By Mrs. Margaret C. Matson
It was under the direction of Mrs. Earl Saunders that the Riverview Women's Institute was formed on August 4, 1948 with its main objective as "Service to the Community."
Women's Institutes are under the umbrella of the Provincial Department of Agriculture with a superintendent, Dr. Alma E. Weldon and District Home Economist Miss Rita Underhill stationed in Fredericton. The Institutes are divided into districts, our group being assigned to the Shepody District. In this way we are all tied into the Provincial organization, with delegates being sent to the annual meetings of both levels.
Women's Institutes were first formed in Canada at the turn of the century and since then have been formed all over the world. They may vary in name and constitution but are united by common ideals and a common membership in The Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW for short). Its aim is to help its members play an effective part in rural life and development.
Our meetings were held in the members' home, where the president would open the meetings with the "Thought for the month," followed by the singing of O Canada, reciting the Club Women's Creed, Salutation of the Flag and roll call. Convenors - namely; Agriculture, 4-H Club, United Nations, Home Economics, Citizenship, Social Welfare, Education and Cultural Activities, were appointed for the year each to be responsible for reports each month as well as for a program during the year.
Our Shamrock Tea became an annual event which, along with bake sales and bring and buy sales gave us the required monies to meet our commitments.
We sponsored a "Well Baby Clinic" for the area for many years when anywhere from 50 to 150 babies would be in attendance. Our 4-H Clothing Club, under the direction of Mrs. Walter McQuinn, was a great source of pride for us as we provided a meeting place for the girls and awarded a prize on Achievement Day.
The Education convenor would visit the school from time to time to inquire as to their needs, and a framed portrait of our Queen was presented to the school.
UNICEF was a fall project carried out in conjunction with the school children each year, and provided most successful.
The Ceylon Relief Fund and Unitarian Service Committee were greatly aided by our Riverview Women's Institute. Local residents were remembered from time to time with gifts and in 1958 a bursary was presented to a local university student, Miss May Anne Keith, to assist hr with a University Seminar in Yugoslavia.
A Regional Library for the area was a project which had been pursued by our Women's Institute although not realized during its lifetime.
The highlight of 1953 was the triennial meeting of the ACWW held in Toronto at which two of our members, Mrs. Earl Saunders and Mrs. Albert Matson were in attendance, and following which our Institute was privileged to host some of the overseas guests on a post conference tour of Canada.
By the year 1960 Riverview had grown from a rural community to an urban center. A community association had been formed, comprised of both women and men and the local churches had organized women's groups. Fraternity organizations were formed and for these reasons, along with the fact that Riverview had a large transient society, it became increasingly difficult to attract sufficient new members to carry on an effective Women's Institute, thus the 12 remaining members regretfully held their final meeting on April 20, 1960.