Let the Games Begin! St. Germaine Children’s Charity invites newcomers to fundraising play days in La Jolla

For more than 20 years, a group of women have gathered at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club once a month for an afternoon of games and camaraderie to help raise money for St. Germaine Children’s Charity, whose goal is to stop child abuse in San Diego County.

Now, the approximately 24 current members are looking for more people to join them. Participants (predominantly women, but men are welcome) can play any game they’d like, as long as it’s suitable for a table of four people. Most play Bridge. Other games include Mahjong, Rummikub and Canasta.

The so-called “Games Day” group meets 10 a.m. the first Tuesday of the month, and plays until lunch, around noon. After lunch, participants can stay if they’d like, for as long as they’d like, but players typically leave by 2 or 3 p.m. Players do not have to be members of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club or St. Germaine Children’s Charity to participate.

Current group president Marguie Bartels explained, “To sign up, you get a group of four friends together and let us know you are coming by at least the Friday before. You have to have your own group, but we have a short list of substitutes in case someone falls out. Everyone can do their own thing. They decide what they want to play and everyone is in charge of their own table.”

Added regular player Sarah Forster, “People like it because you play at your own pace … it’s a beautiful setting and the lunch is so sumptuous. People like to get together and play Bridge, and with us, they can enjoy the club and its facilities without needing to be a member.”

The monthly gathering was started more than 20 years ago (exactly when is a bit of a mystery) by St. Germaine founder Barbara Christensen, as an alternative to the formal fundraisers, such as the Silver Tea and galas.

“It was supposed to be for St. Germaine members, so they could have fun and still give something to charity. But now you don’t have to be a member to participate. A lot has changed since the beginning. For example, the ladies wore suits and high heels back then, but now we wear jeans,” said Geri Horton, who ran the group for 10 years before handing it over to Bartels. “I like the camaraderie, and I like coming to the Beach & Tennis Club. The ambiance and the company are great — the Bridge could be better, I’ve gotten some terrible cards today, but it’s a lot of fun.”

To sign up or get more details, e-mail