The Power of Teaching Youth Good Manners
In an era when common etiquette seems a vanishing art form, Enie Windle is fighting the good fight against bad manners.
Windle, recently appointed director of the South Brevard Chapter of the National League of Junior Cotillions, plans to arm the next generation with the powerful weapons of civility and courtesy. Several families have already registered their youngsters for Windle’s Junior Cotillion classes, which commence Sept. 19.
The five one-and-a-half-hour monthly classes teach fifth- through eighth-graders the fine points of social courtesies. The curriculum also includes ballroom dancing skills with real-world experience through two balls.
The South Brevard Chapter is the newest of 12 National League of Junior Cotillion chapters in the state. Founded in North Carolina in 1989, the national organization includes 400 chapters in more than 27 states. The organization’s unique curriculum encompasses courtesy, etiquette and life skills, as well as ballroom dancing lessons in a structured learning environment.
Brevard resident Becky Cole participated in etiquette classes as a child and treasures the experience.
“At the time, it was fun to dress fancy and feel grown up, but I learned invaluable skills that have helped me in many professional settings,” she said. “I want my kids to have that same experience. I was thrilled to learn that our area was starting a Junior Cotillion chapter.”
Like Cole, Windle is a firm believer in the power of good manners.
“My dad was a retired naval officer and my parents were all about etiquette,” she said.
Windle is involved with another etiquette-enhancing organization, the Debutante Assembly Committee of South Brevard, as its president. She also serves with the Junior League of the Space Coast.
She plans a full agenda for the cotillion course.
“It’s jam-packed with instruction,” she said.
In addition to familiarizing themselves with the fine points of ballroom dancing, students will explore the rules of conversation, formal and informal table manners, proper acknowledgement of gifts, behavior at cultural and civic events, correspondence, interaction in groups, introductions, paying and receiving compliments, receiving lines, sports etiquette and telephone and social media courtesy. The peer group setting encourages camaraderie and confidence.
Everyone will be well-dressed, too.
“The ladies will wear dresses with white tea gloves and the gentlemen should dress in khaki pants, navy blue blazer, collared shirt, tie and loafer-type shoes,” explained Windle.
The $300 tuition covers five classes, two balls and the handbook. Classes will be at The Tides Officers’ Club at Patrick Space Force Base and at Eau Gallie Yacht Club.
Lessons learned will last well beyond a turn around the dance floor.
“These are skills they will use their entire lives,” Windle said.
Learn more, register: