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SO YOU WANT TO STARTA RED HAT GROUPWhere did it start and when?It started in 1997, when Sue Ellen Cooper, presented her friend with a red hat and a poem (call“Warning” by Jenny Joseph) for her birthday. But instead of hanging the poem and the red hat on a wall,the friend copied the idea and gave it to her friend who turn did the same for another friend. One day, inApril 1998, four of these friends decided to put on their Red Hats, dress in purple and go out forafternoon tea. And the rest is history (as they say).It is now world wide and came to Western Australia in 2003 when Beverly Fussell formed the first WAGroup called “Dinky Di Divas” That group grew to over a hundred members and Bev encouragedmembers to form their own groups by holding an info-day in September 2004 at Kings Park, Perth.Today there are over 80 Groups in Western Australia and close to 350 throughout Australia, and growingall the time.So, What is this all about?As we get ‘older’ we tend to get overlooked – yet we have spent our lives looking after husbands,children and even grand children. Today we want to stand out in the crowd and be seen and recognisedand above all have FUN and FIVOLITY and FRIENDSHIP (and FOOD) with other women - all who wantto grow old outrageously !!MembershipThere are no rules, maybe guidelines and suggestions, but each Group operates as they wish. It is theirprerogative to meet or go out as often or as little as they wish. Some Groups only do day activities someonly nights, some groups have outings (or in-ings) every week. Whatever suits your ladies.Core of a new GroupYour first privilege as a Queen is to choose a vice-queen (or two) or co-queen, or whatever title has beenselected. What criteria should you use? You need to really like her and enjoy hanging out with her ANDshe also need to be someone who enjoys having fun. You can also appoint other ladies to help out withthe duties (eg Countess of Coin).

ClothingEach member should wear the proper clothing denoting her membership to Australian Red Hatting.This mean Red Hat and Purple Clothes if she is 50 or over.Pink Hat and Lavender Clothes if she is under 50.We suggest the clothes are predominately purple – we need to be clearly identifiable. Be encouraged todisplay creativity and play dress-up to your heart’s content.Bling is not mandatory but does add sparkle to your attireOne must be a female to belong to any Red Hat Group and some Queens insist it is a hat that has to beworn, while other Queens are more lenient and allow fascinators or flowers.Gathering MembersThere are many way to gain new members. You might start with calling some friends andacquaintances, or just put out to the general public that you are looking for new members – throughflyers, word of mouth or in the local papers or shopping centre notice boards.Some groups start with several women who were getting together regularly in group already – bookclubs, sport or activity groups. Soon the group will gain momentum and will grow. It has proven a goodidea not to let new ladies pay their membership dues before they have attended their third outing.We also suggest that you compile a handout of suggested guidelines to be given to new members.Please also remember that all ladies are different - their ideas / ideals; family / personal situations; etc.Values that are most valued as a Red Hat Lady - Fun, Friendship, Frivolity and of course FoodIt is strongly recommended that as a group, every lady Respect Individuality and Diversity Encourages and Motivates Be friendly / unify / harmonise Participate in Activities Problem Solves Be Inclusive / Approachable Tolerate / Be Impartial

You may be the Queen (in name), but it is your role to encourage all ladies to participate – not to dictate. Consider Members Welfare Health / Finance / Support Overall Responsibility Chapter Finances Know and Believe in Red Hat Ethos Set Dress Standard Support Members Ideas / TalentsGroup SizeHow many members can a group have?That is up to the group – do they wish to stay small or grow and enjoy the company of more ladies.Ladies can join more than one group.- or if the group get too big, start a spin-off group.Choosing a NameWe cannot really prevent duplication of Group Names, but we suggest you search the Australian RedHat website www.aussiehatting.com for ideas.AttendanceThere is generally not a roll call at gatherings. Some groups ask theirmembers to attend as many events as possible. Other groups take the viewthat ladies turn up as often or as rarely as they choose. The important thing isthat the group is in agreement about this issue and should be in yourguidelines.Record KeepingMaintain a list of members, which can be distributed to all members of the group. Have a handout /newsletter about the group activities. Also a registration form detailing name, email, contact phone andbirthday. Also note if there is a cost to join.Keep a simple receipt / account book to record membership and fees. Later a bank account should beopened rather than cash. Easier option when transferring monies for combined group events.A complete list of financial members is essential if you are a Public Liability Insurance member (needproof if there is a claim.), also need an attendance records.

