1900’s: New Century, New Women

1901: Junior League founded by Mary Harriman at 19 years old

1906: The Martha Society (Ogden Charitable Committee) established

The Junior League of Ogden can trace its beginnings to the efforts of Mrs. Martha Brown Cannon, who in 1906 called together a group of Ogden’s prominent women interested in general charitable work. The ladies met at Mrs. Cannon’s home in October 1906, and organized the Ogden Charitable Committee, selecting Mrs. Cannon as President. The principal purpose of the group was to do charitable work among the poor and needy of Ogden. After Mrs. Cannon’s death in, the organization changed their name to The Martha Society in memory of its founder.

1913: June 14, 1913, opened a day nursery

On June 14, 1913, The Martha Society opened a day nursery where working mothers could leave their children.  By October 1914, the nursery needed more space and was moved to the home of the late Lorin Farr. The hours were also extended to offer night/evening care. In late 1917, the Society purchased a building located at North Street and Washington. Dormitories and other improvements were added, making the nursery one of the most up-to-date homes for children in Utah.

The nursery operated on a budget that received appropriations from the State, County, and Ogden City, proceeds from the annual Martha Ball, and annual dues and contributions from members and friends of the Society. Parents who were able to furnish part of the keep of their children were asked to pay a small fee. The average daily enrollment in 1925 was 45. Running expenses averaged about $10,000 per year.

Over the years, there were gradual changes in the organization of the Martha Society. The Martha Junior Society gradually assumed all responsibility for hospital cases. They also assisted in social activities.

A government nursery school was organized in 1934, and ran in connection with the Martha Nursery.  In 1936, increasing demands and enrolled necessitated a remodel. By that time, an average of 40 children were being cared for.

By 1938, changes in child welfare work led to the closing of the nursery. The children who had been cared for there were placed in foster homes under the new governmental Dependent Children Benefit Program.

The Martha Society continued to be actively involved in social and civic programs. The last written history of the Martha Society ended with this “…the Society will not stop here. From our background of experience and service, we plan to fit in with modern tendencies in an enlarged program of welfare work to be developed in the near future.”

1920’s: New Freedoms and Responsibilities

1920: Women gain the right to vote in the United States

1921: The Association of Junior Leagues of America is formed, giving the League a national voice

1930’s: The Depression, Voluntarism’s Finest Hour

1933: Junior League member Eleanor Roosevelt moves to the White House and becomes the longest-serving First Lady of the United States

1934: Welfare League of Ogden: Established March 27, 1934

On March 27, 1934 a group of 14 women met and formed the Welfare League of Ogden. They were enthusiastically led by Dolores Eccles, and had a goal of becoming a chartered member of the Association of Junior Leagues. The original 14 members of the Welfare League of Ogden were:

  • Mrs. Mary Arthur
  • Mrs. Lucille Hammond
  • Mrs. Daryl B. Badger
  • Mrs. Dorothy Rich
  • Mrs. Lillian Wilkins
  • Mrs. Ida H. Scowcroft
  • Mrs. Dolores Eccles
  • Mrs. Phyllis Wattis
  • Mrs. Ellen S. Eccles
  • Mrs. Harriett Wright
  • Mrs. Hope Eccles
  • Mrs. Ruth P. Eccles

1934: Established Well-Baby Clinic

The Welfare League’s first project was establishing the Well-Baby Clinic in 1934. The Welfare League financed the clinic for eight years with funds raised by hosting annual bridge teas and fashion shows.

1940’s: The Junior League Goes to War

1938-42: The Welfare League actively led projects such as:

  • Community Chest Dental Clinic
  •  Dee Hospital Tumor Clinic
  •  Public Health Nurse Program
  •  Immunization Clinic
  •  Sponsorship of children’s plays and puppet shows

1942-45: 1942, the League became temporarily inactive in order to support the national war effort. During the war, members assisted in efforts such as:

  • Sending “Bundles to Britain”
  • Serving as nurses aides and Gray Ladies for the Military Motor Corps & Canteen
  • Furnishing a recreation room for enlisted men at Hill Air Force Base

In the spring of 1945, the League resumed its active status and again assisted at the Well- Baby Clinic and at the newly organized YWCA.

1950’s: Home From the War

1953: Junior League of Ogden: In 1953 The Welfare League of Ogden was accepted into the Association of Junior Leagues and became the Junior League of Ogden.

In 1953, The Welfare League of Ogden was accepted into the Association of Junior Leagues and became the Junior League of Ogden. As a Junior League, the focus and mission shifted to increased support of health and social welfare programs. Some of the programs and services the League supported were:

  • PAC (Parents and Children Together)
  • Programs dealing with mental retardation
  • The Golden Hours Center
  • Utah School for the Deaf & Blind
  • The Shelter Workshop
  • Juvenile Court
  • Child Advocacy
  • The Independence Center for the Handicapped.

