March 8, 2016
Several years ago, I was invited to give a tea leaf reading workshop at a Beta Sigma Phi conclave which was attended by Western Canadian members and their counterparts south of the border at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.
I thought the organization was a university sorority. Turns out it is not and if my memory was any good, I would have remembered that I was introduced to this organization when I was working for a weekly newspaper in southern Saskatchewan in the early 1980s.
In the article, I mentioned that a man began the organization for women. That is what used to happen. Maybe this still does in certain cases and in certain places. If so, I am not aware of it as we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2016.
Here is the piece I did then on Beta Sigma Phi:
New club starting in Coronach?
by Tanya Lester
It seems appropriate for the Beta Sigma Phi to be starting a chapter of their club in the Coronach area during their “Golden Key of Friendship” year.
Beta Sigma Phi was, in a way, made for this kind of area where newcomers are many because it is primarily a friendship organization and often helps women make their first friends in a new community.
Although the group was started by an American man named Walter W. Ross, he started Beta Sigma Phi for women because he “saw a struggle for fulfillment in hundreds of young women who needed something to belong to, an avenue for their own growth and self-development.”
Since it first began, 50 years ago, the organization has grown to include 250,000 members in 12,500 chapters throughout 35 countries in the world.
Beta Sigma Phi provides its members with a balanced program of social events, education, and service. Or, as the Greek words “Beta Sigma Phi” mean, with “life, learning and friendship.”
Each chapter or club meets at a different member’s home. Every meeting is based on a particular topic for which the theme is indicated in a Beta Sigma Phi book printed by the organization’s international office.
For example, if the theme is “careers” a councillor might be invited in to talk about women in the working world. For a “love” topic, a film on how a father and son learned to better express their feelings for each other might be shown. Other themes include art, growing up, service, crafts, and so on.
A unique aspect of Beta Sigma Phi is that each member has a secret sister who will treat her specially on various occasions throughout the year. The secret sister might send her “sister” a Valentine’s Day card or a present for her birthday or flowers before she leaves on holidays. Before the group breaks for the summer months, each member has her secret sister revealed to her. It is also in the spring that the executive for the following year is selected.
Each year, the Beta Sigma Phi members celebrate the Founder’s Day of the club by maybe going out for supper. There are also annual conventions, including one in Regina, where members go just to have a good time.
Each year, a Beta Sigma Phi chapter will select a woman from its community to be an honorary member of the group. The woman cannot already be a member of Beta Sigma Phi but is selected for her contributions to the general community. She might be someone who works extensively with children or leads a cultural group in the town. Beta Sigma Phi international honorary members have included Nancy Reagan and Ginger Rogers.
Although Beta Sigma Phi is not primarily a service group, it does do a certain amount of work for different segments of the community. It might organize a Valentine’s Card Party for senior citizens, or take flowers to hospital patients around Easter, or plan an art exhibit for Canada Week….
Tanya Lester’s other posts on this blog can be read by going to writingsmall.wordpress.com or tealeaf56.wordpress.com
Tanya is an intuitive/psychic counsellor; a housesitter and a reiki master. For more information or to tap in to her services go to teareading.wordpress.com ; her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google or Twitter or contact her directly at email@example.com or call 250-538-0086
Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (which can be purchased from the author or by going to amazon.com), Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. These books are available in some library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.