Some of the history behind CJWC…..
The history on the GFWC Cookeville Jr. Woman’s Club is such an interesting development. In 1969 two women who were friends parted company. Frances Hooper moved to Cookeville and her friend stayed in Lebanon. Frances Hooper checked on establishing a Jr. Woman’s Club at the insistence of her friend in Lebanon. So Mrs. Hooper spoke with her daughter Harriet Sue Hall and from there the club was born. The club federated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1970. They organized and wrote by-laws and recruited members. In the early years, the club had guidance and resources form Lebanon and Sparta clubs.
Then a twist of fate happened, Janice Allen moved from Greenville and had been in a Jr. Club there. She brought with her knowledge of what a club was to do and how to achieve its goals. In 1970 they met at the community center and officers were elected. Patsy Lancaster, President; Janice Allen, Vice-President; Donna Nash Francis, Secretary; and Sarah Ramsey, Parliamentarian were the slate of officers. There they established goals, broke into committees, and adopted the GFWC motto and collect, the motto being “Unity in Diversity”. At the time there were 44 members and growing.
As they met, they decided they need a fundraiser. So they began card games, chili suppers and other small fundraisers. They soon realized that they needed a bigger fundraiser to meet more of the needs of the community. Doris Leggott suggested selling pecans that her mother’s club in GA sold and we today are still selling the same pecans that come from Stuckey’s of Wrens GA. They are fresh picked and shipped to us every November. Club members take orders for the pecans and they are also available for purchase at our annual Santa’s Workshop.
In 1972, Nancy Brown brought the idea of a play to the club. The club contacted A.Cargill Production Company in NY. They sent a representative, Frank Lloyd, to help them design a play for them. That is when the Green Garter Revue began. It was a community effort that had members, spouses, sponsors, patron, and advertisers excited. Most of the early members look upon this time with fond memories. They were able to help so many people with the proceeds.
Because of the Green Garter Revue there was lots of public interest and so the club provided more interesting committees such as sewing, gardening, and gourmet cooking as a fun time for members. In 1974-76 the club had projects that helped with the bicentennial.
But in 1977 Brenda Hughes suggested Santa’s Workshop. The very first one was held in 1977. Santa’s Workshop is being operated by around 30 volunteer members. Each year we have new vendors and great musical entertainment such as area school choruses and musical groups. Each club member works dedicated hours for this event year after year.
There are 5 major categories that we contribute to overall. Our Arts and Culture committee keeps us informed about the arts that are going on locally. We have various members that participate out in the arts community. Our Health and Wellness committee works in areas of women’s health and healthy lifestyles as well as financial peace. Our Civic Engagement and Outreach committee works in areas of women’s safety, public safety, and citizenship. Our Education and Libraries committee works in areas of children’s education and adult continuing education. Our Environment committee works in areas of beautification and recycling. This is just some of what we are about.
We also promote leadership, membership, and empowerment programs.
Past proceeds from Santa’s Workshop and the good they’ve done throughout our community have also been recognized statewide. We gave money for gas vouchers to American Cancer Society, and they won an award for best project. Because of this money, so many people that would not otherwise be able had their treatments. We also have been recognized international for the HUGGIES Project. We combined efforts with the Health Dept. on SIDS awareness.
So as we reflect back to those ladies of the past that had the forethought to begin and organization to better their community, we can see through the years how dedicated and blessed we truly are. It is the little thing in life that we take for granted that is most needed in our community and we work everyday to meet those needs.
We are more than just a local organization….
Most people don’t know just exactly what our club really is and why people want to be apart of it. Our official name is GFWC Cookeville Jr. Woman’s Club. You may ask what GFWC stands for, but its meaning is more than the title General Federation of Women’s Clubs. It stands for volunteering around the world and having a network to be able to accomplish this goal. GFWC is an international club of woman’s clubs that spreads to 44 countries and all 50 states plus US territories.
General Federation of Women’s Clubs
1734 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-2990
For membership information: