Several members of the local Soroptimist Club attended the XVIII Annual Soroptimist International Convention in the City of Culture, Glasgow, Scotland from July 29 to August 2, 2007.

Among other well-known speakers and dignitaries, HRH The Princess Royal honored the organization by joining them during the Convention.  It was a great privilege for the 1,500 worldwide delegates of Soroptimist International who traveled far and wide to attend the event.

Back home safe and sound, local club President Gail Rocco-Mack, and three other members of SISCV shared their stories with fellow members at a recent club meeting.

Although the International organization meets annually, this year’s meeting had additional significance as the organization announced its upcoming Quadrennial Project 2007-2011.  Every four years the group chooses a program directed at a specific need somewhere in the world where their time and financial resources will have significant impact.

The new program is called “Project Sierra – A Family And A Future” and is focused on the plight of the women and families in Sierra Leone.  This war torn West African country celebrated its first year of peace in over a decade in 2003 but the country still remains devastated by war and faces the overwhelming challenges of reconstruction.

Project Sierra is a four year partnership between Soroptimist International and Hope and Homes for Children, which aim to raise over $2 million to help transform the lives of some of the most deprived women and children in the world. 

Despite the seriousness of the meeting, Gail along with Cheri Fleming, Sharon Buncick and Chris Blazey managed to have some fun as well.  They were entertained by Scotland Youth Band, bagpipes and were constantly amused, and confused, by driving on the (wrong) left side of the road.  They were extremely tickled with the thick Scottish brogue and the different use of words.

Even the pesky Scottish weather managed to cooperate for their visit with only a few short cloudbursts during their five-day visit.

“I’ve been a member of Soroptimist for more than 12 years, but you have to attend one of these events to understand the power of this organization.  I was proud to be there, experience the event and represent Santa Clarita along with my fellow club members,” said Cheri Fleming.

Cheri admitted she had goose bumps during one of the ceremonies in which all of the 1,500 attendees dressed in white, carrying teddy bears, to be distributed to disadvantaged children worldwide, stood together circled by the flags of all 125 member countries.  “I have chills down my spine as I tell you about it” said Cheri.

SISCV’s Regional Treasurer Chris Blazey commented, “It’s hard not to be touched by such an experience.  I hope that more of our members get the opportunity to attend one of the International meetings.”

If you’re a professional, working, retired, or just starting your career and you’re interested in giving back to our local communities and the disadvantaged women of the world, Soroptimist may be for you.

For more information, contact Lisa Schuman at 661-312-8870 to learn more about joining Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley.