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Woman's Club discovers extensive history



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Candidates for the GFWC’s “Miss Melody” title. Photo by O. Shumaker (click for larger version)
October 03, 2012 - By Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

All organizations have storied histories, and so does the General Federation of Women's Clubs—Lake Orion, or GFWC, as they found out recently when they discovered a number of documents relating to the history of the group in Lake Orion.

The GFWC, which meets in the Orion Township Public Library, found these documents in their storage closet at the library. Some of them date as far back as February of 1914, when the group was first founded. Items the group found range from original brochures for the club to articles relating to their achievements to thank-you notes from citizens they helped.

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"I haven't even looked at all of the stuff in there yet," said member Renee Miron-Alimpich. "There's still stuff to be uncovered."

The GFWC is a club for women whose sole goal is to engage members in assorted community service projects, the driving idea being to improve the lives of others in the process of improving the community. The Lake Orion branch is part of a much larger national and international organization of women's clubs, which is the oldest nondenominational, non-partisan international women's service organization in the world. In Lake Orion, the group focuses on several annual projects, including a scholarship endowment to Lake Orion High School, Girlstown Foundation, and fundraising for the Orion Township Public Library.

"One of the main reasons why I joined the club was because of its affiliation with the library," said Alimpich.

The boxes of scrapbooks and papers members found document a broad number of projects the group worked on, from speakers they booked to parades they joined to drives they assisted in. Former members of the group include women whose surnames are now street names around Lake Orion, such as Baldwin. At the moment the GFWC is still in the process of archiving everything in the closet, and is working to have the documents put out where community members can access them.

Alimpich, for her part, was most struck by an old Lake Orion Review article, "That was for the 65th anniversary of the Lake Orion Women's Club."

The GFWC will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2014, and plan to celebrate with a few main events. Ideas that are being tossed around involve an ice cream social and having members dress as women did back in 1914.

"That would be a lot of fun. A glimpse back in time," Alimpich said.

Ultimately, whether they are raising money to help keep the library going or dressing up in period gear, the GFWC is a group that will endure, and continue to help make Lake Orion a better place with each passing year, thanks to the dedication of its members.

"They're a great bunch of women. Some of them have been in the club for 50 years," Alimpich said. "I just really like the idea of being a part of something that has a long history."

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