Laramie, Wyoming, has had two Soroptimist clubs. The first club was chartered on July 8, 1943 by Soroptimist International of Ogden, Utah. Member Susan Dixon served three biennium’s on the Rocky Mountain Region Board as a Member at Large in 1942-1944 and Region Treasurer during 1950-1952 and 1952-1954. The Laramie club sponsored the chartering of two additional clubs – SI Rawlins, Wyoming, on December 8, 1951, and SI Casper, Wyoming, on April 15, 1950.
Soroptimist International of Laramie hosted the Rocky Mountain Region Conference April 12-14, 1946. The theme was “In Unity is Strength,” and the presiding officer was Region Director Sophie W. Reed. The club also hosted the Northern Wyoming Area Meeting on October 21, 1955. The club disbanded on June 29, 1959.
Soroptimist International of Laramie was re-chartered on March 9, 1975 at the Holiday Inn by Soroptimist International of Worland, Wyoming with twenty-three members. Soroptimists from Rawlins, Longmont, Colorado and Scotts Bluff, Nebraska were in attendance. Mary Quealy, Development Chair of the Rocky Mountain Region, from Rawlins presented the charter and Madeleine Gillilan, Governor of the Rocky Mountain Region, from Rawlins conducted the installation of officers.
PROGRAM – Projects and Hands-On Service
The following are many of the projects to which we have donated or provided hands-on service:
Local/Community Service – Current Projects and Hands-On Service
• Organize materials at the Albany County Public Library to honor International Women’s Day
• Salvation Army Bell Ringing
• Collect Items for Food Pantry
• Greenbelt Clean Up
• Provide refreshments for SAFE Project annual Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil
• Dare to Dream Event for teen girls
• Provide Refreshments for SAFE Project annual “Take Back the Night”
• Provide Pajamas/Sleep Wear for local Youth Crisis Center
• Hold a “Soroptimist After Hours” for members to get better acquainted
• Sponsor a Family at the Holiday Season
Local/Community Service – Previous Projects
• Christmas Caroling
• Provided plants/flowers at the Wyoming Territorial Park
• Provided gifts for residents of Bethesda Care Center at the holidays
• Provided Sweat Pants and Shirts for SAFE Project
• Collected Grocery Receipts for an Elementary School
• Collected Toiletry Items for SAFE House
• Highway Clean Up
• Participate in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters “Bowl for Kids Sake”
• Teen Health Fair Support
• Financial Planning Program for Community
• Self-Hypnosis workshop – by Dr. Leo Sprinkle, UW Professor who is widely known for research of UFO’s, for Community
• Sponsored Albany County Congressional Award program
• Participated in Flea Market for fundraising project for the Public Library
• Assemble records for Albany County Assessor
• Plant trees, shrubs and sod at the New Chamber of Commerce Center and putting planters and trees in the Downtown area
• Leadership workshop for Community
• Self-Improvement through self-hypnosis workshop for the community – by Dr. Leo Sprinkle.
• Assemble “Steer Clear” educational packets focusing on alcohol awareness given to Wyoming Drivers License Bureau for First Time Drivers
Global Service and Special Events (past and present)
• SI Laramie regularly donates to RMR, SIA, and SI Service Projects. We annually donate to the SIA Club Campaign.
• Our club has supported Binh Rybacki’s Children of Peace Program in Vietnam. One of our members has gone to Vietnam on a medical mission with Binh. With other clubs in the Region, we have donated to the RMR-built Vocational School, the SI “Dust of Life” project, Workshops for Vietnam women, vests and kiosks for vendors, and the “Little Rose Project.”
• Had a Friendship Link in Aberystwyth, Wales
International & Special Visitors to SI LARAMIE
• President Senora Eclida Gomes Haensel of the Porto Alegro Soroptimist Club in Brazil visited Laramie in 1981.
• Co-hosted a lunch with Zonta Club of Laramie for 2 Soviet Union women who visited Laramie for a week. They were with a Soviet Peace delegation to the United States.
• Joan Harrison of the Soroptimist International in Cannock, England visited Laramie for 3 days in June 1989.
