Agenda Club members celebrating the group’s 70th anniversary are pictured from left, font row, Donna Oliver, Gwen Triplette and Glendoris Ross; and back row, Laura Bittner, Pat Fulton and Judy Schliep. Not pictured are Mary Belle Rafert, Lois Schlachter and Sharron Lett. —Johnson Publications
Agenda Club celebrates 70 years of service, camaraderie and broom sales
Between the nine of them, current Agenda Club members have dedicated over 200 years to the service group. The most recent member joined just four years ago, but Glendoris Ross has been a member since 1963.
Agenda Club members gathered Tuesday, March 14, at the Phillips County Museum to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the organization.
Current officers are president, Mary Belle Rafert; vice president, Ross; and secretary/treasurer, Laura Bittner.
Agenda began in Holyoke in 1947. With the motto “things to do,” members have, in fact, been keeping quite busy throughout the years. A poem written by Rafert and the late Velma Biddle, a long-time member, describes the women of Agenda as “the doing-est people on earth you ever met.”
Around Holyoke, Agenda has been known for its broom sales for many years. When they sell those brooms, they turn right around and put the proceeds back into the community, giving to Dragon’s Wagon Preschool, contributing to Christmas baskets put together by the Lutheran church and supporting care packages sent to Phillips County service members. They also sponsor the Decorate a Vegetable contest at the Phillips County Fair.
Typically the group holds meetings in members’ homes, but this special occasion called for a salad luncheon at the museum, with beautiful cookies, featuring the club flower and color, jonquil and yellow. Entertainment was provided by Joe Hall and Rachel Thompson, who performed Irish music.
The final stanza of Rafert and Biddle’s poem is a fitting representation of what Agenda means to its members:
“I simply feel better, always seeking ways to better me
I find it in Agenda’s camaraderie.
For Agenda is more than a club —
It’s an organization where goodwill and friendship grow
with interchanges of ideas for everyone to know.”