Human Interest

Sedona Women 5-11.jpg

Sedona Women “Dames Who Make a Difference” spent all year helping others, then, for one day, they helped themselves.


“It’s not just a bunch of women getting
together to gossip.”
Joan Bankert,
Sedona Women member

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Sedona Women “Dames Who Make a Difference” spent all year helping others, then, for one day, they helped themselves.

“Today is about starting with ourselves,” Heather Alberts, founder and couch of Better Than Ever at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, said. “Think of yourself and what you need.”

More than 70 women filled the Sedona Creative Life Center room Wednesday, May 9, to talk about their happiness.

At 9:30 a.m. soft music played second fiddle to the sound of local women chattering.

Each woman greeted the other with a hug and smile. Newcomers were welcomed with questions about their lives and roles they play in the community.

Wrapping up a full year of philanthropy, the Sedona Women were ready to take a step back and look at themselves.

The day’s theme, Live Your Best Life, allowed women to look into the past, find the things that brought them joy, and talk about ways to bring that same light back into their lives.

After quieting the chaotic room with a bell, Alberts began.

She encouraged women to find their passion in life — the very things that give them joy and a sense of happiness.

As women age, Alberts said, people assume they are all exactly alike. This isn’t the case.

“As we age, everyone assumes people who are seniors, people who are elderly, people who are old, are all the same,” Alberts said.

Children aren’t thought of as a single, all-encompassing group, and older people shouldn’t be either, Alberts said.

The joy of aging, according to Alberts, is to find what nourishes the mind, heart and spirit.

A woman’s task as she ages is to make peace with herself, let go of what didn’t and won’t happen, and find her own truth, according to Alberts.

Sedona Women spend their time helping local organizations such as the Sedona Community Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Arizona, Verde Valley Sanctuary, Water Wise and Sedona Recycles among others.

But Wednesday was a time for each woman to think of herself.

Helen Wolfe, founder of Sedona Women, asked each woman to bring a picture from her past to share with the group.

Alberts told the women to break into groups and talk about the moment in their life when the

picture was taken.

Later, Alberts asked, how can each woman recapture that moment in her life.

Some showed pictures of themselves with their husbands, some alone in an triumphant moment and some with family.

Family and friends are what make it possible to live full lives, according to local sisters Joan Bankert and Jeannene Vanden Brulle.

Bankert and Brulle joined Sedona Women in the fall after moving to Sedona from California.

“It’s not just a bunch of women getting together to gossip,” Bankert said.

Being part of Sedona Women has gotten Bankert to involve herself in the community, Bankert said, and the group does meaningful things.

Brulle said the group offers support and insight into different challenges they each face in life.

The day addressed “the struggles that we face as we age,” Alberts said.

Wednesday marked the end of the year for Sedona Women before they take a break over the summer but members urged each other to stay active and in contact until the group resumes next fall.

One project Sedona Women hope to continue throughout the summer is efforts to encourage city-wide recycling.

Sedona Women’s recycling committee encourages restaurant owners to start using environmentally friendly take-out containers — such as boxes made of corn starch rather than Styrofoam — and asks people to bring their own storage containers for left-over food.

Until they meet again, each woman plans to continue her stewardship to make Sedona more beautiful one step at a time.


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