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The Bonds of Sisterhood

I don't know if I can say that I was never a joiner... really I felt like I was always on the outskirts of the groups I was in... Cheerleading, Drama Club, Youth Group... but I was always looking for some broader connection. I think a lot of this came from my family. When I was very little we lived with my grandparents but as I got older, my dad found work away from the Northeast and we were our own unit. My aunts and uncles didn't visit and my mom's family was just significantly older. My best friends were my closest family, my parents and brother. But I always wanted sisters and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me.

I just returned from the 74th biennial Gamma Phi Beta convention. There were 850 women present who were MY sisters. I didn't meet all of them but if I ended up by the pool, in an elevator, or on a bus to Harry Potter world with one (or 10) of them, we always had something in common to talk about. Not only am I a part of something bigger than my small unit, I am a leader in that bigger picture. I take pride in the women who I call MY girls. They have adopted me as a big sister, mom, mentor, and annoying adult who interferes sometimes. And I am so thankful for those women. (GO BETA RHO!) :)

I find myself still searching because I am looking for that bigger picture with my faith as well but the connection I find within Gamma Phi Beta is a special one. No matter where I go in the world, there is a good chance that one of my 170,000 sisters is probably there and took a picture with any crescent moon present!

I joined Gamma Phi Beta at Jacksonville University to connect to something bigger than myself, bigger than the theatre department. It wasn't always easy (being a collegian never is) but it has paid off in spades. Recently, I met my fourth little legacy/faux niece and we are waiting on number five any day! I have a group of women I graduated with whom I call my dearest sisters and who will serve as my children's aunties, as I never had any blood sisters. I have cried on their shoulders, attended their weddings, held their babies, and inducted their husbands into our boy club. I met women from all over the US and Canada that shared my love of pink, crescents, and carnations last weekend, many of whom I will stay in touch with for the next two years until I see them again at our 2012 convention in DENVER. Which, by the way, will be our 75th.

I honestly don't know what Frances E. Haven, Mary A. Bingham, E. Adeline Curtis, or Helen M. Dodge were thinking when, in 1874 they decided not to be Alpha Phi's and create Gamma Phi Beta. We can guess and wonder and I am sure they could never have envisioned what GPhi looks like today but I am SO thankful for our founders.

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