The Zonta Club of the Cañon City Area was Chartered with 20 members in February, 1973. We later changed our name to the Zonta Club of the Royal Gorge Region to clarify our representation of all the surrounding towns in our area. We currently have one of the Charter Members still residing in Cañon City.
In the early days, we held our meetings in the homes of members with pot luck dinners, but as the Club grew, we later changed the meeting to the famed “Belvedere Restaurant and Road House”. This landmark Road House has closed, but we continue to host meetings at local restaurants. We have hosted many Area Meetings and even have one District Conference under our belt.
Early fundraiser projects included Fashion Shows with a luncheon highlighting local businesses, including children’s fashions. Our members became fashion models overnight. We have also had themed dances, sold tickets, made decorations and danced the night away. Unfortunately, we have also sold a fair number of nuts – mostly to ourselves as we do not seem to be great at selling.
Our most rewarding fundraiser/service project was our Artful Women show, partnering with CASA one year to increase community awareness. This project has gained us recognition in the community and increased our membership as well as helping us fund our International, District and Local donations, most notably with a non-traditional scholarship awarded to a woman student, to be used at her discretion. In the last few years we have awarded a Young Woman in Public Affairs Award, which is a Zonta International program. We also provide information to the educational entities regarding Zonta’s District and International Scholarships available.
In the fall of 2015, we plan to tackle a new fundraising event with A Girls’ Night Out, showcasing women-owned and women-centered businesses and endeavors.
Our Club is active in the Orchard of Hope fundraising that benefits local cancer patients. We fundraise and participate in the one-day event hosted by the Orchard of Hope Committee. All proceeds gathered for this event are donated to the Orchard of Hope Charity.
Our Zonta Club has participated in “Take Back the Night” for several years. We donate funds and take part in the event by walking with survivors of domestic/physical/mental abuse, including the sharing of success stories.
In past years, our Zonta Club has sewn Zonta Bears for the patients at our local hospital as “comfort toys”. More recently, we provide clothing to the SANE Program for rape victims whose clothing is taken away for evidence. During the Christmas season, we donate personal items for women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse through our local rape crisis center.
In February, 2015, we sponsored the local One-Billion Rising Event, held internationally on February 14 to bring awareness to violence against women and children, with plans to continue this annual event.
As with all Clubs, we have had our share of the ebb and flow of membership. Even in the skinny years, this Zonta Club has remained strong. Years past, we have tried many tactics to attract new members. We have hosted teas and tried the Buddy System. We are most successful by hosting an evening social event where we communicate one on one with invited guests in a social setting, and then invite them to attend our meetings.
Our members are strong, dynamic, professional women who provide support to women in our community and the world in meaningful and beneficial ways through Zonta Club of the Royal Gorge Region.