Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy Reflections on a Busy Year

Things have been quiet here on "Little Bytes of Life," but they have definitely not been quiet in our household.

Those of you who are members of DAR or C.A.R. know what I'm talking about. For those of you who aren't, let me explain. This time of year is a bit like DAR/C.A.R. "tax time." It's the time of year when we report on all the activities of our particular chapter or society.


I talk about the DAR a lot here, but what many of you probably don't know about me is that I also serve as a "senior" leader (the adults are called "seniors - it has nothing to do with my advancing age, thank you) for our local society of the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R).

What is the C.A.R.? Well, it's kind of like the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), or Sons of the Revolution (S.R.), except that it's for kids, from birth to age 22. That kind of trivializes it, though.

From the National Society's web site:

C.A.R., the nation's oldest, largest, patriotic youth organization, offers membership to anyone under the age of 21, lineally descended from someone who rendered material aid to the cause of American Independence as a soldier, sailor, civil officer, or recognized patriot in one of the several Colonies or States, or of the United States.
I enjoy it because it's something I can do with my daughter. We can even drag Daddy along occasionally for some family time. As a homeschool mom, I'm always looking for educational activities for my daughter, and C.A.R. membership offers multiple opportunities for those. Kids learn about history, government, conservation, and technology, among others, and can gain leadership experience at a variety of levels.

Plus - and I'll let you in on a little secret - when it comes time to join the DAR, SAR, or S.R., a C.A.R. member in good standing (current on his/her dues) does not have to pay the application fee. This can be a substantial savings, depending on the group to which he/she is applying.

I could go on an on, extolling the virtues of C.A.R. membership, but I won't do that now. I'll save it for another post instead.


For the past couple of weeks, I've been stuck behind a computer, furiously preparing a variety of reports to brag on report about for our little group. It's always an interesting process to look back and reflect on what was accomplished during the year. Kind of like what many folks do at the end of a calendar year... except with about a ream of paper and lots of printer ink.

Why do we go to so much work every year? Well, as a group so heavily involved in historical preservation, it's important to get everything "on the record" and recorded in our history books. Annual histories are compiled and preserved by the society historians at various levels so future generations can see what was done back in good 'ol 2009.

Plus, I'd be lying if I said there weren't awards involved.

So having reflected on the past year and completed all my reports, I'd like to share a few of the things our group did last year that I enjoyed most, or am most proud of:

Attending the Sons of the American Revolution's (SAR) 27th Annual "George Washington Massing of the Colors and Salute to our Armed Forces" at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. It was truly an amazing sight to see so many color guards together in one place.

Putting flags on the graves of veterans buried at the Santa Maria Cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day. This was our second year of participation. Yes, I know my kid is dragging a flag on the ground, but you can only tell an almost-3-year-old something so many times.

My little one presenting a wreath at a Memorial Day Ceremony. Mommy was very proud.

Attending the Chumash Intertribal Pow-Wow for the first time. It was a beautiful ceremony that you really have to see and hear for yourself. More photos of this event here.

Accepting a proclamation from the Mayor. The short person is my kid.

Participating in a Veterans Day parade.

Presenting a wreath during a Wreaths Across America ceremony.

But what I think I'm most excited about is our growth in membership. We gained 12 new members this past year, which nearly doubles our group in size. That may not sound like much, but with society (genealogical and lineage) membership declining all over, it's a lot! I'm so happy to have had a hand in growing our group, and I'm so proud of what they accomplished this past year.

We're looking forward to our C.A.R. State Conference, which is coming up later this month in Cambria. It's always inspiring to see the kids run their own meetings, complete with processionals, gavels, and parliamentary procedure. Each officer and state chairman gives a report, and the candidates for office must give their "campaign" speeches. An election is held, and even the littlest members get a vote (with help from Mom and Dad, of course). At the evening banquet, awards are given out, the newly-elected officers are introduced, and everyone dances the night away... at least, until curfew.

This year's conference includes a trip to Hearst Castle, a place that I haven't seen in at least 30 years. I seem to recall that it had a really big swimming pool.

To learn more about the C.A.R., visit the National Society, California State Society, or ask me.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

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Greta Koehl said...

What a fabulous job you have done, and it is especially great that your daughter is already active! I really have to get my DAR paperwork together....

Lori E said...

Sharing this with a younger generation is what keeps it going. Good for you. And for her.

Barbara Poole said...

Elizabeth, it was enjoyable reading about your DAR / CAR activities and sharing darling photos of your daughter. Very nice to have you blogging again.

Lori said...

That's wonderful! One of my most meaningful memories from being a Cub Scout leader was the placing of the flags on the the veterans tombstones on Memorial Day. There is something very special about seeing the children understanding the significance of the sacrifice made by those men and women.

Best wishes for another successful year!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I echo the congratulations of others, plus, enjoy seeing you making your own family history, with documentation!

Keep these "ancestor" stories coming!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing this on the CAR. I had no idea what the activities included for children and this has certainly given me a better idea. I was also pleasantly surprised to see my own state has three chapters - who knew!

And you're right - you can only tell an almost three-year-old so many times....

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for your kind comments, everyone.

Greta - definitely do get your DAR papers finished! If you need help, please feel free to ask me.

Lori - the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were there in force as well. They continue to do good work such as honoring veterans. Our kids enjoy this activity each year, and despite my kid dragging the flag on the ground (she was tired and wet), she loves flags and gets very excited whenever she sees one! :-)

I'm happy to help with any referrals to DAR/C.A.R., so please feel free to ask! I love the work these kids do, and am always glad to brag on them!