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Ocean Beach Woman’s Club, at 89, struggling

Modern women don't have as much time for civic clubs

The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club is celebrating its 89th birthday this year. But it's uncertain whether or not the club will be around next year.

Place

Ocean Beach Woman's Club

2160 Bacon Street, San Diego

The organization began serving the community in 1924, helping to get streets paved, sewers and streetlights installed, year-round lifeguards, obtaining O.B.'s library, and, most recently, getting our skate park installed. But the club has run into a common problem these days: lack of participation.

While the clubhouse and land located at 2160 Bacon Street is paid for, taxes, insurance, and utilities eat up about $800 a month. And now, they are in dire need of a new roof, which could cost upward of $5000.

The club makes most of its money by renting out the facility to church groups, for yoga classes, birthday parties, and other such gatherings. But many community groups pay little or are not charged at all.

As a new way to raise money, the club has opened a community garden that surrounds the building. Individual plots are $50 a year, and a communal plot is $35 for the year.

I met with club president Donna Bergerson and vice president Mel Roark at a potluck this past week to raise awareness and garner new members. Donna believes membership is down because modern women don't have as much time for civic clubs. Bergerson mentioned the San Diego Woman’s Club is older (121) and they are struggling also.

At the meeting, I also met Candace Vanderhoff of RainThanks and Greywater, a licensed architect from South Park who heard about the club’s plight. She got in touch with them and offered to write a letter of interest to get them a grant from the city for their community garden. Candace specializes in rainwater and greywater (showers, laundry) reuse, which would enable the community garden to have free irrigation; this would cut utility costs considerably.

Membership fees for the club run $25 a year, and a lifetime membership is $1000. They meet on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 pm.

A fundraiser and auction are scheduled for October 4. They are looking for a band that can play classic rock to donate their time. Reach them at 619-222-1008, obwomansclub.org, and Facebook.

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The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club is celebrating its 89th birthday this year. But it's uncertain whether or not the club will be around next year.

Place

Ocean Beach Woman's Club

2160 Bacon Street, San Diego

The organization began serving the community in 1924, helping to get streets paved, sewers and streetlights installed, year-round lifeguards, obtaining O.B.'s library, and, most recently, getting our skate park installed. But the club has run into a common problem these days: lack of participation.

While the clubhouse and land located at 2160 Bacon Street is paid for, taxes, insurance, and utilities eat up about $800 a month. And now, they are in dire need of a new roof, which could cost upward of $5000.

The club makes most of its money by renting out the facility to church groups, for yoga classes, birthday parties, and other such gatherings. But many community groups pay little or are not charged at all.

As a new way to raise money, the club has opened a community garden that surrounds the building. Individual plots are $50 a year, and a communal plot is $35 for the year.

I met with club president Donna Bergerson and vice president Mel Roark at a potluck this past week to raise awareness and garner new members. Donna believes membership is down because modern women don't have as much time for civic clubs. Bergerson mentioned the San Diego Woman’s Club is older (121) and they are struggling also.

At the meeting, I also met Candace Vanderhoff of RainThanks and Greywater, a licensed architect from South Park who heard about the club’s plight. She got in touch with them and offered to write a letter of interest to get them a grant from the city for their community garden. Candace specializes in rainwater and greywater (showers, laundry) reuse, which would enable the community garden to have free irrigation; this would cut utility costs considerably.

Membership fees for the club run $25 a year, and a lifetime membership is $1000. They meet on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 pm.

A fundraiser and auction are scheduled for October 4. They are looking for a band that can play classic rock to donate their time. Reach them at 619-222-1008, obwomansclub.org, and Facebook.

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Comments
7

Membership is down because the OB women's club does not engage new members that wish to join. When I moved to OB, I was excited to find this group. I went to several meetings with a friend of mine. We were excited to get involved. We tried to participate in the Christmas charity, a family In need. After getting together things for the family, we sent multiple emails and made phone calls. No one followed up. We brought things to the next meeting, but the meeting had been moved without any sort of email announcement or mention on Facebook. The members cannot decide on the kinds of events they wish to have. Some members are against having alcohol at functions. Originally this club began with women who were playing cards with drinks. If this group cannot agree on what kind of club they wish to be and what kind of functions they wish to have, and engage new members, even with the slightest gesture like returning an email, they are doomed to disband. Nothing happened at any of the meetings, no progress was made. It's really quite sad, as this group could be so important to OB.

Sept. 12, 2013

After being a part of this organization for over a year, I agree with some of the above comments. I did meet some very good friends at the club. Most of the member's have very good intentions. However the lack of support from all member's does get in the way of progress for the club and therefore the community. I agree that many times the club does not agree on issues and therefore no progress is made. At the core I feel the board is a group of women with excellent ideas, with that said it they need to support of others to make things happen. Several times attendance for fundraising and meetings is very low. People would commit to being there and to helping yet with the exception of the board member's no one else would show. Community involvement is needed for small groups like this to succeed. I wish them all the best going forward, they are capable of doing good things for OB.

Sept. 13, 2013

I live up the street and was not aware that there're monthly meetings. Went to the club's website and there's not a lot of info. The 10/4 fundraiser referenced in the article is not even posted on the site's calendar. How many ladies are in the club? Does the club do anything to recruit new members or keep the current members engaged? Does the club do anything fun to engage the community aside from fundraisers? People who chose to live in OB love the community and would support the organization. We just don't know how to support the group. If the club began with women who were playing cards with drinks, why did they discontinue that tradition. It may thrive again if local women has a place to hang out to play cards, drink, discuss plans then actually take action to improve the community.
Another thing... taxes, utilities and insurance at $800.00 per month seems really high. That needs to be addressed if membership fees/fundraisers are not enough to cover the cost.

Sept. 13, 2013

Hello all. I am Mel Roark, the newest member on the board (July) of the Woman's Club. First, I'd like to address the previous comments. They are true and we apologize. We are currently working to put systems in place to make the proper adjustments. We have been proactively been teaching out to the community for feedback on what women would like to see. Just in the past month, or membership has grown by 50%, and we are scheduling some fun activities. If you would like to learn more on the future vision of the Woman's Club, and to share your ideas and suggestions, we invite you do join us this Monday evening, Sep. 16th at 5:30 pm (hint: bring any art supplies you may have). P.S. Also true about the website updating, we will take care of that early next week as my computer has crashed and I'm doing everything on my mobile. Please check our FB, in the meantime: www.Facebook.com/obwomansclub

Sept. 14, 2013

Ugh.... Excuse the typos. Like I said, mobile access only, right now. The correct Facebook link is: www.Facebook.com/oceanbeachwomansclub

Sept. 14, 2013

All these comments are very valid. I also just joined the club and they are really just starting to reach out to people for ideas and help within in the community. As one of the people that have started the OB Crime Watch Group along with CSI OB (Clean Streets Initiative) we know how difficult it can be just to get people to show up at mtgs. For those that did comment on here, I truly hope you will show up tomorrow evening and show support of this wonderful group so they don't go away after almost 90 years! They are VERY open to new ideas and directions!

Sept. 15, 2013

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