I joined Sigma Phi Gamma a year ago. I was introduced to the sorority a few years back when Mary Freeman invited me to go on a trip to Florida with her to attend Omega Province weekend. The energetic women of Omega were amazing! I was in awe of it all and everyone I met told me “This time next year you will be a member!” I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure as I have never been part of a group like that. I had been a stay at home mom for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to interact with adults! On the flight home to Indiana I thought about it and talked with Mary about it and talked with my husband about it and talked with my daughter about it and finally called Mary and said “I think I want to check this out.” She introduced me to a few people and I started going with her to socials and meeting the Theta Pi ladies and just immediately felt like I was home. I was so excited the next year when Mary and I went back to Omega Province and showed off my new pledge pin! Granted, since I didn’t know the password yet, instead of whispering it I ended up kissing the Marshal on the cheek, which made her laugh and say “You are new at this aren’t you!”
Through my pledging I was excited to become more involved with sorority. I loved meeting all my new sisters and going out and doing service projects; to the point where I started volunteering on my own at the retirement center where my mother lives. I am actually out of the house, not only making a difference, but having the time of my life!
Through going to Omega Province and doing things with my Lambda sisters; this year when I went to my very first International Convention, I didn’t feel like I was a small fish in a big pond. I saw so many faces I already knew, they introduced me to more of my sisters and life long friends! I felt like I was a part of everything from the get go! It was inspiring and exciting. I can be myself, even making a delayed entrance to get my first timer certificate! The fact I know all the International Officers already through going to Lambda and Omega events was just amazing to me!
When I first joined I was under the impression that it was only two days a month and a service project here and there, but it ISN’T just that! SPG goes further than that, if you want it to! I love getting the random call saying “Hey, interested in going to an Escape Room this weekend?” Or once a month a group of us gets together for lunch with sisters from other Chapters.
The other day a few of my Theta Pi sisters and I went on an Urban Adventure through a place called Wacky Walks. If any of you are in areas that have these available, I highly recommend it! It is a lot of walking, 4 miles in total, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes! Three of my sisters and one of their daughters and myself set out on an adventure around downtown Indianapolis. We had to find landmarks and use clues to figure out puzzles and riddles. All we had was the app on a phone and our observation skills. We also got to know each other better. These little things make us stronger in the friendship aspect of our sisterhood. Here is a photo of Barb Miller-Neff, Joyce Zach, Gail Ridder and Colleen Criswell at the end of our Urban Adventure.
Colleen M. Criswell
My Godmother and SPG sister, Diane Maraist, made a gorgeous quilt for a Nu Sigma Chapter ways and means project. Little did we know at the time of creation that the quilt was dedicated to my mother, Pat Croson, who passed away in May 2018. Once we found out, my sister Juli and I mentioned to our dad, Tommy Croson, that godmother had made a quilt and it was “pieced together with love” for mom. My dad’s immediate response was “Can I buy tickets!?” We explained to dad that it was a ways and means project, so the probability of him actually wining the quilt was low. He assured us he understood…but for the next 3 months all we heard was “Have you given away the quilt yet??” I tried to prepare him for disappointment by telling him I was sure godmother could make him another quilt should he not win, and his response being “But it’s not the original. I want to win the original!” He wanted this quilt so badly; a quilt he had not even seen. Juli and I even joked about “rigging the system” so we could bring it home to him.
Alas, the time had come to pick a winner. Nu Sigma had sold 330 tickets! We were ecstatic with the enthusiasm generated by the quilt; but my heart was definitely heavy as I knew the chance of my dad’s ticket actually being chosen was slim. I mentally prepared myself, shook the box and handed it over for one of our SPG sisters to pick a ticket. The winning ticket was pulled and handed to me. I looked on the back to read the name and I literally could not speak. I gazed at my sister with complete disbelief as the name on the back was our dad’s!
Anyway, here is a photo of dad, moments after unwrapping the quilt and seeing it for the first time.
It was unbelievably special. I’m not sure I’ll ever get dad to admit he loves Sorority about as much as mom did, but his smile in this photo sure does prove it.
Lambda Province Sisters have been going through our history books in preparation for our 100–year Celebration. I don’t remember if I ever sat down and just took my time to really look at each picture. To remember the beautiful ladies in each picture. The pleasure in just taking it page by page and looking at it without distraction is wonderful. Much different than standing at a table and quickly looking at them while at a meeting. I would recommend everyone sit down and take some time with a history book and just enjoy looking and remembering.
What can I say about this picture of Edith, Irene, Violet, Ferne and Phyllis?
