BASS LAKE — Under a sweeping canopy of tiny lights in the Lakeview Room above The Pines Resort, we gathered to celebrate the lasting imprint of women on the fabric of our community, as the local Soroptimist organization marked five decades of sisterhood and service.
On Sunday, May 20, a luncheon was held to honor the special occasion. It was a perfect opportunity for women of all ages and backgrounds, from around the country, to mill about before the program began — laughing, hugging and reminiscing.
Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization founded in 1921, with approximately 95,000 members in 120 countries and territories. Soroptimist members belong to local clubs which determine community focus projects and programs in addition to supporting organization-wide programs, all of which benefit women and girls.
Soroptimist International of the Sierras was founded in 1968.
In a special ceremony, seven Soroptimist members were recognized for their long-standing service to the community: Peggy Davis – 25 years, Tara Ryan and Sandy Brinley – 28 years each, Cass Adelsbach – 30 years, Dianne Abney – 31 years, Dannie Forbes – 40 years, and Ann Topham – Charter Member 50 years.
In addition to celebrating the 50th Anniversary, two young women were honored with the 2018 ‘Live Your Dream College Scholarships for Women’ Awards.
Michele Ciccozzi and Brittany Caldwell each graciously accepted the cash scholarship, made possible by the annual Soroptimist fundraisers, and enhanced by the inclusion of $100 gas gift cards. Both have shown a fierce determination to improve their lives through hard work and education, for themselves and their families, and were rewarded with $1000 each to help them continue on their way.
Sierra News Online’s own publisher and editor, Gina Clugston, was given the 2018 ‘Women of Distinction’ Award for her continual efforts, now spanning six years, to keep the communities of the Central Sierra informed with up-to-the-minute news through website.
Home of headline news and great stories, with a vibrant community events scene, SNO has grown to the number one news source in the area, with nearly 7.5 million page views and 787,000 users in 2017.
Friends and family were in attendance to support and congratulate each of the women represented at the podium, and that was true for Gina’s table, as she was flanked by her husband Dale Clugston on one side, and on the other, the all-female SNO team. Receiving the Soroptimist Women of Distinction Award, notes Gina, is an overwhelming honor.
The Women Helping Women Award was presented to Kristen Fiester of Mountain Crisis Services, an indispensable nonprofit organization based in Mariposa and serving Eastern Madera County, as well.
Mountain Crisis Services and its associated programs seek to prevent domestic and sexual violence by advocating for positive changes, fostering understanding through community education, and providing services that empower victims of abuse and their children.
Soroptimists welcomed Gail Dekreon, the Incoming Governor for their region, as the luncheon’s inspirational Keynote Speaker. Ducey’s restaurant catered the buffet-style meal, which featured an abundance of brunch delectables, supplemented by a no-host bar. The tables were artfully decorated to reflect the classy invitations, with tall candles, flowers and even feathers, in precious metal tones.
Speaking of precious metals, Soroptimists want to thank the following sponsors: Gold — Designs by Christine Smith; Silver — SierraTel.com, Mark Wallo Pump Service, and Tom Wheeler; and Bronze — Miller & White CPAs.
Interested in becoming a new member? Contact Club President Joelle Rule for more information.
Photographs courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography.