Sherry Egan Anderson, Angelos Editor 2017-04-13 02:19:27
REUNITED – AND IT FEELS SO GOOD! Kappa Delta membership may begin in college, but the bond of sisterhood is never-ending. No one may know this better than the sisters whose collegiate chapters are no longer active. While the doors to their former chapter homes may be closed, Kappa Delta hearts nationwide are open and welcoming them as sisters. Many initiates of dormant chapters currently serve on the National Leadership Team, are active members of alumnae chapters, serve as advisors for other collegiate chapters, and still enjoy the friendships they formed with their chapter sisters through regular reunions. "Arkansas State brought us together. Kappa Delta keeps us together." This slogan was printed on green T-shirts for 42 Delta Kappa alumnae who gathered for the group's 2014 reunion at Arkansas State University where the chapter was active from 1967 to 1985. Group member Melinda Butcher Parker says she and her chapter sisters initiated in the mid- to late-1970s held their first reunion in 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee, where they included a tour of Kappa Delta National Headquarters in the weekend agenda. Sisters from all over the country – Washington state to North Carolina – arrived on a Friday and spent the first evening sharing family photos and catching up. Melinda says: "Honestly, not much had changed in the 35-40 years since our time together as young women in college. We still sat on the foot of each other's beds and talked late into the night. We laughed until tears poured down our cheeks, and the words 'I love you' just seemed to hang in the air." When the weekend ended all too quickly after Sunday brunch, the group decided to gather every other year. Their 2012 reunion was in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where they added a philanthropic event to the get-together. Forty Delta Kappa alumnae under the leadership of Kim Thompson Stepka hosted an event for approximately 100 Girl Scouts who earned a water conservation badge. Philanthropy has continued to be a part of their planned activities. At the 2014 campus reunion, Delta Kappa Vicki Felker Pillow, director of the Northeast Arkansas Food Pantry, put her chapter sisters to work filling pallets with boxes of food for area families in need. Later the group attended the Arkansas State football game. Last fall, the group met in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where they spent a Saturday morning cleaning, painting, planting flowers and repairing Christmas decorations at Ouachita Children's Center before spending the afternoon touring the picturesque Garvan Woodland Gardens. A highlight of the 2016 reunion was coming together in Hot Springs with sisters from another Delta Kappa group that has had 15 get-togethers since their first reunion in 2012! This group is composed of the chapter's charter members, initiated in spring 1968, and alumnae from the first three new-member classes. Most of their gatherings have taken place in locations across Arkansas, but they also visited National Headquarters in Memphis, met in Atlanta and recently enjoyed a trip to New York City. "We are all retired, many widows, many who love to travel," says Jeannie Terry Majors. "We now have the time to enjoy our Kappa Delta sisterhood and lifelong bonds that we made 50 years ago . . . It is amazing what a reunion of Kappa Delta sisters can do to lift up your spirits." Jeannie, who has lost chapter sisters to cancer and other causes, says: "Several are fighting these battles now, which makes our sisterhood all the more important for the support we give each other . I cannot express in words how much these reunions have meant to us." Giving back to Kappa Delta is important to this group. They support the Kappa Delta Foundation, provide study snacks for local chapters and assist with writing recommendations for potential new members. They are making an effort to meet other Kappa Deltas and sustain their connection to the sorority. At the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock, Arkansas, they walked with collegiate members from Eta Sigma-Arkansas/Little Rock. They visited with members of Zeta Gamma-Arkansas when they took snacks to the chapter house. On the streets of New York City, they met collegiate KAs from an East Coast school. Jeannie describes the excitement she feels when she is with KA collegians: "You just immediately feel that precious Kappa Delta sisterhood bond, never mind that they are 19 years old, and we are 70 years old. The young ones are amazed about our lifelong KA bonds, and we old ones are amazed at the beautiful, smart, happy young Kappa Deltas our sorority is sending out into the world. Sisterhood is precious and constant!" Melinda agrees: "As special as KA was to all of us in college, in some ways it means much more now. When I pledged Delta Kappa Chapter, I could have never imagined the lifetime of love I share