Group Outings (and In-ings)The task of planning events should not fall on the Queen alone. Different groups have different ways ofgoing out this - some delegate a lady / ladies to a specific month and they do all the planning; somegroups have a planning committee to organise outings suggested by members; some groups have thebirthday girls organise. Whatever works for your group and it can always be change if it is not working toeveryone’s satisfaction.Strongly suggest that all ladies RSVP whether they are or are notattending. So much easier if everyone replies.Get to know what kind of functions (and how often) your members prefer.Have regular “Hatter Natters” to discuss outings. Make this a regularevent, usually followed by a meal / afternoon tea etc.Although most groups prefer being in public, it is also fun to do ‘in house’events (PJ breakfast, swim party, etc) in someone’s house.If a member decides to plan an event, she will be responsible for makingreservations and the arrangements etc.Red Hatters have been known to stomp grapes at a winery, visit a bakery, host hat making parties.Gatherings can last from 1 hours to entire very long weekend.Again – check out Aussiehatting and the Western Australian websites for ideas for outings, weekendsaway and the gathering of many groups within this state, other states and overseas.When you are invited by other Groups to join in their activities, it is always polite to reciprocate the invite.Etiquette – Public and PrivateSince we are now royalty, very little needs to be said regarding public manners. However, even thoughwe are a disorganisation without rules, please remember we are highlynoticeable when we are out in public in our colours.The public reaction is very favourable because of our good spirits and ourbright colours. We do ask you that keep in mind that you are representingRed Hatters to the public. We strive to be quite the ladies, don’t you know!Light-hearted fun is good. Raucous, rude behaviour is SO not Red Hat.Respect for your fellow sisters in Red Hats is equally important. Speak andtreat your sisters as you yourself would like to be treated. We work on thepremise that if it’s not edifying then don’t say it. Should an issue arise, dealdirectly with the person involved, or if that fails, seek assistance from yourQueen or her Vice.Pink HattersThese ladies are a wonderful part of Red Hatting. Not yet 50, they arewelcomed into many groups. Some even have their own groups - and thenwhen they turn 50, its time for a REDUATION and to continue with fun,frivolity and friendship as they continue as a Red Hatter.

Birthday SuitsNo, not that kind. For our own birthday (or the Group’s birthday) we can wear our colours in reverse –Purple Hat and Red Clothes - just another way to have fun.TitlesIn the Royal spirit of play, members are encouraged to dream up a title for herself.Royal titles are encouraged - Princess, Duchess, Lady, etc. The name with the title can be as fun orfrivolous as they choose, usually denoting the ladies interest - Princess Happy Snapper (photography);Lady Lunch-a-Lot (frequent diner).A playful title can be the first step toward personal liberation and self-permission to play.CharitiesIf an individual group wishes to participate in any charitable event, weencourage them to do so in their group name. Red Hatting is not a fun raising orservice group, we are into fun-raising not fund-raising.We are our own ‘cause’ – ARHGA does not promote any charity.ARHGA MembershipThe Association of Red Hatted Groups of Australia Inc has been formed solelyto provide the opportunity to all Australian groups to take out Public Liability Insurance.Your Group can choose to take out Public Liability Insurance. It is organised by the Beehive committeein Western Australia for all Australian Groups.It is NOT the headquarters of Red Hatting in Western Australia (or Australia) - there is no controllinggroup. BUT it is the Communication Hub, distributing a newsletter to all Queens and Groups (in WesternAustralia only) on a regular basis informing them of upcoming events and other items of interest.So, when you are organised, let the secretary know and she will add to you the list for this newsletterand then you can pass the information onto your ladies. There are often events that invite all WA RedHatters and they are always fun. Email - [email protected] you have any queries about Red Hatting , talk to other Red Hatters – they are always ready to offerassistance and information, or email the Secretary.There are also WA Red Hat websitewww.red-hatters-wa.netand [email protected] your perusal and to gain ideas and information.Red Hat SocietyThis is totally up to you and your ladies. You decide if you wish to register with the Red Hat Society inAmerica. Some groups do, some don’t. Check out the website, talk to others and decide what to do.If you decide not to join, please refrain from using their registered logo and name.www.redhatsociety.com