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Royal Purple needs members to meet needs of community

The Order of the Royal Purple was established in Fort Macleod in 1951. Founding members, back row, from left: Eunice Owen, Kay Carr, Florence Day, Alice Pinder, Norma Coutts, Dora MacDonald, Casey Hamilton, Dorothy Burke and Marie Allison. Front row, from left: Lillian Tilbe, Jean Swihart, Gertrude Neddow, Honoured Royal Lady Leona Edgar, Ethel Feeney, Maxine Lauder and Nellie Pinder.

The Order of the Royal Purple was established in Fort Macleod in 1951. Founding members, back row, from left: Eunice Owen, Kay Carr, Florence Day, Alice Pinder, Norma Coutts, Dora MacDonald, Casey Hamilton, Dorothy Burke and Marie Allison. Front row, from left: Lillian Tilbe, Jean Swihart, Gertrude Neddow, Honoured Royal Lady Leona Edgar, Ethel Feeney, Maxine Lauder and Nellie Pinder.

sharen mclean

Sharen McLean is the Alberta Provincial Conductress for the Order of the Royal Purple.

There was never any question that Sharen McLean would become a member of the Order of the Royal Purple.
Now the Alberta Provincial Conductress, McLean followed the lead of her mother, who was a charter member of the Stavely Royal Purple, and her father, who was an Elk.
The McLean family tradition included her 11 brothers and sisters, each of whom belonged to the Royal Purple or Elks.
“I grew up with volunteering,” said McLean, who has served the Royal Purple for 48 years.
McLean, who is from Stavely, was in Fort Macleod on Thursday to meet with the Fort Macleod Royal Purple.
Part of her mission was to update the local members on changes being made to the national organization in an effort to attract new members.
McLean also offered encouragement to the Fort Macleod Royal Purple, which is down to just eight members including founding member Nellie Pinder, and is considering folding if membership doesn’t increase.
McLean stressed in an interview prior to the meeting at the community hall that it would be a huge loss for Fort Macleod if the Royal Purple folded.
“We support the children,” McLean said.
For 63 years the Fort Macleod Royal Purple has done that through financial contributions to the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children and the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR).
The Royal Purple also funds scholarships, and makes cash donations to Fort Macleod organizations including the fire department, handibus society, Santa Claus Parade and Salvation Army.
McLean speaks highly of the personal and professional development she has realized as a member of the Royal Purple, not the least of which is public speaking and organizational skills.
Fellowship is also an important part of the Royal Purple.
“I have very close friends all over Canada, and I know if I ever get in trouble all I have to do is pick up the phone and they would be there at the drop of the hat,” McLean said. “It’s a very close-knit organization, and welcoming, and fun.”
To attract more people in a modern age, the organization as of Dec. 31 will be the Canadian Royal Purple Society. The group will no longer be an auxiliary of the Elks.
Both the Elks and Royal Purple now accept male and female members in a nod to a modern society
“We’re finding that the younger generation wants to belong as husband and wife,” McLean said.
The Royal Purple has also relaxed its dress code so members do not have to wear purple and white unless they choose to wear the regalia.
“We’re trying,” McLean said. “We’re trying different ways to get people involved.”
McLean said in order to increase membership it is important for the Royal Purple to remind the community of the role that it plays in the community, and to educate people about the importance of volunteering.
“Once they find out they’re more attentive and willing,” McLean said. “They come with enthusiasm because they want to help. They want to start giving.”
McLean encourages Fort Macleod residents to continue the good work of the Royal Purple and Elks by becoming members.
“Both the Elks and Royal Purple are very good organizations,” McLean said. “They’re there for a reason, and the reason is the children and the community.”
Nationally, the Royal Purple marks its 100th anniversary in 2014.
Anyone interested in joining the Fort Macleod Royal Purple should call Janet Tilbe at 403-533-3761.

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