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Belle Gold Alumni help encourage current Belles

The Apache Belle Gold Alumni constantly give of themselves so current Apache Belles can have the same memorable experience.

The Apache Belle Gold is an association of former Belles who support the current Apache Belles in several ways. They have started a Belle newsletter, a parent steak dinner, high school brunch during the Spring Show, recruitment for the team, fundraisers and volunteer work for the Belles.

“(I want) other girls to enjoy and have the great experience like I did, and it’s a fun thing for girls to do and for them to come in as a family,” said Apache Gold Alumni Lori Harris, 49, of Dallas.

The association is full of members who give of themselves to the Apache Belle organization so they know their legacy will continue.

“I thought it was a great honor, and I was very proud to be an Apache Belle,” said Apache Belle Alumna of 1951 Peggy Holland Baker, 76, of Fairfield.

“We got good rave reviews everywhere we went. We went to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, and we went to the grand opening of Rice Stadium in Houston. We were very well treated everywhere we went, lots of dinners, places to go and nice places to stay. It was just a fabulous experience,” said Baker.

There are currently 1,478 Apache Belle alumni members and 299 Apache Gold members. An Apache Belle Gold member must first be a Belle alumna, and also pay yearly or a lifetime fee to become an official member.

“The Apache Belle Gold is the largest alumni group on campus and the most organized in terms of what all we do for the Belles and the college,” said Administrative Director and Apache Belle Gold President Alumni of ’96-’98, Jasilyn Schaefer.

“We absolutely have the most dedicated alumni of any group from TJC in terms of financial gifts, involvement and volunteering,” said Schaefer.

The officers of Apache Gold meet twice a year; however, the association is actively involved in each Apache Belles’ life. For example, there is an “Adopt a Belle” program where each alumna is assigned a Belle to make goody bags for and to be there during her time as a member.

“Knowing the positive experiences that I had as a Belle makes me want to contribute so that others will have just as great an experience as I did,” said Apache Gold Lifetime member Alumni of ’01-’03, Hannah Elmore, 27, of Flower Mound.

“I remember when I was on the team, the Gold organization was not quite as visible as they are now, and it was just starting to really begin to grow. I have definitely seen the alumni organization grow and I think the Belles now see that and appreciate our support,” said Elmore.

Being a Belle has left a mark on these ladies, and has prompted them to give back so today’s Belles can have the same positive experience.

“I want the present Apache Belles to come away from Belles knowing that they were a part of something special. I hope that they are able to have the bonds of friendship that I had and still have through the Apache Belles,” said Elmore.

The alumni wants each girl to know what it means to be a Belle.

“You represent the Junior College, and you do the very best you can when you are representing them and be proud of where you are and where you came from,” said Baker.

The sisterhood that the members of the team make is made stronger with the support of the Apache Belle Gold.

“The lifelong friendships you make, and the fact that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, you are a part of a long standing legacy not just for the organization of the Apache Belles, but also for Tyler Junior College, as well as the city of Tyler and the state of Texas,” said Schaefer.

“I was able to travel and perform and make memories at places and do things that I would have never gotten to do had I gone straight to a four-year university. The unique experiences – I got to perform at a NFL game. I was able to do these things through the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles,” said Schaefer.

The memories the Apache Belle Gold members had as Belles makes them want to give back to the organization through all their volunteering and dedication.

For former Apache Belles who want to become Apache Gold members contact Apache Gold President Jasilyn Salzman Schaefer at apachebellegold@yahoo.com.

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