By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
One of the myriad ways Pacific Palisades grows its sense of community is through clubs and organizations where those who participate have the chance to meet new people and also dive into an interest—ranging from philanthropy to gardening to enjoying a happy hour with friends.
At the start of the 2021-22 school year, the Palisadian-Post highlighted four clubs at Palisades Charter High School. In part two of “Join the Club,” the paper features groups and organizations outside of the school environment and open to the community at large.
Newcomers and Friends of Pacific Palisades
For those looking to connect with other Palisadians—whether you just moved here or you have lived here for dozens of years—Newcomers and Friends of Pacific Palisades offers just that.
“Unlike most newcomers groups, this club welcomes Palisadian oldtimers—as well as new arrivals—to meet people and share common interests,” according to the club. “‘Friends’ was added to its name because so many members want to stay in the group.”
The club has been around since the 1950s, according to President Susi Lynch. People used to drop out after a couple of years, but that has since been amended to allow members to stay part of the group long-term. Lynch has been a member since 1971.
“I’ve been in the group longer than anyone else,” she explained. When Lynch moved to town 50 years ago, she said she had recently had a baby and did not have any friends in the area. A lady that she described as “the welcome wagon” came to her door with a basket that included information about the club.
At the time, the club offered bowling on Wednesday mornings, and even though she had never bowled before, Lynch attended and got better over the year and a half she spent playing. She also said that she continued to meet other community members, prompting her to keep renewing her membership.
Now with more than 100 members, the group offers a social organization, geared to provide a “quick orientation into community life through social gatherings and outings.”
Throughout the year, Newcomers and Friends hosts a bevy of group activities, from games of bridge or canasta to rounds of golf, hiking, book and movie discussions, restaurant dining, and exploring nooks and crannies of Los Angeles.
“We do a lot of things,” Lynch added. “Things come and go as interest expands and wanes.”
Club members are able to drop into the activities they wish to join, with no obligation to attend those they would rather skip. Each year, the club hosts a holiday party and end of the year party in June before it goes on hiatus for July and August.
“It’s just a bunch of people,” Lynch shared. “You kind of find your group—there’s four or five people you click with. It makes you feel like part of the community, it’s really been nice.”
Currently, many of the activities, like the movie and book discussions, meet via Zoom, but the club is also able to host in-person events, like an upcoming happy hour at Pearl Dragon that is slated to take place toward the end of the month. They are also planning a potluck luncheon at Veterans Gardens at Palisades Recreation Center.
Membership costs $25 per year. For more information, email email@example.com.
Rotary Club of Pacific Palisades
With origins dating back to February 1952, the Rotary Club of Pacific Palisades was originally founded to bring “the professionals and leaders of the new Pacific Palisades together to provide humanitarian service, goodwill and peace to their new city.”
Today, the club operates with a mission to “provide service to others, promote integrity and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its friendship of business, professional and community leaders.” There are more than 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million Rotarians around the world.
With a motto of “Service Above Self,” Club Parliamentarian Trish Bowe highlighted “camaraderie” and “having fun” as some of the benefits of joining. The Rotary Club supports community activities, including a toy drive, as well as donating to YMCA and Westside Food Bank.
“We are always looking for community-minded individuals to join our ranks and to have a great time along the way,” according to the club’s website.
New members are accepted all year round. In order to join, prospective members must be adults who show good character, integrity and leadership, as well as have a good reputation in their business profession and/or community; either live in, work in or have a connection to the Palisades area; and must be willing to have a lot of fun, attend weekly meetings, and give back to the downtown and global communities that the club serves.
“Visitors and prospective members are welcome and encouraged to attend club meetings,” the website continued. “To become an active member, you will need an existing club member to serve as your sponsor. Not surprisingly, many members are willing to assist and help guide you through the membership process.”
Meetings are currently online, due to COVID-19, with a Rotary Board Meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. and Rotary General Meeting on the remaining Tuesdays.
Upcoming speakers slated for meetings include Edward Parson, who will address the club on September 28 about “Climate Change: What’s (Probably) Coming, What’s Needed?” and LAFD Deputy Chief and Commander of the West Bureau Armando Hogan who will speak about the department’s current trends on October 12.
Bowe highlighted that the club will be having a dinner at The Draycott with Honorary Mayor Eugene Levy. Tickets will be sold and a winner will be announced at a later date.
For more information about joining or the upcoming dinner, visit the club’s website at rotary5280.org/clubinfo/pacific-palisades.
Pacific Palisades Garden Club
The Pacific Palisades Garden Club was founded to be a “community resource for gardening education, beautification and restoration.”
“The Pacific Palisades Garden Club recognizes that the natural environment supports health and well-being; that California coastal, canyon and foothill landscapes are a heritage to preserve in their rich diversity of species; and that the Garden Club’s beautification, restoration and school garden projects are important expressions of the community’s character,” according to its website.
“The purpose of the Pacific Palisades Garden Club is to promote the knowledge and love of gardening; to educate through meetings, tours and publications; and to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through projects that demonstrate stewardship of shared habitat and responsible use of resources.”
The club is currently hosting monthly meetings during its season from October to June, each with a speaker that shares on a gardening topic or interest. Previous speakers include David Mills, co-owner of Garden Temple in Studio City who presented on “The Value of Fountains for the Home Garden” in June, Genevieve Arnold with Theodore Payne Foundation and Danielle Dall’Armi with Rose Story Farm.
“When meeting in-person, we have a plant-sharing table and refreshments following our monthly meetings,” PPGC President Mary Schulz Shanahan shared. “We host a garden tour in the spring … When possible, we schedule outdoor garden trips and tours to local places like the Huntington Museum and Gardens, Self-Realization Fellowship Garden, Lotusland and other local gardens.”
New memberships, which are accepted year round, go for $30 for an individual and $35 per household. Members receive special pricing for trips and tours the club goes on.
“We welcome you to join our club to learn more about gardening by enjoying our speaker presentations,” Schulz Shanahan shared. “Memberships dues help support our club and make it possible for us to give grants to local school gardens and beautification projects.”
The club’s 2021 virtual garden tour, “June Bloom,” took place over summer and remains available for viewing on the website.
“Anyone who joins PPGC as a new member will receive a link to view our 2021 virtual garden tour with the purchase of their new membership,” Schulz Shanahan concluded.
For more information, visit pacpalgardenclub.org.
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