Have you ever went to an event, parade, festival, etc.… and have seen ladies wearing some sort of decorative red hat? If you have, then you have encountered members of the Red Hat Society (RHS). It is an international social organization that was founded in 1998 in the United States.
The origin of the Red Hat Society is an interesting one. While on a trip to Tucson, AZ, Sue Ellen Cooper discovered an old red fedora. Paying $7.50 for it, she eventually would gift the hat to a friend that was nearing a “fifty-ish” birthday. “The symbolism behind the red hat had a profound impact on women Sue Ellen encountered. Those women responded by donning their own red hats and entering a new women’s movement embracing a renewed outlook on life,” states the organization’s website.
“It’s basically for fun and friendship,” states Red Hatter Janice Davis.
Janice Davis is an Ambassador and Queen of the RHS chapter, Angels in Red. The chapter spans Northern Indiana. Davis also runs the Sunshine Gals, an RHS virtual chapter. Davis has been a Red Hatter since 2004. That’s when she founded Angels in Red. As an ambassador for the chapter, she is charged with creating public awareness of the group.
“We’ve got girls in Knox, all the way to LaPorte, Bremen, many in Plymouth, Tippecanoe,” she said. “I’ve got 50 girls in my chapter, the Angels in Red.”
They don’t have meetings, but they hold gatherings. Gatherings are typically held once a month and the Red Hatters take turns hosting. “Once a month, two or three girls will get together and they’ll pick the venue of where they’re going to have it,” Janice said.
In January, the meeting will be located at Country Kettle Restaurant in Knox.
Even though the group is about fun, friendship, and wearing red hats they also come together for a cause. “This month for our charity, we’re all going to bring in items to put together for fosters. November is national adoption day. We’re going to bring in things to put in baskets for the adoption families,” said Davis.
Besides monthly gatherings, the Angels in Red travel to Chicago, take bowling trips, and visit other local areas. One of the most recent trips was to the South Bend Chocolate Factory. That trip was featured in the RHS magazine.
“Our office is in California and they’re all like ‘Oh my gosh, we like chocolate. If I ever come to Indiana will you take me there?’,” said Davis.
If you want to join the RHS, but live outside the area of the Angels in Red, there are still many ways to be part of the Red Hatters. “There’s international events you can go to. It’s unlimited to what you can do financial and time wise,” Davis said.
Another way that Davis wanted to interact with the international society was to start the online group, Sunshine Gals, as a way to fight online negativity. “I wanted to start a Facebook page so I could control and so if somebody was being a bully, that’s my goal for 2019 is to stop the bullying everywhere. So, I started the chapter and I’ve got girlfriends in different time zones.” According to Davis, in the three years the groups been active, it has over 1,900 members.
For more information about the Red Hat Society, visit https://www.redhatsociety.com.
“What I really like about it is when I see what it does for others,” Davis said. “It’s just transformed them.”