I’ve heard many stories about my great-grandmother Violet Pettit Tindall. Stories of how meaningful sorority was to her, how much she enjoyed giving back, and being surrounded by Sisters. Although I lost my great-grandmother when I was young, I was able to get to know her. Thoughtfulness, care, and love seemed to emanate from her. Those memories made me realize that Sigma Phi Gamma is a group that I too want to be a part of. I’ve often felt there was something missing in my life and that I never quite fit in, until now.
Service work is one of my life long passions and I enjoy giving back to my community. Reaching out and helping others makes my heart full. So it seemed a fitting time in my life to look into my great-grandmother’s friendship and service sorority. I made my first contact through the SPG website. It took a while to get into contact with someone who could lead me in the right direction. I learned that while there are Chapters in Northern California, all of them were just too far away for me to attend monthly meetings and social activities. I was then told how the sorority was trying to launch a Virtual Chapter and I thought that would be perfect for me. I was put in contact with Sharon Hilton, and we discussed how the Virtual Chapter would work. I became very excited to learn more.
The first meeting was in March and I got a sense of how everything works; the goals and expectations. I also heard that the International Convention would be hosted in Portland Oregon, and registered immediately! I studied parks and recreation in college so the route to the Portland location was very attractive to me. The drive through so many beautiful state and national parks was an enticement on its own. Before leaving for the trip, my Virtual Chapter started talking about the prospect of being pledged at International. I was ecstatic! I was finally going to be following in my great-grandmother’s footsteps.
June came quickly, and I was becoming more and more excited and maybe a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be a little nervous to go somewhere you’d never been and surrounded by people you didn’t know? After my arrival into the city of Wine and Roses, I went to pick up my registration packet. Three women were there smiling at me and so excited to meet me. I just knew that I had no real reason to worry.
I soon met up with two of my virtual Sisters and I met their wonderful group of fun loving Sister friends. We all jumped in the car and went to dinner. Upon our arrival back to the hotel for the first night of fun, I ended up sitting at the International Officers’ table. At the time no one really knew who I was except that I was a pledge from the Virtual Chapter. As I introduced myself I could see the excitement in their eyes as they realized my connection to sorority. As the events of the week went on I felt more and more comfortable. As someone who sees them-self as a shy and quiet person (you would never believe that after seeing the skit I was in), I definitely became more at ease being me. I started to sit at different tables, have conversations with anyone I sat with, and most importantly I started to feel like I had a giant family who would support me in everything I do. For many years I’ve struggled to make friends as I’m not typically an outgoing person. But now I’ve found my place in sorority, to be the outgoing fun loving person that was inside of me all along.
Pledge day came and I once again started to feel nervous. I so wanted to make my great-grandmother Violet proud, and I knew she would be. As the minutes melted away and it came time for the Pledge Service, I knew I was going to be just fine. My temporary anxiety melted away and for a moment I could feel the presence of my great-grandmother Violet standing next to me as I received my pledge pin. I choked back tears, happy to be able to continue what my great-grandmother helped to start ninety-eight years ago. I feel absolutely honored to be joining Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority.
After the Pledge Service, I met up with a tour group to visit the beautiful International Rose Tea Garden and Pittock Mansion. I was able to get to know some of the Kappa Province Sisters as I walked through the gardens. We had so much fun taking time to literally smell the roses. Once the tour group returned to the hotel, it was time to get ready for Recognition night. Let me just start by saying that the food was amazing, the company was delightful, and I was tearing up while women were being recognized for their long term commitments to sorority. I knew right then that I would be a Sister for life. As I was getting ready to leave I started to feel sad that I would not be able to spend more time with the friends I had just made until next year. I loved my first Convention and I am proud to be a Pledge for Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority. I can’t wait for next year!