with these women . We draw strength from our reunions, and between reunions, from our Facebook community . I expect we will keep gathering and staying in each other's lives for as long as our legs can still carry us to see our sisters." REUNION ORGANIZER SHARES HER TIPS Charlotte Freeman Manny has organized reunions for her Gamma Alpha-Northern Illinois sisters that have taken them to vacation destinations across the country, including Chicago, Denver and Santa Fe, New Mexico, where 64 sisters gathered last fall. She's already busy planning the 2018 reunion that will take place in Charleston, South Carolina. Sightseeing around the country is not only fun, it helps sisters who live in different regions travel to sites closer to their homes. The group was meeting every three years or so, but last fall, the sisters decided to hold their reunion every two years. Charlotte says: "We are not getting any younger, and Gamma Alpha will never get any bigger, so we are committing ourselves to celebrate what we experienced as often as possible." Members vote on the destination. As the reunion organizer, Charlotte scouts the location and works on the budget for the event. Participants pay a registration fee to Charlotte that is used to pay for a welcome reception on Friday night, dinner on Saturday night, breakfast on Sunday morning and a hospitality suite with snacks and beverages. Additional meals, hotel accommodations and travel expenses are paid individually by each sister. The reunions are open to any Gamma Alphas, and Charlotte says they are always looking to expand the group. Events are promoted on the group' s Facebook page, and she also begins emailing members about a year in advance, encouraging them to come. "It is difficult to explain the rewards of these special gatherings," Charlotte says. "[At each reunion,] I choose a time to just stand back and watch these amazing women greet and visit with one another. It always makes me cry. There is so much love and respect. We have changed in countenance, but our spirits are still the same . . . I see, as always, that there was a very special, magical convergence of some of the most amazing women on earth who were all moved to pledge KA. It is this spirit that encourages me to keep planning our time together as long as I am able." "Sisterhood is precious and constant!" JEANNIE TERRY MAJORS, DELTA KAPPA-ARKANSAS STATE Support for one another has proved to be a lasting benefit of KA sisterhood for these Delta Kappa-Arkansas State alumnae; 2. Alumnae from Alpha Gamma-Coe meet biannually. Their most recent reunion took place in October 2016 at the Amana Colonies, a National Historic Landmark in Iowa; 3. A past trip to New York City was a fun getaway for a group of Tau alumnae. They are planning a larger reunion this year in Madison, Wisconsin, where their alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, is located. Eight past presidents of Gamma Alpha-Northern Illinois were among the 64 sisters who attended a reunion last fall in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2. Gamma Omega alumnae returned to Slippery Rock University where they enjoyed Homecoming festivities. 3. A group of Sigma Beta-Minnesota alumnae have been getting together annually for more than a decade. 4. A Texas Christian University Homecoming drew Gamma Zeta alumnae from across the country and as far away as Australia back to Fort Worth, Texas, for a chapter reunion. 5. Retirement has its benefits for these Gamma Alpha-Northern Illinois alumnae who enjoy "sistercations" at various destinations across the country. 6. These Delta Kappa-Arkansas State alumnae, pictured on a clean-up day at a children's center, incorporate community service into their biennial reunions. PLANNING A REUNION? Kappa Delta's Anniversary- Reunion Manual can answer many of your questions, such as "How do I obtain a chapter address list from National Headquarters?" or "How do I plan a budget for a reunion?" It also suggests ways to encourage sisters to attend and ideas for fun activities while together. The Anniversary-Reunion Manual is available in the Resource Library at www.kappadelta.org. COME HOME TO KD Kappa Deltas are welcome to visit National Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The building is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., CDT. Of special interest for visitors is the recently renovated Kappa Delta Museum. When it was revealed at the Founders Day open house last fall, Executive Director Pamela Nix told those gathered: "Headquarters. . . is the home for our entire sisterhood." For more information on visiting National Headquarters, call 800.536.1897 or email email@example.com. "We have changed in countenance, but our spirits are still the same." CHARLOTTE FREEMAN MANNY GAMMA ALPHA-NORTHERN ILLINOIS "The words 'I love you' just seemed to hang in the air". MELINDA BUTCHER PARKER, DELTA KAPPA-ARKANSAS STATE
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