Eagle Lake women mark 80 years
By Jenn Watt
Published June 13, 2017
For the last 80 years, the Eagle Lake Women’s Society has been improving lives in the Highlands steadfastly and quietly. Raising money through member dues and quilt raffles, they’ve funded students’ school trips, day camp fees for those in need, scholarships at the high school, and donations to the food bank and hospital.
Their motto: “One may do a great deal of good in this world, if one does not care who gets the credit for it.”
Over the last six years, the women’s quilt raffles have brought in more than $11,000 for the community.
During their monthly meetings, the members each bring $2 that goes into a general fund.
To mark their eighth decade, rather than throw a party, the women decided to take money from their fund and donate it to the YWCA Haliburton.
On Thursday, June 8, they gave the cheque for $1,000 to Paula Pepping, who came to their meeting to discuss the work the YWCA does in the county.
Pepping has worked with the organization, which assists women and children fleeing violence, for almost 18 years. Her job is to meet with women and give them information on healthy relationships, connect them with resources and assist in whatever choices they make. It doesn’t matter if the woman has left the abusive relationship or not, Pepping said, she will provide any help she can.
Many of the women she sees are geographically isolated, making access to services difficult, particularly if they don’t have a car. She said she sometimes sees cottagers, but mostly its local residents.
Three part-time staff members work out of the Minden office and there is a full-time therapist.
The YWCA also administers a program for Grade 7 and 8 girls called Girl Space, which teaches about healthy relationships, safety and being smart about social media. It aims to boost girls’ self esteem, she said. There are 18 topics to choose from and the girls will choose the ones they’d like to explore over the eight to 12 weeks of the program.
The YWCA also provides HERS, the Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace, which provides two units for women and their children. Pepping said each unit can accommodate a woman and three children comfortably.
Society president Deborah Worsfold thanked Pepping for her presentation and the YWCA for helping local women.
The Eagle Lake Women’s Society was founded following a tea held March 25, 1937, at the home of Mrs. Lewis Pritchard. The tea was a fundraiser to paint the walls of the cookhouse in Eagle Lake, used for church services, according to records of the society.
Excellent records have been kept over the years including all of the minutes dating back to the founding of the group, said member Ann Harris. However, many of the women’s first names are not known as it was common at the time to refer to women by their husbands’ names.
The first meeting of the society was held April 21, 1937, at Mrs. William Hathaway’s home. She was the first president. In their first year, they raised money for the new church and for local residents who needed help. The first quilt raffled was in 1938, created by Annie Upton.