The Botha Women’s Institute an important part of area’s growth at turn of century

Botha Women’s Institute began in 1915

Botha Women’s Institute. Contributed photo

By Craig Baird For the Advance

Community groups have always been an important part of any community during its early years of growth. These groups help people come together for the greater good, building the community they loved.

In Botha, the Botha Women’s Institute began in 1915 with a membership of about 35 people. Lou Bassler served as the very first president and over the next few years membership continued to grow. By 1920, the membership had reached 65 women.

During those early years, the women met in a hall above the Botha Hardware Store. Membership to join the organization cost 25 cents and it stayed this way for many years. When the Botha Hall was built, and with a ladies restroom supplied in the basement, meetings were moved to the hall for a period of time. Eventually, the Botha Women’s Institute started meeting at the United Church.

Things were going well enough for the organization that in 1919, an AWI Girls Club was organized under the umbrella of the institute.

In the 1920s, the Women’s Institute created a travelling library to serve the people of the community. The women also collected clothing to provide for the less fortunate in the southern part of the province. The organization also gave scholarships to students in Grades 9, 10 and 11 for several years. In addition to all those causes, they also raised money for cancer campaigns, provided treats to people on Christmas, helped with the scouts and cubs and in 1924, even released a cookbook.

READ MORE: Botha Telephone: Limiting conversations to five minutes. Early Botha and its telephones

The women organized their first Grandmother’s Day on May 6, 1926, and that became a yearly tradition in the community. They also took over care of the Botha Woodland Cemetery for many years.

On the 50th anniversary of the organization in 1965 a book of memories was compiled and 10 years later, a Grandmother’s Day tea was held with 100 guests attending. A 70th anniversary was celebrated in 1985.

Even into the 1980s, the organization was donating gifts to the Michener Centre in Red Deer, the Camrose Women’s Shelter and the Ponoka Mental Hospital.

Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast form. Find his show on YouTube at

Information for this column comes from Botha Memories.

Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

County of Paintearth adopts employee discipline policy

The new policy outlines a standard procedure for administration to follow

AMBER ALERT: Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Camp Teckla develops skills for kids and youth

Stettler’s popular basketball camp ready to hit the court

Annual Castor competition draws shooters from around the province

The 32nd Castor Trap Club Trophy Shoot ran June 14th to 16th

County Council receives update on Designated Industrial Properties

Today, the 886 properties in the County barely account for $200 million

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Calgary man facing charges after B.C. police service dog aids in arrest

Heavy police presence results in PSD Jagger finding suspect

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Wildfires have forced more than 9,000 people from homes in northern Alberta

People in other communities remain on evacuation alert and could be told to leave quickly

Pride divided: Edmonton leadership under pressure as LGBTQ community looks to future

Most of the conflict can be traced back to 2016 Toronto Pride when Black Lives Matter staged a protest

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

Most Read