great parts of the club is the value placed on sisterhood and sharing ideas and experiences with other women.
Women of all ages are welcome to attend although most members are over the age of 30.
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