Many people wonder why at my age—83—I am still a member of Women’s Network. #1 I believe in women and their capabilities; #2 I am happy for those who manage or own their own businesses; #3 I enjoy hearing about all the opportunities that are available in our area; and #4 I like meeting women on the street that I know because I am a networker!
When I first joined in 1988, I was president of the Black Hills Girl Scout Council, which encompassed most of West River South Dakota. I represented that movement as a Network member. I held that position for 6 years. My oldest daughter, Kathy Paulsen, had helped to organize Women’s Network in its beginnings in the early 1980’s. I was an elementary school teacher in my career—4 years in Wall and 19 years at Piedmont School. So I could only attend in the summers until my retirement. When I joined, we were meeting in the Lincoln room at the Alex Johnson with about 25 members. My, how we have grown! I served in several capacities at the time: guest caller, hospitality chair, and even ran for treasurer once.
My family includes Kathy, who lives in San Rafael, California and works for a property management group as an accountant; Gene, living in Centennial, Colorado and is retired from Lockheed Martin as an electrical engineer; Nancy Nixon, lives in Round Rock, Texas, is semi-retired as a computer software engineer; and Doug who has a mechanical engineering degree and is an IT specialist for Powder River Energy Corp. in Sundance, Wyoming. I have 6 grandsons; 2 step-granddaughters; and 5 great-grandchildren. My husband, Jack, died in 2011 in a farming accident while putting up hay. We had been married 57 years.
In addition to being proud of my family, I am also very proud that we own a working cattle ranch north of Piedmont. We are right along Interstate 90 and you can see our ranch sign from there. My oldest grandson and his family live on the ranch, too, and are running their cattle here. Naturally, they watch over me very well. They often come over for Saturday morning breakfasts of pancakes, bacon and sausage! Nancy also has a home here, and comes often, since she has 3 boys and 5 grandchildren in this area! Gene comes about every 2-3 months to help with some of the necessary maintenance on the place, and Doug comes as I need him.
Girl Scouting has been part of my life since I was a Brownie. I was a girl member for 10 years, and I now have 55 years as an adult for a total of 65 years! It has been very rewarding to me, first as a girl, then a leader, council positions, and as a national volunteer for 2 years giving training in other councils. I have received many awards, the most recent being the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Medal, a national award given for work with international Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. I have friends all over the world!