Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa celebrates a century of giving to the community

By cvlopez | clopez@alamosacitizen.com

ACROSS the San Luis Valley are groups of good people in every town square who quietly go about their business of serving their community, raising dollars for charitable deeds and community enhancements, and volunteering here and there to make sure someone cares.

One such organization – and one that’s maybe outlasted them all – is the Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa, a chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. On Friday, Sept. 30, the members gathered at the United Methodist Church in Alamosa to bring cheer and celebration to their 100th Anniversary and pledge themselves to their ongoing volunteer work. 

“One hundred years ago a group of women in Alamosa got together to form a club that would become the Woman’s Citizenship Club,” Club President Helen Taylor told the luncheon gathering. “Club women in the Alamosa area over the past century have volunteered to make this community a better place.

“I am proud to be a club member and proud of all the accomplishments of the club,” she said. “I am also proud of all my fellow club members who give up their time, their talent, and their financial resources working tirelessly for the betterment of the Alamosa community.”

Lori Hawley, state president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, traveled in from southeastern Colorado to join the celebration and present the club members with a certificate of recognition. She told them, “Today is your special day.”

Bessie Konishi, a past president of the club, served as master of the luncheon ceremonies. “You should be proud of yourselves as not many clubs have reached this milestone,” she told her fellow Woman’s Citizenship Club members.

When foster care children have essential needs, the Woman’s Citizenship Club steps in; when it’s time to say thanks to essential workers during the COVID pandemic, the Woman’s Citizenship Club is there; when Tu Casa, Inc., the Valley’s guardian around domestic violence needs help and support, the members of the Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa step in.

Their good nature and spirit has allowed them to raise thousands of dollars in scholarship money for students at Adams State and Trinidad State. Helen Lester, another of the esteemed members, told the history of the club dating back to September 1922 when it became a successor to the Woman’s National Foundation which had been formed in Alamosa.

With the dissolution of the Woman’s National Foundation came the formation of the Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa and its initial membership included Mrs. Billy Adams, whose husband, Billy Adams, founded Adams State in 1921, and Harriett Dalzell, who in 1926 became the first graduate of Adams State and is its first librarian.


Scrapbook memory of the time the Woman’s Citizenship Club raised $5,000 by selling a heifer to help feed the hungry.

AT the beginning, the Woman’s Citizenship Club stated that its “purpose was to raise the standard of woman’s citizenship” and to accomplish this the members delved into national, state and local county subjects which formed the basis for their regular programming.

Early members voted in the Columbine as the club’s official flower and lavender and white as its official colors, and they established a system of fines for club meetings: “Five cents for tardiness; 10 cents for unexcused absence; and 25 cents for failure to prepare her paper.”

They would gather and debate the topics of the day like “Should the U.S. participate in a world court?” During the WWII years they appointed members to serve on a community defense committee and agreed to “only serve very simple refreshments and to do away with table decorations involving expense,” read the minutes of a 1940s meeting.

Lori Laske, the Alamosa County Commissioner and Woman’s Citizenship Club member, brought out the archival material that now resides at the Alamosa Public Library after years of hanging out in the Bessie Konishi’s garage.

Lester recalled the time she and her husband donated a heifer to help raise money to end world hunger, and in other years the members went out of their way to raise money for community needs like a senior citizen’s home in Alamosa.

One of the current projects the Woman’s Citizenship Club of Alamosa is behind and raising for is the public art piece by famed wildlife artist and Alamosa native Jocelyn Russell called the “Cranes in Flight” which is scheduled to be installed along Sixth Street in Alamosa at the Colorado Welcome Center and Visit Alamosa headquarters.

On Oct. 9 the Woman’s Citizenship Club is hosting its annual “Fall Flavors and Fancies” luncheon which supports scholarships for the Adams State and Trinidad State students. (More about this event HERE.)

Their list of work and community service goes on and on.

“Our membership gives selflessly to support our community and when we see a need we try to meet it,” Taylor told her fellow members. “Today we are celebrating our first 100 years, and here is to the second 100 years of the womans’ citizenship club to be serving the Alamosa community by living the volunteer spirit.”

Without missing a beat, Bessie Konishi said, “I’m glad we’re speaking about the next 100 already.”

Amen to that.


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