Red Hat Society: When I am an old woman – I will be active and laugh |

Red Hat Society: When I am an old woman – I will be active and laugh

Ariadyn Hansen
Sky-Hi Daily News
Winter Park, Colorado

Women with Altitude. This is the name of the Red Hat Society in Grand County. Consisting of 58 women, the group was founded in 2003 with five members and has grown tremendously over the past couple years.

The leader of the Grand County group, Joan Von Der Heiden, said they are a group of sisters having fun together, no matter what they do.

The organization name “Red Hat Society” comes from the poem, ” When I am an old woman I shall wear purple / With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”

Von Der Heiden said the support group is very inclusive and they do a variety of activities together including, hiking, biking and skiing.

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“We have a summer group, a winter group, and a core group,” Von Der Heiden said.

Local Red Hat Society member, Sandra Geiser, said almost every member is involved in some sort of philanthropy, but the group itself isn’t a service organization. There are no fundraisers or initiation fees. The only requirement for membership is a light heart and a willingness to stay young and laugh.

“We are strictly here to have fun and share with one another,” Von Der Heiden said.

The Red Hat Society held their meeting this past week at Greg and Laura Lewis’ Winter Park Chateau Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Lewis said she and her husband are from St. Thomas, but they bought the building in Winter Park over a year ago and remodeled the whole thing.

“Our goal was to find something we could make a bed and breakfast.” Lewis said. “So we contacted the owner and opened it last July.”

Lewis said the Red Hat Society meeting is the first luncheon they’ve had, but she said they are available for functions as needed.

“We have a venue to serve 25 easily,” Lewis said.

Von Der Heiden, Geiser, and the other women who participated in the brunch said it was a fun place to have their meeting.

If you would like to get involved with the local Red Hat Society, you can visit their Web site at

– Ariadyn can be reached at 970 887-3334 ext 19605 or by e-mail at

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