Celebrating 100 years with the Emmons Civic Improvement Club

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

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The Emmons Civic Improvement Club is having a centennial celebration this weekend.

Pauline Olson, chairwoman of the anniversary committee, said the club was technically celebrating 103 years after the COVID pandemic prevented them from celebrating previously.

Olson described Emmons Civic Improvement Club as a group of women who got together as far back as the 1920s because of women’s suffrage and the right to vote.

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According to Olson, the club started as an educational tool, and wanted residents in Emmons to know what was happening in the community and to be intelligent voters.

According to their mission statement, “Its object shall be to stimulate intellectual development, to work for the good of the Village of Emmons and to strengthen by organization individual and civic measures.”

Olson said the club worked to improve the Emmons schools as well as the town, and funds went to stage curtains to furniture for the fire department to remodeled bathrooms at Gateway Park. They also are responsible for planting and maintaining flowers  on Main Street.

Deb Yost, president of the Civic Improvement Club, explained the club’s original mission was to learn about the Constitution and teach others how to vote properly. They also had book reports.

But without the school, the club does more with the beautification of Emmons. They’ll invite speakers, including the Freeborn County sheriff, to educate members on current scams.

“This year is going to be more on safety around us as far as our surroundings,” Yost said. “[Sheriff Ryan Shea] is coming down to speak.”

They’re also bringing down the Humane Society of Freeborn County to talk about ways the club could help.

“We’re still doing education but it’s not quite as Constitutionally-based as it was initially,” she said.

Politicians have also spoken.

Currently, the club has 20 members with a variety of ages, all from Emmons or just outside of city limits, with the organization working for Emmons. Previously, there was a cap of 30 members.

“The number limitation was because they used to meet in the homes consistently,” Yost said. “Obviously not all homes can handle that many people, so they kept it at a limited number.

“So then it’s been 25.”

The celebration will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at Emmons Lutheran Church.

“One hundred years is a big deal any time a community group can stay together that long and evolve from learning how to vote as women to now,” Yost said, with Olson noting the event will serve to celebrate women being active and involved.

Music will be a big focus on the event, and Nate and Mindy Sletten will perform music from the 1920s through the current date.

“It’s going to be a sing-along,” Olson said. “Bring back memories, it’s a party.”

They’ll discuss the history of the club, and honor the club’s oldest member, among other events.

To date, Emmons Civic Improvement Club has given up to $22,000 for a variety of causes.

“When it’s a small community you work together,” she said.