A suggestion came from our Advisory Committee to have the International Officers reach out to new members and welcome them into sorority. What a nice idea and one easily accomplished! We receive the names of new Sisters who have joined recently from our International President, Robin Pelton.
If it were me, as a new person, I would have two thoughts on an International Officer reaching out to me, and I’m not sure which would come first…one is- how nice, an Int’l Officer welcoming me into SPG, the other is…I don’t even know this person, what could we possibly have to talk about, I don’t want to talk to a stranger.
So far, I have been assigned 5 new Sisters to contact. Multiply that by 8 Officers and that’s a lot of welcoming! Yea us for growing SPG!
Recently I arranged to contact Anna Shipley, to welcome her. In responding to my email to set up a call time, Anna sent an insightful, thoughtful response. After reading it I felt like I knew her and calling was that much easier, ‘cuz it’s easy to talk to a Sister you know. Below is her response with my thoughts following in parenthesis.
Anna– I would be happy to speak with you. I am in the Eastern Time Zone, so we have a three-hour difference. How about Wednesday at noon for me and 9 AM for you in WA? (9 AM?! Yikes, I guess I’ll have to set my alarm since I’m a night owl.)
Anna– Are you wondering about anything in particular? (No, I’d just like to welcome you into SPG and offer my help if you have questions.)
Anna– I don’t want to waste your time hemming and hawing as I think of my answer. (I like this Sister already. One short, sweet phone call, and mission accomplished!)
Anna– I took the liberty to write out my thoughts about becoming a part of SPG. I do my best thinking on screen with a delete key. (I like the way Anna thinks! That delete key gives us all the option to reconsider the way we word things. Once words are out, it’s too late to change them.)
Anna– At 62, my chances for a 20-year pin are so-so and the 50-year pin is a solid no. (Ya never know, you might see 112.)
Anna– I do not aspire to an office in the Chapter. (Hopefully, that will change.)
Anna– I am the farthest away from the sorority core, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the meetings. I have a lovely home, but I will never host a social meeting because of the distance. (I drive 45 minutes to my Chapter meeting so it is far for me too, but I still get my Chapter to my home once in a while. Offer to host a birthday or Christmas party- that’ll get them to come your way.)
Anna– The Chapter is comprised mostly of women who have been members for decades, were high school classmates, are related or have lived in the same area for most of their lives. So why join? (For the sisterhood! Anna is one sharp cookie for sure, did you notice that she has a WHY!)
Anna– I joined, because I met a member of SPG in 1995 who is still very active, Sharon M. We became good friends. She and I had the same position in different counties. We were the Directors for our counties’ recycling programs. We traveled together to meetings and conferences and did things socially. I even attended a Province convention with her around 1997! Sharon went to the sorority functions and I swam, shopped and had a relaxing weekend. (Nice job Sharon M! Way to work SPG, take ‘em to fun things and slowly reel them in! Anna- we swim, shop and relax while attending meetings- you’ll see.)
Anna– Sharon asked me early into our friendship about my interest in SPG. (Good job Sharon. Offer her the opportunity, then sit back and wait for her to let you know when the time is right for her.)
Anna– I was interested but I had a work conflict with the Chapter business meeting, every month. (Give it time, keep us in mind.)
Anna– In the years since then, my job ended, I remarried and had to convince my new husband that the sorority would be good for me and thus for us as a couple. (Job ended-retirement or downsized? Remarried…I have two thoughts here-Yea for love or didn’t you learn from the first time?!)
Anna– He wasn’t convinced for a while, that he was happy for me to join a ladies only organization. (Um… not his decision to make. Can you tell I’m single?)
Anna-His health was not good for several years and I didn’t want to commit to a group if I wouldn’t be able to participate fully. (Sorry to hear his health was bad. What a good wife- putting your man first. Just remember to take care of you while caring for him. Sorority friends are good for your soul!)
Anna– I joined SPG because I have been acquainted with the members of the Chapter for 20 years due to my friendship with Sharon. (Her Why again!)
Anna– I still do not know all the ladies (Sisters) yet, but over the years I met them in various places. They were always kind and gracious to me. (Good job Chapter Sisters, way to be friendly!)
Anna– Many remembered me from previous encounters. (When we SPG members have a potentially interested Sister, we just keep reelin’ them in till we snag ‘em! Good things take time.)
Anna– These ladies (Sisters) seem to be the kind of ladies (Sisters) that a person would want to have as friends. (Yes, we are!)
Anna– Finally, I joined to make new friends. This is the most important reason and it is based on the first two reasons. Having a group of ladies who are happy to see you twice a month Is priceless. (YES IT IS!)
Anna– Getting out with a group of women twice a month is also wonderful. (YES IT IS!)
Anna– The idea that some of the women might become personal friends is more than I hope for. (They definitely will! Give it time.)
Anna– The opportunity to go to conventions is great and Sharon talks about the wonderful time she has, but I don’t think I will be able to attend much due to the cost. (Hopefully, an International Convention will happen near enough to you to allow you to go. It will charge your sorority battery and you’ll meet Sisters from around the country and Canada who will become your Sister friends too!)
Anna– I hope to go to St. Louis for the 100th anniversary. (Yea! That’ll be a grand celebration for sure! 100 years young is quite an accomplishment!)
Anna– Making new friends is terribly hard for me. (Chapter Sisters make it easier. Don’t force things to happen or get depressed. Good things take time and they will happen when it’s right.)
Anna– This age of virtual communication makes making friends face to face even harder. (Our Virtual Chapter Sisters would beg to differ on this point but they would do so lovingly.)
Anna– I won’t go into detail about the efforts I’ve made in past years to find a friendship niche for my husband and I, but I’ve tried a variety of things. We have momentary success, but it doesn’t last. Neither of us are native to the rural area where we live, roots are important here. Without history, we are different enough, to not fit into the local mold. Our circumstances left both my husband and I with few ties to family or friends. We’d love to have a couples group to socialize with, go on day trips, eat out, but it may not be in our cards. (SPG has many supportive husbands- we call them our Mister SPGs. Give your Chapter friendships time to bloom and perhaps friendships between your husbands will too!)
Anna– My only negative in joining SPG is that I have a group and my husband does not. That makes me a little sad. (Perhaps try to find a men’s organization for him- Elks or Moose, get him a hobby with a club. Just keep going to sorority meetings for you!)
Anna-I feel fortunate to be able to join Sigma Phi Gamma. I am happy to be a part of a group who holds friendship in high regard and one that values service to others. (And we’re happy to have you Anna!)
Anna– Sister love going out to you, (I feel the love!)
Linda– What a great, unsolicited, email Anna! Best wishes for years of feeling the SPG love! I look forward to seeing you in St. Louis! And wishes for success in finding a niche for your husband too!