Hope Wissel

Memories of Being a Rainbow Girl

The International Order of Rainbow for Girls turns 91 years old today!  Rainbow is a non-profit service organization for girls between the ages of 11 and 20. Rev. W. Mark Sexson founded our order in McAlester, Oklahoma in April of 1922. Rev. W Mark Sexson sought to develop an organization where young women could build self confidence and leadership skills, all while serving their community. The organization promotes community service, as well as love and service to their schools, their homes and to each other.  Our order prepares the girls of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls teaches leadership skills and public speaking. It builds self-respect, confidence, poise, patriotism, fidelity, integrity and character, all while providing a fun and safe environment for girls to meet other girls their age and to build friendships that will last a lifetime.  Rainbow also teaches girls to be a part of a team, to successfully communicate with each other and to trust members. We want our girls to have positive role models and mentors, so that younger girls can continue to influence the new members of the assembly, as they grow older.

I joined Iris Assembly #31 when I was 12 years old, that awkward age when you aren’t sure who you are was made easier with the friends that I met through Rainbow.  We weren’t from the same schools, nor would we probably have been friends if is wasn’t for Rainbow.  We laughed together, cried together, traveled through the State of NJ visiting other assemblies, did charity projects, endless sleepless nights with sleep overs and the best part was the lasting friendships.  

Over the years, my life took many turns (not always positive ones) but the basic lessons that I learned in Rainbow of love, religion, nature, immortality, fidelity, patriotism and service have stuck with me, guiding me through the rough patches.  Although my daughter never had the desire to be part of Rainbow, the lessons were taught to her while she was growing up and have become part of who she is today – a strong, successful woman.  

Now, that I have moved back to my hometown area and with the help of Facebook, I am reconnecting with old friends.  Re-kindling some of those connections that were lost of the years.  

Happy 91st Birthday to the International Order of Rainbow for Girls.  May you prosper and grow in the coming years.