Extension Clubs rare, services still needed

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do you know how to fold a fitted sheet?

Nita Malleck does; she learned it at the first meeting of the Merry Mrs. extension club, 57 years ago.

If you missed Lorri Sughroue's feature story Tuesday about the club folding, you should dig out a copy of the paper or read it here.

Dozens of extension clubs were active in Red Willow County in the 1930s, and annual banquets in the 1950s and '60s drew hundreds of women.

There were still 28 clubs affiliated with the state extension service in 1984, but clubs are down to three now, and they are not affiliated with the state.

Changing society that saw more moms go to work and saw extension clubs go out of fashion, but judging from feedback on the Gazette's website, it's too early to write the obituary on the concept.

"I had no idea such a club existed!" said" mccookmom." "There is a new generation of stay-at-home moms who would have loved to be a part of this! So sad to see it go."

"My mother and grandmother were members of one in York County," said "love2liveinmccook." "I remember going along sometimes and the memory I have is the nut cups we got almost every time. Some nuts and a couple of mints. The mints were my favorite. I believe my grandmother was one of the founding members of that one. Sad to see another one folding and another piece of history in the books."

Even a man, "carsonl" chimed in:

"Maybe all it needs is a newer generation to reinvent/promote it. I have never heard of it, but know mothers who would probably love to do this.

"I think it might need to be reinvented because of the perception a lot of younger women might have of it. But that might just be me going by the name. I know my wife spends time on birthing boards and constantly scouting new recipes online.

"Also, I think wives need that 'me' time that rarely comes. My wife (and she is a wonderful one, not to mention a terrific mother) I think would love something like this."

It's true that many women don't have the time they once might have had to attend extension club meetings. And, they've found other means and methods of distributing helpful information, from Internet blogs to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

But nothing can replace that face-to-face personal contact that clubs can provide.

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