How Do I Join?

Retention of members of EANM is alive and thriving; we are doing a great job of keeping our members; we do have members who can not participate because of aging and/or health issues. Other members may relocate seasonally with the weather changes or permanently because of employment or family opportunities. These issues are common to all groups.

Maintaining the membership lies in the perceived value that each one feels both in the state standing of EANM and in his/her local Extension Club. It relies on the quality of programs, positive and enthusiastic leadership and a welcoming atmosphere.

Image of district meeting

There are many tangible ways the perceived value of membership is demonstrated in EANM. The support and sociality found in each meeting are due to the goals and aims of EANM which are illustrated in eating together, the abundant sense of humor and a general welcoming attitude of the meeting process. Certificates of years in EANM and homemaker of the year are just two of the examples of recognition of members.

There are individual supports given to members experiencing health and/or family crises. These supports can be demonstrated from the get well cards sent when someone is ill to funerary meals that are provided when a member has a death in the family. Post-humus memorials have been created for members.

Reminders of meeting dates and other functions are sent to members. This provides clarity of dates, times and focus of programming for the meeting. But, best of all, the reminders indicate to each member that the group is not complete without him/her. A powerful incentive to attend the meeting!

Recruitment of new members is an area that needs some attention. Public media announcements, reports of recent meetings, education opportunities and advertisements certainly help and should be continued or implemented in each District. But the most effective strategy is word of mouth invitations from our present members. A large percentage of new members have thought of coming to a meeting for some time, perhaps years before actually attending. Has it been indicated that attending as a guest is possible and would be welcomed by the group? Many times we tend to believe that everyone knows all these small things such as guests attending and exactly what Cultural Arts means. We have to make it known what our goals are and just what it is that we do at these meetings.

Family dynamics and economics have changed greatly since the beginning of EANM. Both Mothers and Fathers often need to work to provide enough income for the family to thrive. There is an overwhelming number of convenience foods and ready made clothing on the market so young homemakers often are not taught things such as food preservation or sewing.

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There has, however, been a resumed interest in homemaking crafts in the past several decades. More people are using sustainable living ideas and techniques to bake bread and preserve food. We spin, weave, knit and sew clothing. Many of us are honey bee keepers since the introduction of Topbar hives. Effective use of hoop houses, careful use of water and the resurgence of farm markets show the interest and satisfaction in gardening. Growing food and producing your own meat lets us know what chemicals, pesticides and production methods were used. Making food healthier is a satisfying incentive.

All these things are part the beliefs and policies of EANM. We have the commitment to make the public more aware of what we stand for and who we are. We need to personally reach out to invite neighbors and friends to our meetings. Together, let us make a commitment to keep EANM strong, thriving and a benefit to our communities.

Carol Flowers

Membership and Marketing