Annual luncheon hosts more than 70 women from Big Sky and beyond
By Leslie Kilgore EBS CONTRIBUTOR
The Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club gathered on Aug. 23 at the 320 Guest Ranch for their annual luncheon to celebrate one of the oldest organizations in the Big Sky area. Created in 1927 as a means for women who were isolated on ranches and homesteads in Gallatin Canyon to meet, bond and socialize, meetings were initially held at members’ homes.
Their mission still stands today, almost a century later—to meet as a social, educational and philanthropic club that offers fellowship, scholarship and community outreach programs to the Gallatin Canyon community.
In the past, meetings involved discussion groups, books, crafting, quilting and cooking together. Today, many of the original activities still take place for their bi-monthly meetings held May through October at the BASE community center.
“This year we’ve had field trips, guest speakers, our first-ever evening event in which spouses were invited, a luncheon as our first May gathering, our lunch and auction every August, an annual business meeting and potluck in September, and a final tea in October,” Jane McCarthy, president of the Gallatin Canyon Women’s Club, said.
McCarthy said that members in the past valued the comradeship and knowledge they gained together and the opportunity to work side-by-side for the good of the community. That sentiment continues today.
“Along with the Big Sky Chapel, GCWC is involved in a monthly potluck, prior to the Music in the Mountains concert, to meet, greet and welcome people new to the community,” said McCarthy. “Our meetings and events typically include 70 to 80 members. It’s fun to reconnect with friends not seen for a while and to meet new residents in Big Sky.”
Each year, GCWC gives approximately $10,000 to the Big Sky community and organizations they believe in, which has included the Community Library, Camp Big Sky, Crail Ranch Homestead Museum, the Big Sky Community Organization and the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. They accept applications for scholarships annually in June and the recipients are announced at their business meeting in September.
McCarthy also said that the organization is very proud of their annual $6,000 scholarship awarded to a Lone Peak High School graduating senior, one of the highest sums for any scholarship given at the school.
“The recipient is typically a female with very strong academic and extracurricular activities, including sports, leadership, community involvement, family responsibilities, work and more,” said McCarthy.
While the organization is still going strong in its 96th year, many of the attendees at the recent luncheon stated they’d like to see more young women in the community join, to keep the traditions and community-focused philanthropy going for another century.
“It’s a wonderful way for women in the area to connect and gather,” said Tana Sholly, who has been a GCWC member for decades and attended the luncheon with her daughter. Sholly was also one of the first female rangers in Yellowstone National Park.
As the summer comes to a close and GCWC ends their season, many members stated they do still want to see new faces even for their last gatherings of the year and invite women to their upcoming annual business meeting and potluck. Those interested can visit gcwomensclub.com/membership.