History of BG Club

Zonta’s first club was chartered in Buffalo, New York on November 8, 1919. Membership grew rapidly. By 1920, a confederation of nine Zonta clubs had formed with 600 members. Zonta is a word from the Native American Sioux language that means “honest and trustworthy.” In 1920, the first meeting was held, and among considerable business that was conducted, the Zonta colors, mahogany and gold, were chosen, along with the Zonta emblem.

The Zonta Club of Bowling Green (Ohio) Area1, District 5, was established in 1999, chartered by one of the first clubs chartered by Zonta International, Toledo 1. The club spent its early years recruiting and networking to establish a reputation aimed at improving the status of women and young girls.

One of the first programs for the public in 2001, featured six local women who shared their stories of Choices Women Make to Enhance Their Lives. With a desire to encourage junior high age girls to focus their lives and set goals, the Girls With Goals program was begun. Annual programs have ranged from conversation and a skating demonstration with the Czisny sisters, Olympic bound teen skaters; women business owners discussing their drive to explore entrepreneurship; “Beauty Through My Eyes”, a stage production by junior high girls highlighting the importance of recognizing and nurturing inner beauty and avoiding the Barbie Doll aspect of beauty; a NASA mini project on “Sanitizing Food for Space Travel” in cooperation with the local high school family and consumer sciences classes; sharing a visit with 86-year-old Margaret Ray Ringenberg, one of the first women pilots in WWII; a practice session with the Bowling Green State University Falcon Women’s 2008-2009 Basketball team and currently, making presentations at a summer workshop called “Girl Power Tween Camp”. Hundreds of girls and their mothers or mentors have joined together with these presenters to be role models who made a difference.

Offering scholarships was one of the club’s first goals. Scholarship dollars are raised through a variety of fund-raising events including a chili cook-off, canned nut sales and the very popular Summer Solstice wine-tasting and silent auction. Designating $2000 annually to assist women seeking training, coursework, internships, etc. for the non-traditional student has proved very satisfying. To date, 31 women have received funds to further their education in pursuit of their dreams.

An extensive list of agencies have been approved for Zonta service hours and our busy members find time to volunteer, serving on local boards; supporting organizations that train and care for women; assisting with resume writing and other skills needed after job-training; and co-sponsoring forums on topics such as domestic violence and human trafficking. Since 2012, the Zonta Club of BG has worked diligently to support the Area 1 project of gathering supplies and putting together hundreds of birthing kits to be sent and distributed in Cambodia. We have also participated in many District meetings, as well as hosting Area 1 meetings. In addition, the Bowling Green club has sent delegates to three Zonta International Conventions.

The latest “feather in our cap” is the chartering of a Golden Z Club with 10 college women on the campus of Bowling Green State University in September of 2012. Golden Z activities have included food drives on campus, assistance in the children’s arts area of the Black Swamp Arts Festival in the Bowling Green community and fund-raising for clean water projects and for Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

The future is bright as new members support our established traditions and challenge us to take on timely projects such as The Daughter Project, whose goal is to build and support a facility to house, rehabilitate and educate young girls who are victims of trafficking.