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Can you tell me about Rainbow Girls?


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The family that was like my 2nd family growing up was big into Masonic organizations. The dad was a Mason (and he's now a Shriner as well), the mom was in Eastern Star, and the 4 daughters were in Rainbow Girls. They were very involved in the leadership of their lodges/chapters and it ended up taking up most of their weekends because they would travel to all the various events. So for their family, it was a major time commitment (and I suspect a major financial commitment as well, but I don't know any of the specifics about that aspect).

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Rainbow Girls is a service organization for girls ages 11-21. It has a lot of good aspects and like all groups, it has its negatives. I was a RG for 9 years, my sister for 11 years. We were highly involved and learned a lot of valuable skills. I still use my public speaking experience today and in that respect, it gave me confidence in front of an audience. I also learned about serving my community in many different ways. I can't say I would encourage it because my experience was tainted a bit but I will warn you that when ladies get together, there is always a popularity contest (and by ladies, I mean the mothers and board members). If you're "in", you're golden. This is the nature of groups like these.

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My mom was a Rainbow Girl, and her dad is a Mason. I don't think it is closed to include only daughters of Masons anymore though. Basically, it is a service organization that focuses on helping raise funds and awareness for and of childhood diseases that are treated by the Shriner's Hospitals according to Mom. That may be different these days, but it taught valuable life skills like public speaking, how to dress and behave at high class functions, and so on. I would love to hear if that is still true. It was time consuming even then.

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Interesting. I had never heard of rainbow girls, and did not know that the Masons had a program for young girls. I looked it up, as dd will be 11 on her next birthday. The one thing that stuck out to me was the statement about dress code, found here http://www.gorainbow.org/qanda/qanda.taf

 

It says they require "formal dresses". I'm not sure what they mean, but here a formal dress is an evening gown. That might run into $$$. Can someone who has participated chime in on that?

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I was involved in the early 80s. We met a few times a month for formal meetings where we went through ritual (a lot of memory work), initiated new members, installed officers, held fundraisers for charity and our group. Our state held a convention each year that chapters could attend.

 

The focus is on ritual and service kind of like a sorority (I was also later in a sorority and saw a lot of similarities). At that time, to be initiated you had to be invited and interviewed. Girls who want to commit to a higher level of leadership go through the offices to become worthy advisor of their chapter. This involves more responsibility, you move up through 3 offices until you become worthy advisor - these were high school girls. The installation of a new worthy advisor is a big deal and involves reciting ritual at a ceremony. This type of event would require formal wear. I think my mom made my long dresses so they didn't have to be elaborate or expensive.

 

Oh...we were not aloud to cross our legs during any meetings. I always thought that was strange. Also dances/social events were held after some installations.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest NovemberMom

I know this is over a year old, but I have been looking for information on Rainbow Girls and other similar organizations all day today, so I thought I'd comment in hopes of some replies.

 

I was a Rainbow Girl for nine years (age 12-21) and it was by far the highlight of my teen years.  I learned so many valuable skills -- public speaking, leadership, running a business meeting, working with a committee planning and participating in fund raisers, service projects and social events, etc.  I was a very shy child when I joined, but gained so much confidence.  I was honoured to serve as Grand Hope for our Grand Jurisdiction for a term, which was a great accomplishment.

 

If operating correctly, the assembly is completely run by the members under the guidance of the Mother Advisor and an Advisory board of Masons, Eastern Star and Parents.  When I was starting out the order was a more secretive than my later years.  Now parents are welcome and even encouraged to be present at the meetings.  I was a very shy child when I joined, but gained so much confidence.  I served as Grand Hope for our Grand Jurisdiction, which was a great accomplishment.

 

As far a "popularity" contest goes, yes, their could be some of that -- that happens everywhere, really.  There are things that can be done to ensure that things don't get out of hand, especially in terms of formal gowns.  In our assembly, girls primarily wore home made floor length white dresses of a fairly inexpensive, white material. These dresses were passed along as girls came and went or grew out of them.  The exact dress code will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  While some might wonder about the reasoning behind the gowns, imagine how differently a young lady carries herself in a formal gown.  For me, I felt instantly more confident and more graceful.  

 

There is a set "Ritual" (book of ceremonies) that I think may be viewed online these days.  They are simply a collection of ceremonies for the opening and closing of the assembly meeting, an ceremony for the initiation of new members (nothing dangerous or scary, simply a symbolic journey during which the candidate is instructed in the virtues which Rainbow promotes --love, faith, hope, charity, patriotism, loyalty, service, etc).  

 

Rainbow has many, many wonderful qualities.  It is not an expensive organization to belong to, though you can certainly make it so if you wish to travel and visit other assemblies or spend lots of money on dresses.  For the longest time I wanted to start an assembly in my new location because there wasn't one here.  It has been hard to let go of that dream (made slightly easier by the fact that I have boys) because I really believe in everything it was and everything I took from it "BUT" learning about Freemasonry as an adult, how incompatible it is with Christianity, has forced me to reject Rainbow largely because of it's affiliation with this parent organization.  I am not saying YOU should not involve your daughter in this, only that you should be aware of what Freemasonry is about and whether or not it conflicts with your own understanding and beliefs.  

 

My dream has since changed.  I would love to figure out some way to create something just as rewarding and beautiful that allows girls to have these types of experiences: real character growth while exploring the ways that they can make a difference in their communities and have so much amazing fun along the way.  If anyone knows of anything like that, please let me know!

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I was in Rainbow growing up.  I enjoyed it, but I also grew up in a small town and we all knew each other from school, so I didn't meet anybody new through it.  We did much as some others have explained.....  meetings twice a month with an occasional "special" meeting for whatever reason, and regular community service opportunities.  It was fine.  I have no complaints about my experience, but I wouldn't enroll my girls in Rainbow today because I know more now about the background of the Masons and don't want to get involved.  We can do community service on our own or through our church. 

 

I'm not sure if Rainbow girls had to *ever* be daughters of Masons.... at least not in our small town or lodge.  My sister, who was 20 years my senior, also grew up in Rainbow during the 50's (she was born in '43), and our parents were not Masons.  Although come to think of it, we might've had a grandfather who was a Mason.... I'll have to ask my mom about that.  Her side of the family was Catholic, though, and I don't believe Catholics were allowed in Rainbow.  So if we had any Masons in the family, they would've been on my dad's side. 

 

As for formal dress, we only had to wear formal gowns at installation and other special ceremonies.  We were allowed to wear everyday dresses at regular monthly meetings.  The gown I wore when I was installed as Worthy Advisor was the white hoop formal that my sister had worn 20 years earlier, except my mom did add straps so that it wouldn't be completely sleeveless.  I'm not sure if this was her personal choice to add the sleeves, or if it was required in order to be considered modest.  Back in the 50's, hoop skirts and sleeveless tops were the style for formals, so sleeveless might not have been an issue then. 

 

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