The Women’s Institutes were formerly known as the Jubilee Guilds of Newfoundland. In 1951, the Jubilee Guilds of Newfoundland joined with the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, and in August 1968, the name of the organization was changed to “Newfoundland and Labrador Women’s Institutes.” The motto of the Women’s Institutes is the same as that of the former Jubilee Guilds — “Confidence, Courage, Unity.”
The general purpose of the Women’s Institute is to enable women to work together to improve life in their community, and to provide an opportunity for them to learn new activities and skills, i.e. Crafts gardening, etc.
The Women’s Institutes are open to all women, regardless of their political or religious beliefs, their backgrounds, or their interests.
The Kippens branch of the Women’s Institute was formed on April 18, 1974, when a group of women from the community met at St. Raymond’s School.
Mrs. Earl Hunt, who at that tie was President of the Women’s Institute of Port au Port, a branch that has since folded, chaired the meeting. Mrs. Hunt explained the functions of the Institute, consequently, twenty-five women joined the Institute and an executive was formed, with Loretta Alexander as its first president, Mrs. Theresa Bourgeois as treasurer, and Sheila Bourgeois as secretary.
During subsequent meetings, the top priority of the group was obtaining a provincial grant to construct a building, which could be used as a meeting place. This was done jointly with the Local Improvement District, as both groups did not have a suitable meeting place.
In the formative years, the branch encountered many difficulties with this project. However, they were not discouraged and they went about raising funds on their own through a variety of activities ranging from card games to garden parties.
Obtaining land on which to construct a building was another obstacle. After several attempts to locate land, the Local Improvement District decided to give two aces of land at the Receiver Site once owned by the American Air Force. It is on this site, on Gaudon’s Lane, that the building now stands. It was officially open on August 4, 1975 and the new building was named the Kippens Community Centre.
In 1986 it was decided that the Community Centre was becoming somewhat of a financial burden to the Branch and was subsequently turned over to the Town of Kippens, which would be responsible for its upkeep. In the meantime, a special room has been set aside for the Kippen’s Women’s Institute and for the Senior Citizen’s club in the basement of the building. There the members hold their regular monthly meetings and other functions of the branch.
At the present time, the Kippen’s Women’s Institute has thirteen members. They are involved in different crafts, which are made for their own use, or for sale at their craft sales.