Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel

March 2016 Spotlight: Carolyn Catron Woodard

Carolyn Catron Woodard, Gamma Tau/Tulsa, is a Theta Foundation trustee and a member of the chapter and individual grants committee. She is a 50-year member, Life Loyal, and active in the Tulsa Alumnae Chapter.

How did you learn about the opportunity to become a Theta volunteer? Each volunteer opportunity for Theta came as an invitation from another Theta. Personally expressing the rewards of service and the blessings received from benefiting the sisterhood brings the greatest dividends.

What made you want to become a Theta volunteer? As an educator, I clearly understood the role and the responsibility for nurturing the next generation. Tom Brokaw has said, “It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.” My position as a Theta Foundation trustee has given me the privilege of working with Thetas of all ages. It is my hope that I have made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of the young Thetas with whom I have worked.

How long have you been a Theta volunteer? Being a volunteer for Theta has been a lifelong endeavor. At each stage of my adulthood, it was my goal to live a balanced life; look for a role model; find someone who lives a healthy, happy and balanced life and emulate; and protect my personal and family time while still modeling a life of service.

Do you, or did you have, a Theta mentor or mentee? Many of my Theta sisters have been quick to give aid and support to me over the last 52 years. Theta sisters have been at my side throughout my life in joy and in sorrow.
Yet, one Theta, my pledge trainer (now the chief education officer) made an enormous impression on this young, awkward and immature freshman. Barbara MacLean Turner, two years older than I, was a remarkable encourager. With courage, commitment, determination, toughness, heart, talent, and guts, this extraordinary Theta guided our class through the trials and joys of the freshman college experience. She has been a role model for all of us throughout the decades by demonstrating the graceful way to meet each life challenge.

Why do you stay involved with Theta? If I were not to be involved in Theta activities, I would miss the opportunity to meet and work with marvelous women from all over the globe! My life has been enriched by the good fortune to serve with exceptionally talented Theta women. I enjoy watching the younger members get excited and contribute to our mission.
Early in my term I had the opportunity to become acquainted with a group of Soaring Kites. Their compassion and support for each other as quite touching.

Do you have a special volunteering moment? Cooking with the Soaring Kites Thetas has been a memorable experience. Their curiosity and readiness to accept a new exploration in world of food thrilled me. “Cooking with Carolyn” started when these young alumnae inquired about a dessert that I had made. Those four young Thetas enthusiastically jumped at the idea of rolling up their sleeves and donning an apron to learn cooking techniques. I taught them how to prepare my favorite recipes and they taught me how to maneuver through Facebook. Laughter filled my kitchen.

Do you have a special Theta moment? One of the most treasured memories of my Theta life was having a part in the acknowledgment of the accomplishments and contributions of my Theta mentor. The distinguished Theta of the Year Award was bestowed by our local alumnae chapter on Barbara MacLean Turner for her remarkable impact on the lives of her Theta sisters and gracious way of embracing others.

Do you have a profession or personal passion? It makes no difference what your vocation, the individual is enriched by serving others. The personal benefit comes through the act of service – the helpful hand given freely. Giving back to our Fraternity demonstrates your gratitude for the love and compassion shown by the Sisterhood. Make a difference, meet new Thetas, gain new skills, and make a positive impact of the future of our sisterhood – VOLUNTEER.