I am preparing a lesson for the "Daughters of the Utah Pioneers" meeting that is on Monday. Every year, at the end of our DUP year, we sign up for lessons for the next year. I signed up to teach in March, and the lesson this month is on "Blacksmithing". We can also sign up to present a personal ancestral history, a museum artifact or to host the meeting at our house. I have given personal ancestral history, and presented an artifact before. I don't have much, but my mother gave me a few small things that belonged to my great grandfather. So I shared those at the meeting.
My main reason for writing this post is to encourage my family members and friends to join the DUP. The majority of members are older women, but I love them because they are so funny. And they really are intelligent too. Some of these women really pay attention to the small details of the lesson. Most of them have a better understanding of history and geography than I do. I think it is really important to remember our ancestors, and to learn about the pioneers. My grandmother also felt it was important, and devoted much of her life to the DUP. My mother is also a member. To be a member, you have to fill out a form that shows your lineage; that you are descended from the pioneers, and also share a story about one of them. You pay yearly dues of $15. If you aren't descended from the pioneers, you can still be a member at large.
This is how the meetings usually go. First the Camp Captain presides and directs the meeting. She has the secretary read the minutes of the last meeting and asks the members to make suggestions for any corrections to the minutes. Then the...can't remember what she is called, one member gives a patriotic thought, and leads us all in the pledge of allegiance. The Camp Chaplain gives a spiritual thought and then opens the meeting with prayer. The tradition out here is that the chaplain gives all of the prayers. Then we have a practice song and learn one of the pioneer songs. Then someone gives a history of one of their ancestors. I think I have some of these out of order, but you get the idea. One member gives a lesson from a booklet that is sent out each month. Every camp gives the same lesson. Then someone does the "museum moment". Our camp uses a DUP book about museums and shares information about one of the items featured in the book, or brings an item of their own. Then the captain calls the meeting to a close, and we have refreshments.
In our camp, we have begun to get more and more younger members. I worry that if we don't get younger members, the DUP won't survive. I have learned a lot about our pioneer ancestors through attending. Even though not every lesson is interesting (the "Counties of Nevada" lessons we had one year were really boring), the histories are. Last year had some great lessons on subjects like "toys", "theatre", "doctors", etc.
Anyway, I just want to encourage my family to look up a DUP meeting near them. I think there are camps in most places, especially in Utah. The meetings are only once a month from Sept.-May. I think it's a great heritage to preserve.