It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as your President during this past WAHHI year as my term expires on May 31st. Our 2020-21 Board and Council join me in expressing our deepest thanks and appreciation to all our Interest Group Leaders, Ambassadors and Association volunteers for their efforts this year who have helped our Association survive and thrive. We have enjoyed a GREAT team this year behind the scenes making MANY things happen.
The following are my “top five” highlights of what we accomplished together this year:
1. Supported our public health and safety! As we all know, this year was challenging for everyone and everything due COVID19. Your Board/Council wanted to ensure we did our part for everyone’s health and safety. As such, we had to forego popular activities, such as large luncheon events, in-person games where there was close contact, and many other things. To replace these activities, we went outdoors – to the Coastal Discovery Museum, on the water, on the golf course, in parks, on the beach, in back yards, driveways, and even in parking lots. We went online too with Zoom programs for Authors, Environmental/Cultural Series, Chef Series, 60th Anniversary Program, New Member Orientations, and Member Resources Training. We masked up, hand sanitized, box lunched, and stayed away from hugs and handshakes. We now see the tide turning in our community and Association with more women being vaccinated and look forward to a fabulous next year together! As an organization, we will continue to support the public health guidance regarding being vaccinated. If you have not done so already – please get a shot!
2. Supported active lifestyles! We all enjoyed and celebrated living in the low country with all the great resources and natural beauty which surrounds us each day. This year resulted in: almost 100 women played golf and took golf lessons; almost 100 women of all levels played in the new pickleball interest group; many members enjoyed an active tennis group; experienced nature and bird walks in the Audubon Newhall Preserve; learned about fox hunting and hounds; enjoyed our waterways with Amber Kuehn boat trips; gardened at the Camelia Garden at the Coastal Discovery Museum; and heard from our local tennis great Stan Smith about the world of professional tennis and our Island heritage. Finally, we had our “ath-leisure” style show with member models as our capstone event at the April luncheon!
3. Supported local businesses! With our many “dine for WAHHI” and “shop for WAHHI” events, we contributed not just to our WAHHI Charitable Fund fundraising but to many local businesses during a difficult year. Our “December Shop and Dine at Shelter Cove Towne Centre” with the participating arts organizations also helped to lift our local community businesses at the time when everyone needed a little extra support during COVID. We appreciate ALL the support of our donors and community supporters who contributed toward WAHHI this year to help our efforts to give back to the community.
4. Supported our community! Through our member’s generosity and our donors/community supporters, we were able to support our community in so many different ways this year! First, the 136 women participating in our Difference Makers Interest Group continued to creatively volunteer with no-contact drop off events which supported a TON of food, children’s books for Little Libraries, prom attire for HH High School, coats, backpacks and Hopeful Horizons shelter health and beauty drives; valentines for Meals on Wheels; and over 20 other community support projects. Our WAHHI Charitable Fund provided $10,500 in grants to seven organizations creatively supporting women and children needs locally. Our 60th anniversary community gift of $22,500 supports the development of two new community treasures – the Sandbox Children’s Museum and a NEW garden labyrinth at the Coastal Discovery Museum. We also recognized five Youth Community Service Awards recipients with $1,000 awards for their demonstrated spirit of community service.
5. Supported women! When this WAHHI year started, we had just 200 members who had joined or renewed their membership due the uncertainty of what would happen during the COVID year. Today, we have almost 700 women in our Association. Our membership demonstrates that the mission of our organization is alive, vibrant, and meaningful during even the challenging times. We did A LOT of new things! Hopefully, you found something you enjoyed and someone to enjoy your experience with through WAHHI this year. We survived, thrived, and are more resilient women’s community as a result of the challenges we faced.
Betty Hambleton along with the other fine women who have volunteered to serve on the Board and Council next year will assume their duties on June 1st. They are excited and prepared for the next year with new energy and ideas. There is always room for one more volunteer to help make things happen – please don’t hesitate to reach out to Betty at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your time, talent or treasure to make a WAHHI difference.
Thank you again for everyone’s continued support, volunteerism, and efforts to connect women, care for our community, and support the place we call home!