• Maite Marco Arana, Husband and two sons (13 and 12) from Barcelona, Spain in July, 1994
• Joyce & Emly Evans from Wales in September 2004
• Binh Rybacki of Children of Peace
• RMR Governors Dorothy Brown, Marilyn Tang, Judy Robinson, Ann Rutledge, Paula Voerding, Barb Lewis, Margo Hartman and Jan Fitts and RMR Secretary Marcella Redmond have visited our club.
AWARDS – SCHOLARSHIPS – GRANTS
• Received 4 President’s Award of Excellence in 1981-82, 1984-85, 1987-88, and 1989-90
• Outstanding Service Award from Venture Clubs of South Central Region in 1981 and 1989
• Sponsored its first Youth Seminar in August, 1985 and also held Regional Youth Seminar. The Region winner was from Laramie and went on to the Federation Youth Seminar in New York in November 1985.
• Our club participates annually in the RMR Spirit of Soroptimist Award
• Our club participates annually in the SIA awards programs:
o Violet Richardson Award, formerly the Youth Citizenship Award
o Women’s Opportunity Award, formerly the Training Awards Program
o Ruby Award, formerly the Women Helping Women Award and Women of Distinction Awards
Local Club Awards or Scholarships
• Provide college application fees to high school students who need financial help
• Provide Scholastic Achievement Award to Junior Miss
• Contribute to Project Graduation
• Mammograms for women who need financial help
• Supported the local Recreation Center and 8 Lane Pool with a $10,000 contribution
• Provide scholarships to single parent households for use of the Recreation Center
• Contribute and participate in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure
Club Recognitions by RMR, SIA, SI, Venture or local community
• Received 2nd Place Recognition from SIA for its “2008 Membership Drive: Live Your Dream Event”
• The club has had a newsletter since September 1988
• In 2007, the club’s website was established by one of our members
• The first Casino Night was held in March 1980. It was entitled “A Lift for Bernadette”. It was for a young lady who had been shot by her boyfriend and was totally paralyzed. The lift was for her home so the family could get her from the upstairs to the downstairs of their home. Casino Night became the annual fundraiser for the next 26 years raising over $212,000.00.
• In 2007, the club changed the fundraiser to a Comedy Night which has raised over $45,000.00.
• Chic Repeat Boutique was held in 2011 with the proceeds going to the Heifer Project. Members donated gently used clothing, accessories, and etc. for items to be sold at this boutique.
MEMBERSHIP EVENTS – SOROPTIMIST CLUBS CHARTERED – VENTURE CLUB
• Chartered the First Venture Club in Wyoming in October 1980 with 15 members. Venture Regional Governor, Kathi Surian, installed the new members. This Venture Club disbanded in 1998.
• Chartered Soroptimist International of Central Wyoming (Casper) in November 1987. Governor Ellie Syme of Ogden, Utah presented the charter.
Special Soroptimist Awards or Recognition to Members
• Over the past years, recognition has been given to members as “Soroptimist of the Month” and “Soroptimist of the Quarter”.
• 1990-91 – Susan Simpson was given the Woman of Distinction Award
• 1991-92 – Jeanne Robison was given the Woman of Distinction Award
• 1997 – Marie Sheaffer was given the Woman of Distinction Award
• 2008 - Marie Sheaffer was honored by Soroptimist International of Laramie with a membership in the Laurel Society
• 2010 - Kathy Phillips was honored by Soroptimist International of Laramie with a membership in the Laurel Society
Members Who Have Served or are Serving in RMR, SIA or SI Leadership Roles:
• Christine Wiley – RMR District III Director 1988-90
• Marie Sheaffer – RMR District III Director 1992-94
• Kathy Phillips – RMR District III Director 2000-02; RMR Secretary 2002-04; RMR Parliamentarian 2010-12
• Jonnie Jenkins - RMR District IIII 2006-08; RMR Treasurer 2008-10; RMR Governor Elect 2010-12
ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION MEETINGS HOSTED BY SI LARAMIE
• RMR - District III & IV Meeting - September, 1991
• RMR – District III & IV Meeting - September, 2000
• RMR – Conference hosted in Laramie –April, 2008
SPECIAL EVENTS IN OUR CLUB’S HISTORY
• The club received a gavel after submitting the club’s history to the SIA Archives as part of the 75th Anniversary Celebration.