On Saturday, October 1st, the third annual Ladies Luncheon took place at the Bengough Community Centre.
Fourteen tables, each with a hostess and theme filled the hall. Women from Bengough and surrounding communities found their tables and visited while they anticipated the meal to come.
The tables were decked out to match the chosen theme. Balloons were in the air; a Halloween themed table was suitably spooky and a sign bearing the words “Road Kill Café” made one wonder what the fare might include.
Many artistic abilities went in to the theme for each table, both in food and presentation. Table hostesses were often dressed to match their table theme; Ann Hagen wore a poodle skirt with a “50s dinner” as her table theme; Janet Hesjedal and Therese Mooney were wearing bright tie-died tee shirts to match their table them of “Flower power”.
Lisa Newby was Mistress of Ceremonies and among her duties, she announced the many winners of draws made throughout the luncheon. Area businesses and individuals were generous in their giving of prizes for the ladies in attendance.
Two members of the Bengough School Drama Club provided some entertainment by way of a dramatic performance. Grade 12 students, Brittany Gillies and Courtney Kesslering had the audience laughing with their performance of a fortune teller fleecing a man until the final line, when the tables were turned.
After draws and dessert, a snack was served. Guest speaker, Deb Thorn, President and CEO of the South Saskatchewan Enterprise Region was introduced.
Thorn spoke of how a 35,000 person community took on a, “Bold act of imagination” and made it work. The community was Moose Jaw and the time was 20 years ago when Moose Jaw and elsewhere were suffering from a recession. Thorn’s story was one of rejuvenation and success.
It began with a group of people willing to try “wing-nut” things that many said would not work.
While Thorn recalled the changes that took place in Moose Jaw to bring it to where it is today, she brought home some strong points that can be applied to other situations: the city (or town) needed a strong heart; take action – develop a vision; develop good marketing techniques.
Deb reminded us that, “Every community has incredible resources – the need is recognizing what is there.”
The folks that Deb worked with decided that Moose Jaw would become a destination for tourists, and they would build a spa. They had the water, but no on e really knew what a spa was. After unsuccessfully trying to attract a developer world-wide and having no response they developed their own vision of what the spa would be. “One of the hardest things,” recalled Thorn, “was convincing the locals. We began with more against us rather than for us.”
With much good solid debate and discussion the project went forward with a more solid base in the end. Shares were offered for $25 each and Thorn vividly remembers going door to door to sell them. Over 10,000 Moose Jaw residents bought in and in 1996, Temple Gardens opened with 53 employees. Deb was hired as manager and in a moment of humour she decried what it was like at the beginning of her new career with no experience.
The Spa lost $40,000 the first year in operation. Deb stated, Never quit when you are down.” In 2009, the Temple Spa employed 200 people and had 13.6 million dollars in revenue.
Thorn presented the Ladies Luncheon with a $500.00 gift certificate for the Temple Spa to be used to help raise funds for the Community Centre in whatever way is seen fit. She praised the organizers of the event calling it a, “spectacularly creative event,” one which she hopes to be able to use elsewhere in the future.
Barb Smith completed the event by giving a report on where the funds currently stand for the renovation of the Community Centre. The renovation cost was $327,000 of which $100,000 was paid by a grant leaving $227,000 to be paid off. The goal is to have the amount paid over 10 years. To date $131,000 has been raised – in little over 2 years – leaving $96,000 owing.
The Ladies Luncheon raised $3,160.00 toward that total.
Deb Thorn stated that communities need a “can do attitude.” When it comes to Bengough Community Centre fundraising, the Ladies Luncheon is a fine example of people working together to reach a goal.
The sign up sheet for hostesses is open for the 2012 Ladies Luncheon if you have some imagination and enjoy serving your community.
Tables and Hostesses1. Deb Ashby and Pat Craven – Fresh as a Daisy 2. Belva Boynton and Donna Untereinner – It’s a Picnic 3. Marlene Cleveland and Louise Lotten- Chuck Wagon 4. Donna Cull and Tara Gauley – Road Kill Café 5. Judy Douglas – First Class in Flight 6. Wanda Eberle – Take Me Out to the Ball Game 7. Rae-Ann and Courtney Fieger – Arts and Crafts 8. Carla Gravelle and Krysten Corcoran- Halloween 9. Ann Hagen – A 50s Dinner 10. Kristie Hoffart, Kirby Gravele and Lara Hazen – A Little Taste of Italy 11. Charla Holbrook and Jodie Lee – You Know You’re a Redneck When 12. Theresa Mooney and Janet Hesjedal – Flower Power! 13. Trudy Shaver – Grandma’s Tea Party 14. Gloria Simpson and Mattesyn Jones – Birthday Wishes