WOW was my first thought when I saw it in my Chapter’s history book; that’s all five of the Founders! We have no idea who took that picture that was taken back in 1977. Convention that year was held in Los Angeles, California. Our lovely Founders were all together. What a treat for the members who were there and for the Founders who were honored by the membership. It is my hope that all of us believe in Sigma Phi Gamma and are working to keep it alive just as our Founders did. It is our responsibility to grow our membership.
Judy Vance 1939 – 2019
Judy and I were BFFs for 30+ years. We lived two miles down the street from each other. I was the Ethel to her Lucy. I couldn’t seem to get started on this tribute until I typed to Jean Morton and she said: “There are so many great stories to tell about Judy, they would fill a book.” That one line inspired me. Jean and Judy were very tight, too.
Judy could be best described as bodacious. She was bigger than life; big as in 6’ tall; big as in big hearted; and big in love and friendship. It could be said that Judy never met a stranger. She loved to have parties-all kinds of parties. She loved to cook and entertain. She loved to have people at her home and if you needed to spend the night, or weekend, no problem. You were always welcome. Half of Bedford may have had a key to her house! She retired from American Airlines and loved to travel. She said if times were different “back then,” she would have been a pilot. She was not a passenger in life. She loved kids and dogs. Judy never married, didn’t have kids, but always had a big dog: yellow labs. She took care of the elderly in her home, her dad, her mom and then her aunt. Judy was a religious person. She was an absolute aficionado of Christmas. There were 13 “themed” trees in her condo. She collected things in a big way. Judy loved sorority, shopping, and garage sales in that order. Craft making was also a specialty. Her passion was sports, especially The Texas Rangers baseball. Also, basketball, and she played golf. Many organizations were proud to call her theirs and she held offices in every group she joined. For Judy, leading was much more fun than following. In sorority, Judy served on the International Council from 1983 to 1989. She served as general chairman of three International Conventions in Texas: 1991 in Arlington, 2002 in San Antonio and 2008 in Fort Worth. Judy joined sorority in Phoenix on June 24, 1973 and then became a charter member of Mu Gamma Chapter in Arlington on April 3, 1977. She became a member of Zeta Chapter on May 24, 2019 as a 46-year member.
Photo provided by Betty Crafton
I have been serving as your International President for a little over a month now. Needless to say, it has been a roller coaster of feelings and emotions. I have been excited, loved, numb, overwhelmed, amazed and honored. As with everything new there is a learning curve; hopefully I am approaching the downside of this curve.
When I thought about what I wanted to see accomplished this year I, thought about membership. Yes, we need to work on growing our membership. How many ways can we say that? Does everyone in your Chapter realize that we need to increase our membership? They should. It is not just a job for Chapter Organizers, Province Organizers, the International Organizer, or the International Council. It is a job for everyone! Each and every one of us is responsible for membership. The International Council has and continues to work on providing you with some tools. Please take these tools, found on the Website, and use them. Perhaps your Chapter could put someone in charge during one of your meetings to do a show and tell on what’s available on the SPG website. Some of your Sisters may have never looked or seen what’s been added under “Toolkits.” Find Toolkits under the Documents tab. The Webinars from Shari Pash are posted on the website too (look under the Publications tab in the Video Gallery) along with her presentation at our International Convention in Wichita (in Membership Toolkit under Membership Webinars From International Convention). Take the time to find out! See what you missed!
Last night I attended a wonderful celebration of sisterhood: Our Founders’ Day dinner. There was good food and good company bringing us together to honor the 5 ladies that started Sigma Phi Gamma Sorority.
It has been almost 100 years since those 5 ladies got together to start an organization of women who supported one another in daily life and did community service for their area.
We are committed to each other and to serving our community…I feel privileged and honored to be part of this wonderful group of Women. We try to live our Creed and our Pledge every day of our lives.
Right now I am waiting for my ride to pick me up…one of our sisters needs us in her time of grief…we are there…through the laughter and the tears.
Sigma Phi Gamma is an organization that means so much to me.
Patricia Herweg: Secretary for Eta Sigma Chapter in Omicron Province
Mu Eta Chapter of KAPPA Province recently got together to celebrate pledging Deb Martin and reinstating Marilyn Joy. We all had an exciting time getting together afterwards to celebrate! As you can see from the picture below, food, drinks, laughter and stories were in abundance.
Left side front to back: Patti McNeill, Dee Dee Rupp, Tammey Steffen, Deb Martin and Kathy Jacobs. Right side front to back: Marilyn Joy, Cindy Worley, Jo Ann Morse, Michelle Morgan and Diana Jennings.