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An Interview with Suzy Sunshine from Ohio Rainbow Girls

By December 22, 2022No Comments

Chrissy is the year’s Grand Worthy Advisor of the Ohio Rainbow Girls. Keep reading to learn about her family ties to Masonry, her theme for the year, and how she plans to lead the young women of Rainbow.

An image of a logo
Ohio Rainbow Girls Logo

Tell us a little about Rainbow Girls in Ohio.

Rainbow girls is a Masonic youth organization for girls ages 11-20. Our goal is to help shape young women into respectable, productive members of their community. We have several assemblies throughout the state that meet throughout the month to hold formal meetings, work on community service or state service projects, and hold fun prospect events like sleepovers and craft-making.  

How did you get involved with Rainbow Girls?

I got into Rainbow when I was 13 years old. My grandfather had told my parents and I that the temple he was a member of was trying to open a rainbow assembly and needed girls. My grandpa compared Rainbow to Girl Scouts, promised me it would be a great experience, and implored my parents to let me join. Then, in February of 2014 I was initiated with my new sisters!    

What is your role?

Just like all of my other State Officers, I represent Ohio Rainbow when performing duties asked of me or supporting the organizations that sponsor us and lead our statewide initiations throughout the year. I also have the privilege of showing my appreciation to my fellow State Officers at each of our statewide receptions throughout the year. I also have the responsibility to decide on things such as a theme and motto for Ohio this year, as well as what charities we will be helping throughout the year. A big part of that is planning fun theme-oriented ways for the girls to be active in their assemblies throughout the year, and all the decorations for the next Grand Assembly Session – our state-wide meeting! 

What is your leadership style?

I’d like to think that my leadership style is motivational and reassuring, with a dash of challenging. I mainly try to lead by example, showing our girls what may be expected of them but also showing them that it’s okay to struggle, and how to pick yourself up after a mistake. I really try to let my girls know that they are amazing and capable of so many great things, and that it is okay to not feel that way all the time. 

I challenge my girls to open up about hard conversations like their self-esteem and mental health. So many people suffer in silence and just talking about it can help. 

I also challenge my girls to help the towns and cities that they’re from. Ohio Rainbow has proven that we are a strong community and this year my girls and our sponsoring bodies will use their voices to help the communities we hold so near.   

Photograph of two women posing
Chrissy at a Rainbow Girl’s event

What does it mean for you to be a leader of this organization?

Honestly for me, being a leader of this organization is proof that “I can do hard things.” Just like so many others before me, I was that thirteen year old girl at my first Grand Assembly, doe eyed and awe-struck by all the new experiences. I watched the Grand Worthy Advisor run her sessions and hold herself so beautifully, and I thought, “I want to be like her someday.” 

As I continued through my rainbow career and watched all the Grand Worthy Advisors serve their year, the excitement stayed, the admiration grew, but so did the fear and doubt. I saw just a fraction of the stressors these girls faced, heard the wild stories, and could’t imagine all of the work they had to do. But I still wanted to be just like them, I wanted to leave my mark on Ohio Rainbow and tell my story just like they did. Right before COVID-19 I took a leap of faith and went for this dream I’d had for years. I lost, but was given the honor of being a line officer for that term. The following term I was given the privilege to try again. Not only have I had this amazing honor to live my dream, I also have the honor to show our girls that even if you fail, it doesn’t mean your journey is over. I get to show our girls that even though things are hard, and even though you may fail, you can still succeed.   

As a leader how do you connect with the other girls in the organization?

I try to connect with our girls by making sure they always feel understood and valued. So often in our society we are expected to perform perfectly and without hardship. I want our girls to know it’s okay to face hardships and struggle. I want them to know that their interests are valued and worthy, that their time and efforts are valued and worthy. When I talk to my girls I’m open and curious. I want to know about their experiences and interests, and their opinions. I want them to know that their words have value. 

What is your initiative this year? Why did you choose it?

This year Ohio Rainbow’s theme is “Let Your Light Shine.” A lot of the artwork has glitter, crowns, diamonds, stars, and candles but its initiative is to help our sisters, our friends, as they go on a journey towards self-acceptance. While the media likes to make us think that self-acceptance is a quick and easy process that we should’ve done already, it can actually be very difficult. It can be hard to recognize our own light, but we can help those around us to see their light, and in turn, someday, our own. 

In order to break open doors of conversations that we’d rather avoid but need to have, I chose my charities Project HEAL and the National Eating Disorder Association. These are organizations that aim to help those with eating disorders by providing information, financial aid, treatment, and a sense of community. 

I chose these organizations partially because we tend to think that eating disorders have a certain look, and that they all sound the same but they don’t. A person can be suffering from an eating disorder no matter their weight. These types of challenges are silent struggles that many are ashamed to talk about. I also chose these organizations for their personal meaning to me. Like the Grand Worthy Advisors before me whom I admired, I wanted our state charities to have a connection to me and my life. Choosing to support organizations that I am passionate about has made this year’s theme even stronger in my eyes.

My hope is that by opening this door to talking about these challenges we bring awareness to these issues. While these issues are hard to talk about, the reward is worth any initial discomfort. So why can’t we shoulder our own discomfort to lessen the silence, bring together our amazing communities, and help our own brethren, our sisters, out of the dark towards light. Towards their own light. 

Can you share any upcoming events?

Winter Installation season will be starting in January, so you can be on the lookout for information about several local installations coming up. Also, on March 18th we will have our Grand Officer Reception for districts 6&8. April 8th is our Statewide Initiation in Columbus followed by the Statewide Dance, and May 7th is the Grand Officer Reception for our districts 1&2. More information for these events will be released as they near!

What is your favorite memory since becoming part of the Rainbow Girls?

It’s not one specific memory but some of my favorite memories from Rainbow are the interactions I’ve had with our girls. From all of the moments I’ve shared with our girls, the connections I’ve made, and sweet gestures received, I’m honored to get to know these girls better and make lasting friendships with them.   

A photograph of two women at an event
Caption: Claire the Carrot, the Ohio Rainbow State Mascot

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

One more fun fact I’d like to share with you about Ohio Rainbow this year is that we do have a state mascot. Her name is Claire and she is a carrot! She’s a carrot as in karat, diamond, get it? Although she does get some curious looks while being carried around at all our events, we are so excited to have her as moral support throughout the year! Thank you so much for your time and for allowing me to share about Rainbow and my plans for this year!

Interested in supporting Ohio Rainbow Girls? Check out our First Lady’s Charity page to find out how you can get involved!