Beta Sigma Phi members reminisce about the year

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By The Staff

A lot has transpired for the Los Alamos Beta Sigma Phi members. They hosted the state sorority’s convention in June and honors Charlotte McQuillan, a member who died this year. While members reminisce, they are also looking ahead to the annual tea on Sunday.

Beta Sigma Phi, according to its website, is an international women’s friendship network. It provides education and community services.

This time last year, Beta Sigma Phi members were fundraising to prepare for what seemed like the kickoff to a new year.  

Typically chapters call it quits for the summer to recharge the batteries and spend time with family, but a big project was on tap for Beta Sigma Phi. As the final school bell rang, the race was on as local Betas took to the community to host the state Beta Sigma Phi convention.

When several sisters traveled to their state convention two years ago, the seed was planted to make it happen in Los Alamos this year. Convention Chair Dawn Brown and her buddies created a skit, which is a necessary requirement for the convention bid and once the bid was accepted the ball was rolling.

A 1940’s theme was the winning selection with test tube invitations and Rosie the Riveter’s presence was spied throughout the weekend through costumes and a performance.

The local chapters of Alpha Zeta, Eta Zeta, Laureate Rho, Preceptor Beta and Xi Nu played major roles from registration and event planning to creating decorations and ordering costumes for the big event.

The event allowed locals to welcome more than 200 of their newest and closest friends to town. The convention’s theme and activities tied into the 60th anniversary of the county while also highlighting participating businesses.

The sorority sisters attended lectures, lunches and other programs. Additionally, local Beta Sigma Phi Melba Lee and her posse of Legacy members (daughters of Beta Sigma Phis), treated shoppers to cookies and drinks along the way.

During the morning, while the women took part in a variety of scheduled activities, their husbands were treated to a tour of Los Alamos from Georgia Strickfadden’s Buffalo Tours, lectures in Los Alamos’ oldest church, United Church, locally made salsa and  read books about the area.

The Best Western Hilltop House hosted a dinner.  “I have to really commend the Best Western Hilltop House,” sorority member Dee Sherlock said. “I cannot praise them enough to have let us take over the hotel.  Their cooperation was tops. It was a team effort, I know, for the staff, but I do want to commend Angelee Novak for her tremendous coordination of our event at the Hilltop House.”

Lora and Manny Krynitz of Tau Master in Las Cruces said they enjoyed, “The tour and history of Los Alamos and the kindness from those of us from out of town.”

Virginia DeVargas of Preceptor Alpha Omicron of Farmington, said what she enjoyed most was that “the city is clean.”

The active agenda of activities wouldn’t have been possible without Brown and her husband Art as well as Charlotte McQuillan, Mary Mah, Dee Sherlock, Karen Greenfield, Bethany Redmond, Shannon Harms, Kate Stoddard, Melba Lee, Claire Swinhoe and others.

Brown commended the volunteers and businesses that contributed to the convention.

“The support of so many businesses and individuals helped to make this a first rate convention,” she said. “We were told time and time again, the Los Alamos convention would be hard to top. Also, the attendees were deeply impressed with the community, it’s support of BSP and the ownership the community took, ensuring everyone had a great time while here.”

“Our community really stepped up to the plate to support our efforts,” Mah said. “I am very thankful to all the businesses who chipped in with donations and advertisements. The Chamber of Commerce was a huge source of support. The ‘welcome mats,’ were a great addition to our efforts to make our guests feel special.”

The staff of the Best Western, Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, CB Fox, Coffee Booth, Otowi Station, Los Alamos National Bank, the Fabulous 50’s Diner and the American Legion, Smith’s Food and Drug, Daniel’s Café, Ruby K’s, Pepsi and Pepperidge Farms are just some of the organizations that helped to sponsor the festivities.

While the fun of the statewide convention is still being felt, the ladies suffered a great loss of McQuillan.

“Charlotte had a zest for life. Everything she did, she did with enthusiasm and an energy that bellied her age. She was a wonderful, incredible lady who provided inspiration to countless people and whom I will miss dearly,” member Claire Swinhoe said.

To learn more about Beta Sigma Phi, check out their national website at www.betasigmaphi.org. Local chapters encourage participation of new members by visiting one of the many chapters in town.

The members offer rides to and from meetings to put potential members at ease. If you have questions about the organization or would like to learn about local chapters call 672-4089.