By Angie Stange
Carol Rouse, one of the original 12 founding members of the Bradford Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, stated that she was interested in Betas because she felt it would be fun to be in an organization with women of her own age. She liked the idea that the socials included husbands.
They would enjoy hayrack rides and cook outs and would attend the annual Bradford Fireman’s Ball at the Hub as a Beta group. She also liked the idea of service to the community and worked toward that goal. Carol was a member for approximately 15 years and chairman of the annual Bradford Beta Christmas Bazaar for nine years.
According to Beta International, as younger women joined Betas, the older members were to organize a different Chapter of Betas within the same Beta community allowing for women with the same age interests to enjoy each other’s company. This procedure did not work well in Bradford with its smaller population, therefore Carol became inactive in the organization as did other original members. Bradford Betas has since been able to change this policy and has members in its chapter of varying ages.
Marjie Loudenburg is an active member of Betas and has been a member for 20 plus years. Marjie decided to join Betas as a newcomer to Bradford in hopes of meeting people of the community. She has stayed in Betas over the years serving as scrapbook keeper and has been on the committee for the Little Miss Bradford Pageant since 2001 when Betas took over sponsorship of the event. Marjie says she stays in Betas as she enjoys the time with friends. She also appreciates how much help that Betas give to the community.
Deb Ryan, long time member of Betas, went to her first Beta meeting in 1991 when she returned to Bradford after being gone for five years. She was divorced with two little girls and looking for friends. Deb was thrilled to be asked to join Betas and has been an active member ever since. She has remained in Betas for all the friendships she has made over the years and because of everything that the Betas do for the community.
Deb runs a Day Care and is home all day with little ones. She says she really enjoys the adult conversation!! Deb is known for being the girl who finds new members at the Park since she claims that’s her second home in the summer. Deb states,”Since joining Betas, I have seen many accomplishments.” There have been subtle changes, too.
Deb states that desserts used to be pretty fancy but as everyone seems to be getting busier and most of the women working outside the home, a pan of brownies or something bought is fine too. Deb added, “We all work well together and sometimes, things just ‘get done’ because we all trust each other and know that someone will take care of it! I have always been happy to say I’m in Betas!!”
Sheila McMahill, one of the original members of Betas states, “I am very proud to be a member of Beta Sigma Phi. It has been a huge part of my life since it came to Bradford in 1974. I made a life long friend when Karen Downs asked me to help her start a chapter of Betas here. I have continued to make new friends every year since then, when women that I otherwise would not have come in contact with have joined our sorority.”
There have been 150 members of the Sigma Alpha chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Bradford during the last 44 years. Sheila feels that she never would have met most of them had she not been a member of this great sorority.
Many of her dearest friends have also been sorority sisters.
Sheila feels that Beta Sigma Phi is an invaluable asset to the community. Beta members have worked countless hours on projects and donated thousands of dollars to the various organizations in town when they need help. Betas love their community and will continue to lend their support, as long as Betas exists in Bradford.