Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not Your Grandmother's DAR

I am a member of the DAR - Daughters of the American Revolution.  For those of you who are completely out of touch, the American Revolution is when we American's declared our independence from Great Britain.  They didn't like it much, so there was a big fight and lots of people died on both sides, but ultimately, we won and a new country was born.  And thank goodness for that, I say.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a group of women who can trace their ancestry back to a Patriot who either fought during the revolution, or at the very least supported those who did.  You can check them out here:

Let me give you some basic facts though from their website:
"The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 165,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. "

Joining was super easy for me, as my grandmother was a member.  I just had to prove my relationship to her and my mom and I was in like Flynn. I originally joined in honor of my sister who passed away just over 2 years ago.  She always wanted all of us to join, and once she passed away, I felt like I needed to get my membership in.  She wanted it, and we put it off too long, so I wasn't going to put it off anymore.

However, my only experience with the DAR was what I had seen on Gilmore Girls.  You know, where Rory drops out of Yale and moves in with Emily and Richard (her grandparents) and joins the DAR and has to do community service to make restitution for stealing a yacht with her bad boy boyfriend Logan?  Where's it's a lot of rich, stuffy, old women with their noses so far in the air, all you can see is their nostrils?  Where they have $500/plate fancy dinners to raise money for charity.  Yeah, that's the only DAR I knew about.  So I was completely unprepared for what I found when I attended my first meeting.

My DAR chapter is filled with intelligent, funny, and genuinely nice women.  Women who are varied in age from roughly my age up to closer to my grandmother's age.  Women from all walks of life who range from house wives to lawyers to scientists and everything in between.  Women who care about their families, their country and the military men and women who protect us every day.  Women who are down right obsessed with genealogy, and women more like me, who just wanted to be part of this organization and did the genealogy to get there - although the women like me are in the minority.  But the very best part of these women is their sense of humor.  These women are passionate about the charitable work we're doing, but none of them take themselves too seriously, and I have yet to see one nose stuck in the air! 

I joined around this time last year and they voted me in at the national level in October.  I've only been to a handful of events due to scheduling conflicts, but have enjoyed and been made to feel welcome at every one.  Today's event was called DAR 101 and focused on explaining how the organization worked at the national, state, district and chapter level.  They talked about each of the committees our chapter is focused on, and gave us more information on who to talk to about helping out for each committee. 

While we don't throw big fund raising events like Rory did, we do find fun ways to raise money and interact with each other.  There's the Mad Hatter Tea Party, where they create the most fun and fantastical hats to wear at the party.  They have a Hee Haw inspired event where all the women attend in overalls, straw hats, bare feet and blacked out teeth.  And they have an absolutely lovely Winter Holiday Tea event with formal outfits and white gloves.  We also say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the Star Spangled Banner before every meeting.  A little hokey, but it connects us to our past and re-affirms our patriotic roots.

I'm hoping this year I can find a bit more time to participate more in my local DAR chapter.  I've already volunteered to contact our local schools to promote an essay contest we're having based on the Memoirs of Paul Revere for grades 5-8.  And I might head up, or maybe co-chair the "juniors" committee.  Juniors being those members who are age 36 or under.  Us "younguns" need our own committee after all and since I still fit the bill for another year or so, what better way to contribute.  My chapter is also starting a Children of the American Revolution (CAR) committee.  We have enough interest that we might either join with another group, or make our own for our kids.  And honestly, how great would that be? Another place for Bug and Bunny to meet kids, and maybe even learn something along the way.

I'll probably be talking about the DAR every now and then, so I thought I should try to fill you guys in a little bit about what it is.  Encourage you who are eligible, by pointing out that this is NOT your grandmother's DAR.  Times are a changing, and the people are too.   I have a lot of fun with these women, and I bet you would too.

Seriously.. Thoughts?


  1. Great DAR comments! Our DAR chapter here in PA (The Jacob Ferree Chapter) isn't your Grandmother's DAR either. We are active and have a ton of younger members. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Thanks Anonymous! Glad to see my DAR isn't the only one. I think getting young people interested is important to keep the movement moving forward. The work the DAR does is important for so many reasons.

    HI ELIZABETH!!!! Thanks for stopping by!