WI assembles for 83rd annual meeting

LISTOWEL – Members of Guelph Area Women’s Institutes met at the Listowel Agricultural Hall on Oct. 19 for their 83rd annual meeting with the theme “Celebrate With Us – 125 Years of WI.”

Barbara Elg (Lily Dempsey branch) chaired the area convention with 40 in attendance and began by reading the land acknowledgement.

The guest speaker for the day was Kelly Tallon Franklin, the founder and chief director of Courage for Freedom, a Canadian-leading organization which exists to educate community service providers and police forces on proven strategies to help protect against human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and force prostitution. Tallon Franklin is a respected advocate, author and award-winning speaker on these issues. She told the members we are all responsible to protect our youth and elderly as those who would use and exploit them are everywhere.

“Don’t be quiet – speak out,” she said.

The number to report incidents is 1-833-900-1010.

FWIO Provincial President Michelle Phillippi was in attendance and presented 125-year anniversary pins to 10 WI members for supporting the Charter Branch of Women’s Institute.

The area had a 500-word essay competition on ‘COVID and You.” Margaret McInroy (Walton) branch placed first, Kathy Bridge (Majestic branch) placed second and Marie McCutcheon (Majestic branch – Brussels) placed third. Each were given a monetary award and a copy of their essays will be entered into the Guelph Area Tweedsmuir Book.

Anne Innes spoke about Associated Country Women of the World. Their new motto is “Rural Women in Action.”

In honour of the 125th WI celebrations, Guelph Area is planning to plant a tree somewhere within Guelph Area as part of “A Plant a Tree in Ontario.”

Secretary Glenna Smith planned a couple of fun activities for the afternoon celebrations which were followed by cupcakes decorated in WI colours featuring a 125 pick and fruit punch.

Submitted by Margaret E. McMahon, secretary-treasurer of the Guelph Area Women’s Institute.