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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One

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Grandmothers and members at a W.I. First Picnic - 1938. Fourth Row, Left to Right: Mary McMillan, Olga Johnson, Freda Carlson, Elizabeth McKinnon, Olen a Paulsen, Magda Oleniuk, Mary Hall, Emma Car/son, Jessie North, Petra Gusdal. Third Row: Henry Sanderson, Margaret Sjogren, Dorothy Sharp, Mary Miller, Matilda Larson, Elisabet Hall. Second Row: Edith Armstrong, Sophie Bergman, Mary Booth, Lillian Gusdal, Emma Hill, Anna Gusdal, Rose Oleniuk, Viola Miller, Elizabeth Biczo, Carol McKay, Ruth McKay. Front Row:

Margaret Renton, Christine Rushton, Esther Hanson, Mabel Neilson, Marion Mckenzie, Harriet Lee, Aileen Lee.

In September of 1937 a group of women met at the home of Mrs. Ethel Neilson to again discuss organizing a group that would include all nationalities and religions working together for a common cause. This time en­ thusiastic support was evident and due to the efforts of Mrs. Ethel Neilson, Mrs. Mabel Neilson, Mrs. Anna Gusdal and Mrs. Elsie Magnell, the Erickson Women's Institute was organized on November 27, 1937 with twenty-nine members, and a membership of fifty at the conclusion of the first year. The members of the first executive were: President - Mrs. R.J. McKenzie, Vice­ President - Mrs. M. Neilson, Second Vice-President ­ Mrs. Anna Gusdal, Secretary Treasurer - Mrs. Ethel Neilson; other directors were: Mrs. L.W. Miller, Mrs. L. Mcinnes, Mrs. A. Armstrong, Mrs. W. Magnell, Mrs. E. Hanson, Mrs. E. Forsberg and Mrs. H. Grenon. So enthused were the ladies at the first meeting they began to set up their first project - the establishing of a local library which was first located in the lobby of the Post Office. This service was continued until 1982 when the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam and the Village of Erickson became members of the Parkland Regional Travelling Library. Also at the first meeting a motion was passed that a free lunch would be served at each meeting and that the lunch would consist of two sandwiches and one piece of cake.

With the annual membership fee set at twenty-five cents it was necessary to think of other ways and means of raising funds to carryon various community projects. The first money raised was through an auction of recipes which netted $4.23. A Variety Programme convened by Elsie Hall increased the organization's funds to $52.05 ­ this being with admissions of adults 25¢ and children 15¢.

The Institute Motto "For Home and Country" has guided the work of the Institute since its inception. Projects through the forty-six years have varied from


providing layettes for the needy, sponsoring Junior Players at Drama Festivals, Public Speaking and Spoken Poetry Competitions, various types of entertainment programmes (East and West and Ethnic) and School Dental Clinics. Community projects like the Erickson and District Hospital, the Memorial Arena, Parkland

W.l. Members taking part in a local parade.

Home, Erickson and District Recreation Centre and at present the new Skating Arena have had our full support. Another early project and which was carried on until 1975 was the establishment of a Rest Room. Mrs. McKinnon, a member, offered the use of a room in her home until such time as the Institute could provide a Rest Room "uptown". From the time when the first Rest Room was set up in the Co-op Store in 1940, it took fifteen years to finally reach the objective set out to achieve. This came about due mainly with the presen­ tation by the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam, of the old Municipal Hall building, to the Erickson Women's Institute in 1955. This project was accomplished, not only through the instigation and efforts of the W.I. but mainly through the realization of the need and the ready assistance given by other organizations and individuals in the Village and District.

Throughout the years the Institute made annual contributions to various benevolences and annually conducts canvasses for C.N.I.B. and Canadian Cancer Society. They have sponsored 4-H Clubs and award a yearly Bursary to a Grade XI Student. The Institute was instrumental in forming Girl Guides and Brownies and Scouting Groups.

Education of both our members and our adults and children has had our interest and concern from the beginning. The W.1. organized a parent-teacher series of meetings with other organizations of the community, each group being responsible for one meeting a year. This functioned successfully for many years. The Department of Agriculture Extension Service courses have been well utilized in this area as well as speakers on various topics.

Our main project and money raising effort from 1941-