Homemakers host state meeting - Lusk Herald (2024)

Brandie Collins

NIOBRARA COUNTY – The Niobrara County Homemakers hosted the 25th annual Wyoming Homemakers Club state meeting from June 7 to June 9 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds.

Niobrara Homemakers prepared the Fairgrounds on June 7, setting up tables and chairs and decorating the room with quilts that individual Homemakers had sewn. Gift baskets were put together and donated for silent auctions and raffles. Node Homemaker Carrie Marie Olson was in charge of crafts. Club members could paint their own “This is Wyoming” wooden signs. Homemakers Mandy Stevenson and Ruth Stevenson were on hand to help with preparations.

Friday evening, visiting Homemakers from all over the State enjoyed a Chuckwagon Dinner and entertainment from Randy Hills and the Crooners. The dinner was held at the Stagecoach Museum and attendees were afforded the opportunity to tour the museum.

Donna Hanson told the Herald, “The out-of-town ladies very much enjoyed visiting Lusk and the various activities provided for them.”

Hanson added, “Greg Starck loaned his chuckwagon to give the feel of an old fashioned chuckwagon meal.”

Jim Kruse gave a speech about the history of Niobrara County. The Niobrara County Homemakers dressed in old-fashioned attire to bring authenticity to the evening. festivities.

Saturday evening was the Quealy banquet with local musician Paul Swartz. Betty Holmes was the guest speaker. The Quealy banquet honors members for outstanding Homemakers. It is named after Susan Quealy, who established the award. According to Homemaker Donna Hanson, the counties rotate so they are able to nominate outstanding homemakers for the award. It is a coveted award given to women who have gone above and beyond with community work.

During the banquet, Holmes explained the history of the Quealy club. Unsung heroes of other counties as well as Niobrara’s own Johnny Krein were honored. Krein was recently honored by the Niobrara Homemakers.

Members who have been a part of the Homemakers were also honored and creative arts awards were announced along with the installation of officers.

The ladies that were honored this year were Denice Rouch from Campbell County, Betty Holmes from Albany County, and Marilyn Resphire from Laramie County. According to Wyoming Homemakers/Quealy President Joan Griffin, the Homemakers’ 25th anniversary celebration required a daunting amount of preparation.

“It takes a lot,” Griffin said. “Niobrara County worked months. For me as President, it probably took three weeks of getting things ready.”

Unfortunately, the years have taken their toll on the Homemakers’ membership numbers. Griffin explained that as some Homemakers have grown older or passed away, the organization has experienced a growing shortage of members.

“Our numbers are going down,” said Griffin. “We are getting older and the younger generation is changing. It’s not that they’re not interested in Homemaker stuff. They’re just preoccupied with other stuff.”

Yet, while this demographic bleed is a concern for the organization, there are still reasons for the Homemakers to remain optimistic about their future. In fact, there were seven new attendees at the 25th anniversary meeting. Griffin stated that new attendees such as these are given a small taste of the Homemakers more enjoyable activities. Additionally, the fresh blood can experience a kinship that transcends the demarcations of an individual community.

“They see that we have fun,” Griffin said. “They see the friendship and interactions go beyond counties. I go over several counties and go to a mall or a store and I can recognize somebody from the Homemakers. It’s just a great feeling and we want to keep our state Homemakers strong.”

Event attendees were also treated to a “surprise” craft project hosted by Lickety Stitch Quilts, Lusk’s very own creative sewing center. The “surprise” was a simple sewing project that attendees could begin in the shop and complete at their respective homes. According to Lickety Stitch founder Karen Wisseman, successfully completing simple projects engenders a sense of achievement that can compel the novice to take on more elaborate designs.

“We never want people to start out with a project that is above their level of expertise because that can be frustrating,” said Wisseman. “There are a lot of different levels of quilters and sewers. We like to have something for those who really want to have something intricate and complicated, but we also like to have things for people who prefer a quick, easy project.”

According to Wisseman, her shop has carried on a long-running and healthy relationship with the Homemakers.

“Through the years, they have supported us a lot,” Wisseman said.

Saturday’s 25th anniversary celebration drew Homemakers from various corners of Wyoming. Among them were Sheridan Homemaker Donna Hutson and her mother, Bea Hutson. The mother-daughter team are presently working on publishing a book entitled Bea’s Honeycomb of Life. As the title suggests, the book shares Bea’s life story, which includes almost 60-years of membership in the Homemakers. According to Donna, the book is tentatively slated for publication in July.

Of the forthcoming literary work, Donna Hutson said, “It’s going to be awesome.”

Another Sheridan Homemaker in attendance was Linda Wells. This was the first time that Wells attended such an event.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” said Wells. “The Homemakers try to help support the younger generation to learn about the different aspects of being a homemaker.”

The weekend closed with a breakfast on Sunday morning. Attendees said their goodbyes until next year.

Niobrara County Council President Sharon Cardwell shared her thoughts about how this year’s meeting went. “The Niobrara County Homemakers put on an outstanding Wyoming State Homemakers Meeting over the weekend. Those attending enjoyed themselves immensely while also conducting the necessary business of the organization.Kuddos go out to all the gals that put in so much of their time and talents to make the State Meeting a memorable one,” Cardwell said.

Homemakers host state meeting - Lusk Herald (2024)
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