The League also became active in the environmental and aesthetic arts, along with a focus on lending volunteer assistance to enrichment programs that emphasized education.

1953: Established a volunteer bureau & organized Community Arts Council

1956: Donated money to Community Arts Council toward renovation of Bertha Eccles Art Center

1957: Helped organize senior citizens recreation center

1960’s: Retooling for New Realities

1960: Helped organize new Children’s Care Project

1963: Former Junior League of Pasadena member, Julia Child, remakes American cooking through a ground breaking TV Show and John F. Kennedy invites the Junior League to critical meetings, including one of influential women to discuss civil rights.

1969: Former child star and member of the Junior League of Palo Alto, Shirley Temple, is named a Delegate to the United nations.

1970’s: Defending and Reshaping Voluntarism

1972: League project: “Drugs are Like That” film for elementary age children

1975: Bicentennial project: Donated $15,000 for Union Station restoration

The Junior League of Ogden paid for the study to see if the Union Station could become a museum.

1976: Started new Court Docents Program

The Junior League of Ogden’s Court Docent program was developed to educate youths in the community about laws. League members would go into fifth and sixth grade classrooms in the Ogden area and provide presentations, through visual aids and role playing (mock trails), to familiarize the students of the judicial system and court process.

1978: Began the Greater Ogden Community Nature Center project and pro-tennis brought to Utah when JLO promotes Avon Futures of Utah

-In 1978, and again in 1980, The Junior League of Ogden hosted the Avon Futures tennis tournament in Ogden, Utah. They do not have Avon Futures anymore, but the circuit was just below the Virginia Slims Circuit, which is just under the Pro Circuit. The JLO received the money from the revenue of ticket sales. Also, Merrill Bean Chevrolet was a sponsor. He gave every pro tennis player a car to drive. They sold them afterwards and made a lot of money.

-The Ogden Nature Center is Utah’s first nature center. The 152-acre preserve allows the community to connect with the environment and learn about nature.

1979-80: New League projects: Family Support Center and Juvenile Court Alcohol School

-The Family Support Center, established in 1979 and still up and running, was a 24/7 nursery where overwhelmed parents could bring their kids in and drop them off for hours at a time with no questions asked to prevent abuse.

-The Junior League of Ogden became involved with the Juvenile Court Alcohol School in 1979 to help facilitate the program in Ogden. The school, would inform offenders referred by the Juvenile Court of the effects of drugs and alcohol in hopes to lower recidivism amongst the youth who attend the five-week school.

1980’s: Powerful Voice for Social Change

1981: New League project: Weber County Guardian Ad Litem Program. Also, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court is Junior League member Sandra Day O’ Connor and Junior League of LA member, Nancy Reagan, becomes First Lady.

In 1982, Marilyn Sandberg, with the help of the Junior League of Ogden, and the supervision of attorney Jane Marquardt, formed the Weber County Guardian Ad Litem program in Utah. In this placement league members would go through court training to become advocates for abused and neglected children. The original Guardian Ad Litem program in Weber County was renamed as the Court Appointed Special Advocate program. There is still a Guardian Ad Litem program today, but the GALs are all lawyers and the CASAs are the volunteers who visit with the children, get to know them and report their findings to the GAL.

1984-85: Produced Utah Dining Car Cookbook

1987-88: Helped establish Weber County Coalition of Resources (COR)

1989: Started new AIDS Education Program

1990’s: Moving Boldly Toward the New Millennium

1990-91: Assisted with fundraising for women’s & children’s facilities at St. Anne’s Homeless Shelter

1996-97: Started Jumpstart school attendance program

1999: Held first Children’s Health Connection event

The Children’s Health Connection (CHC) started in 1999 and evolved from a two-day event where we saw more than 2,000 children and provided more than 6,500 services, to a 24/7 year-round, health care voucher program. CHC 24/7 provided free medical exams, immunizations, dental screenings and follow-up care for under or uninsured children. The vouchers were distributed through the schools, area clinics and the Head Start program. The program also served as a vehicle for educating parents and children on the importance of routine healthcare and healthy lifestyles.

