Hillside Girls Club anniversary event draws a crowd

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In its early days, the Hillside Girls Club offered young women in the community a place to go.

“We just joined because it was something to go to. Back in those days, we had nothing to go to,” said Christina Anderson, who was a teenager when she joined the club that met in the one-room schoolhouse in the early 1940s.

Now, 75 years later, the club is still running and giving girls a place to learn skills like crocheting and crafting.

“It was nice to go there and they were good to you,” said Anderson, who was at the club’s 75th anniversary celebration at the North End Recreation Centre in New Glasgow on Sunday.

“I’ll be 89 my next birthday and I still remember going to club.”

Sandra Hattie, who runs the club now with Ellen Murphy and other volunteers, said founder Anna Carmichael started it with eight girls in her home. It then moved to the Hillside school until it relocated to the church hall when it was built before moving to New Glasgow in more recent years.

“It’s always been interesting to see the kids excited about what they’re doing, and from one year to the next, see how they change and how they improve and what their skills are,” said Hattie.

Sadie Boyles became a leader for a few years in the late 1990s when her daughter Morgan joined at five years old.

“It was a staple in Hillside. If you lived in Hillside or the lower end of Trenton, it was law. You went to girls club.”

Morgan continued until she graduated in 2011.

“I just liked the atmosphere. Everyone was so happy and helpful,” Morgan said. “You looked forward to it all week. And you were just proud of what you made.”

Some of the items she made over the years included dolls, pillows, blankets, scarves and pajama pants.

“They made beautiful stuff there. I was kind of amazed. And then later on, after (Morgan) came home … with stuff, it was beautiful,” said Sadie.

Colleen Boyles, who joined when she was five years old, said she learned how to work as a team from scavenger hunts, how to clean cabins before camp, and crafts.

She said she has many fond memories of the club and travelled from Halifax on Sunday in order to attend the anniversary celebration.

“It was a safe place to go,” said Colleen. “It was a good time. I see children nowadays that don’t have that.”

Morgan Boyles looks at photos from her time in Hillside Girls Club during the club’s 75th anniversary celebration at the North End Recreation Centre on Sunday. (Jess photo)