2014 Altrusa International District Eight Conference

Hutchinson Altrusans were Mining for Stars as they hosted the 58th conference for Altrusa International’s District Eight members. The annual conference, Thursday April 24th through Saturday April 26th, brought more than 120 members and guests to Hutchinson on the preceding Wednesday, to the newly remodeled Ramada Conference Center.  Altrusa District Eight, is made up of 25 Altrusa clubs in four states: Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Visit www.districteight.altrusa.org for more details. Representing the Greater Kansas City Altrusa Club were: Pat Brown, Sue Hart, Mary Rix, and Bethany Stanley of Overland Park; Jenny Troutman of Prairie Village; Marne Close and Jane Hart of Kansas City, MO; and Barbara Britt of Excelsior Springs. The Greater Kansas City Club walked away from the conference the winner of several awards for their work with Awesome Ambitions and the Overseas Coupon Program. Conference goals included opportunities to broaden member’s knowledge through speakers, workshops and discussions. “It’s a great opportunity in a supportive environment to learn the valuable skills needed to develop leadership talents. We form wonderful relationships with others who have similar as well as diverse backgrounds in business and personal networks. We can make a difference in our communities if we just keep working at it,” said Marcia Mahoney, current President of the host Hutchinson Altrusa club.  Special guest attending this year’s conference was Immediate Past Altrusa International President, Dona M Garretson, Loveland CO. The Conference opened with some fun before it gets down to learning workshops and deciding its annual business. “Friday nights are always designated to be our meet and greet fun nights,” said current Governor Sue Hart, Greater Kansas City Altrusa club. This year’s Fun Night was held at STRATACA, Kansas Underground Salt Museum for an interactive dinner theater Murder Mystery theme. “I was told to be prepared to have my giggle reflex tested,” Sue said.  Altrusansl had an opportunity earlier in the afternoon to explore the salt caverns and see how salt is mined in the only museum of its kind in the western hemisphere. One of Friday’s events opened with a local personality and business owner as the Keynote Speaker. Martha Slater Farrell, has worked as a volunteer on many Hutchinson community causes, most notably the restoration of Hutchinson’s Historic Fox Theatre, often described as a “sparkling local jewel.” She has owned her own full service video production company. She has helped inventors launch new products and assisted non-profits in fundraising. A passionate advocate for local tourism, Martha has traveled the world to help promote the western heritage of Kansas to people as far away as China and Europe. Each year the club hosting conference selects a special service project for a local agency. This year, First Call for Help was selected. First Call acts as a catalyst in the delivery and use of community and county services for those in need. More than $1500 was given in cash contributions along with a carload of inkind pantry items. Founded in 1917, Altrusa, as a world-wide organization, is an association whose purpose is to promote better communities through service by an international network of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Last year, Altrusans proudly gave over a million volunteer hours around the world, including clubs in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, England, Bermuda, Ireland, India, Scotland, New Zealand and Russia. Several decades ago, Altrusa decided to institute literacy as an area of focus for the organization; since then, service areas have expanded to include HIV/AIDS and disaster relief. During our last biennium, Altrusans assisted in relief efforts for the Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes, as well as the Tsunami in Japan. Most importantly, Altrusans give their time and resources in areas that are deemed most important in their local communities. For more information, visit www.altrusa.org

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