2000’s: Remaining Relevant in our Second Century

2001: Junior League turns 100 and Junior League takes on a new approach to fight childhood obesity (Kids in the Kitchen)

As a League, we’re serious about combating the epidemic of childhood obesity. Each year the Junior League of Ogden holds a Kids in the Kitchen event to teach local school-age children about nutrition and making healthy lifestyle choices. The goal of the Junior Leagues’ Kids in the Kitchen initiative is to use fun, engaging activities to teach kids how to prepare healthy meals, and to educate them and their parents about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

2002: Planning for Oasis Community Garden begins

The Oasis Community Garden Project is an integral component in fulfilling Junior League of Ogden’s mission to improve its community through effective action. The 1.7-acre garden is located at 2445 Monroe Blvd., and features open space, teaching gardens, community garden plots and a gathering area for group functions.  The garden directly targets issues of food equity through education and access, by creating a place where individuals can learn how to plant, grow, harvest, and prepare healthy food.  Its design integrates landscape ecology, food production, and community engagement.

The planning for the garden began in 2002.  Since that time a once derelict inner-city lot has been transformed into an urban oasis, with 38 agricultural plots, two garden sheds, fruit trees, a dry stream bed, seasonal restroom enclosure, a grassy lawn area, lighting, and a paved pathway.  All of these improvements have been made possible through generous financial and in-kind contributions from the community, including the Weber County Recreation, Arts, Museums, & Parks program (RAMP).

2003-04: Introduced JLO Art of Cooking cookbook

All the Junior League’s across the country have a cookbook full of recipes submitted by local chapter members, local residents and family favorites. The Junior League of Ogden’s cookbook is titled JLO Art of Cooking. Purchases of the cookbook help fund JLO projects and ongoing efforts to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women, and improve communities.

2005-06: Purchased 1.7 acres at 2445 Monroe for the Oasis Community Garden project

Oasis Community Garden is located at 2445 Monroe Blvd in Ogden. The garden is 1.7 acres with 38 garden plots available to the public for a $25 donation during the growing season. The garden creates an environment where residents can acquire knowledge and skills to obtain fresh food for their families. They can learn how to plant, grow, harvest and prepare healthy food. It is also intended to assist families in the central Ogden corridor in their quest to overcome economic challenges and break down cultural barriers.

2009: Women’s Health Connection created

The Women’s Health Connection (WHC) started in 2009. It is a two-day women’s health event that provides free, full diagnostic and treatment to under and non-insured women. Approximately 500 women are seen during the two-day event held at Midtown Community Health Center. Statistics have shown that many women put the health care needs of their children and family before themselves and leave their health care needs untreated. This event provides free mammograms, pap smears, dental and depression screenings.

2010’s: A New Decade Bringing More Opportunities to League Members

2011: The Children’s Health Connection Dental Days created

Children’s Health Connection Dental Days was created in 2011 as a two-day dental clinic, after statistics indicated a tremendous need in the area of dental care. It provides full diagnostic and dental treatment on-site to under-served and non-insured children. The event is held at Midtown Community Health Center in partnership with Weber State University Dental Hygiene Program and area dentists. Local dentists, assistants, and Weber State hygiene students, donate their time to provide restorative and preventative dental treatments to children.

2012-14: The Get Fresh Annual Fundraiser est.

The Get Fresh event was held in late September at the Oasis Community Garden. It consisted of a raw food cook-off competition with area chefs. The chefs were given garden ingredients and allowed one secret ingredient of their own to create a signature entrée. Guest judges and the community sampled the food and voted for their favorites. Votes were based on donations received for tastings. The family-friendly event had booths, entertainment, food and beverages for purchase. The proceeds went to fund the JLO.

2013: Oasis Summer Nights established

Oasis Summer Nights is a community event that includes a mini farmer’s market and live music every Thursday in August.  It is a way to get the community to enjoy the Oasis Community Garden’s 1.7-acre space. There is no cost to attend. There are family-friendly activities, craft vendors, local products and live entertainment.

2014: Jr. Junior League program rolled out in September, Oasis Pavilion Phase 1 Completed, and Adopt a Smile program launched in October

-The Jr. Junior League of Ogden is a program for girls ages 10-16. Their mission statement is similar to the Junior League’s overall mission statement but they operate with their own board structure, work on their own, chosen projects that impact their community, their peers and “their world.” Jr. JLO is about preparing the next generation of women leaders in our community at-large and offers volunteer opportunities, leadership training and empowers young women to be proactive problem solvers.

Oasis Pavilion Phase One was completed in September 2014 and consists of a covered structure for the community to gather and meet. Phase Two and Three will include a kitchen, greenhouse and resources for events and classes where the community can learn garden-to-plate nutrition.

The Adopt a Smile program is an addition to CHC Dental Days and was launched in October 2014. CHC Dental Day patients can apply for a scholarship to receive a “dental home” and be assigned to an area dentist who agrees to “adopt” the patient as their primary dentist at no charge until they turn 18 years of age. Local dentists sponsor a child and provide routine dental care on an on-going basis as long as the recipient qualifies each year (attends educational courses, doesn’t miss appointments, maintains proper dental hygiene at home, etc.).