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Women of the Moose | Print |  E-mail

HISTORY OF THE WOMEN OF THE MOOSE


    The Women of the Moose is the women's component of the Moose organization. Convening their first annual conference in conjunction with the Loyal Order of Moose Convention in 1913, the organization was originally called the "Women's Loyal Moose Circle,” and in 1916 was made a subgroup of the Mooseheart Legion. Under its first chief executive, Katherine Smith, the group became independent and was renamed "Women of the Moose" in 1931.
    There are presently more than 1,800 Chapters of the Women of the Moose in the United States and Canada, with a late-1990s membership of approximately 540,000. Each Chapter is instituted to promote the principles, ideals, and philanthropic purposes of the fraternity.
    The growth and progress of the Women of the Moose are the result of the program of committees established in 1927. The committees provide activities that interest all members in the Chapter, and the funds raised by each committee assist in maintaining Mooseheart and Moosehaven.

    Honors are awarded to Chapter officers, chairmen, escorts, and the Ritual Director who meet specific requirements during the Chapter year. These honors are referred to as degrees, and they consist of the Academy of Friendship, Star Recorder, and College of Regents.
The Academy of Friendship Degree was first awarded in 1927, the College of Regents Degree was conferred in 1935, and the first Star Recorder Degree in 1946. The Academy of Friendship Degree is conferred in each state and province annually, and the College of Regents and Star Recorder Degrees are conferred annually at the International Conference.
    The great accomplishments of the Women of the Moose are many and varied. Cooperation between the Lodges and Chapters is essential in providing for Mooseheart and Moosehaven-- and for participating in community services. Every community benefits when a Lodge and Chapter are located jointly within its limits.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE WOMEN OF THE MOOSE


    The Women of the Moose, with roughly 500,000 members in 1,800 member Chapters, comprise the female component of the Moose organization and have greatly contributed to the successes of Mooseheart and Moosehaven through the sponsorship of many projects.
Part of the per-capita tax remitted by Chapters to the Women of the Moose office each quarter is earmarked to finance the operation of the Health Department at Mooseheart. This means the Women of the Moose is helping to maintain the hospital and staff responsible for the excellent care given to the boys and girls at Mooseheart.
    The health center is well-equipped and incorporates complete dental care and orthodontia, provided by licensed consulting professionals. Complete eye care is also furnished, and corrective lenses are provided to students who require them.  A portion of the scholarships for Mooseheart graduates is provided by the Women of the Moose for many years. Since 1949, a special sponsor's music scholarship for four years of training in a music school has been available.

    A nurse's scholarship fund is available for Mooseheart students who desire to enter hospital training schools. This fund is provided by voluntary contributions from the hospital committees in the Chapters; it has aided thousands of students in obtaining training in nursing.
Supplying the libraries at Mooseheart with books and other materials originated in 1928 and has continued ever since. This is a project of the library chairman and her committee. Countless books also get donated to libraries in the respective communities of the Chapters.
One of the big projects each year is the holding of "Christmas in October" parties. Every Chapter collects gifts for the children at Mooseheart and for the elderly at Moosehaven. It is the generous outpouring of gifts and money from the Chapter co-workers that makes it possible for the children and elderly to have a joyous holiday season.
    The Women of the Moose have been responsible for many improvements at Moosehaven. Most recently in the 1990s, the Women of the Moose have funded extensive renovations of Academy Hall (of which they originally funded construction in 1965) and of Cluster Hall (now renamed for Grand Chancellor Emeritus Vivian Borom). They have also funded the construction of a badly needed facilities-maintenance building, which was named in honor of Grand Chancellor Emeritus Kay Cancie.
    The sea wall and concrete pier on the banks of the St. John's River, dedicated at the 1962 International Convention, were financed by Chapter donations. Additionally, Katherine Smith Hall, named after the first Grand Chancellor of the Women of the Moose, was dedicated during the International Convention in Florida in 1972.

    In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, the Women of the Moose raised funds to renovate the Moosehaven administration building. The Women of the Moose also raised the necessary funds for a new computer system within the Paul P. Schmitz Health Center.
In 2003, after three years of depressed investments placed the future of Mooseheart’s independent schools in jeopardy, the Women of the Moose came through yet again–committing to a permanent $5-per-member dues increase, with all of that increase going toward the underwriting of the Mooseheart school operating budget.
    In addition to the many projects sponsored at Mooseheart and Moosehaven, Women of the Moose Chapters have earned recognition throughout the country for their participation in community service work in the communities in which they are located. By the first decade of the 21st century, Women of the Moose donations totaled more than $7 million annually. It shows that the Women of the Moose are ever ready to lend a huge helping hand to help make the vision of the Moose fraternity into reality.