As a newcomer to La Jolla Newcomers Club, there are a number of things you will find out immediately about the group: It’s a warm, welcoming supportive environment in which to meet people; there are a great many people in La Jolla to greet and meet; and they have a great deal to share.
For more than 50 years, the La Jolla Newcomers Club has been helping new residents get acquainted with their new community and their neighbors. The club is open to anyone, couples and single men and women, who move to 92037, the La Jolla ZIP code. A “newcomer” is considered anyone who has been a resident of La Jolla for three years or less, though some allowance is made for special circumstances.
Club membership dues are $45 a year. Newcomers can come to two club meetings for free before they are expected to join and begin paying annual dues.
The Club began as a social offshoot of La Jolla Welcome Wagon before growing into an independent, non-profit organization. It has about 390 members who actively volunteer their leadership and knowledge to sponsor some two dozen interest groups, which are the club’s backbone. These groups range from games and outings to wine tasting, gourmet dining and discussion of books, art and movies.
At a March 21 meeting at 10 a.m. at The Living Room cafe at 1010 Prospect St. in La Jolla, about 20 local residents, some new to the Jewel, some not, turned out for the club’s informal monthly get-to-know-you meeting. The club meets the 3rd Friday of every month at 10 a.m. to promote friendship and good will among fledgling La Jolla residents.
Attendees at the March 21 get-together discussed who they were, where they were from, why they came to La Jolla, and, most importantly, why they joined - or were thinking of joining - La Jolla Newcomers Club. Most members are from elsewhere in the United States. Some are from elsewhere in the world.
Club Coffee Around Town chair Sarah Forster, a native South African, noted the La Jolla group broke away a few years ago from the international Newcomers organization because it wanted to be independent and run its own agenda. “It’s a social club,” she said. “You get to meet new people. It’s usually very casual. People just sit around and chat, talk about current affairs, then go their own way.”
“We’re very delighted to see so many people here this morning who are brand new,” said Elaine Eisenberg, the club’s membership vice president.
Eisenberg added there are just so many interest groups and activities in subcategories of The Newcomers Club that members can take advantage of to learn the area better and get better acquainted with their neighbors.
“We have about 17 interest groups,” Eisenberg said. “We had a guy recently in the art group who led a tour of the ships in the Maritime Museum, and we went on a submarine. In the summertime, we do things like go together to a Pop’s concert. You get to know what’s great in San Diego, not just La Jolla.”
Eisenberg added the Maritime Museum tour was really a fun activity and cost only $5 per person.
Herbert and Marie Cheyette shared that they were from New York City and that a primary reason why they have come to La Jolla is because “the weather is terrific.”
Was it a difficult transition moving from New York City to La Jolla for the Cheyettes?
Marie was quick to answer. “I really love the beauty and the relaxation,” she said. “I can play tennis every day of the week. I love flowers all year round. It’s great.”
Nina Crochet, who hails from New Orleans, said she felt it was easier to meet new people in the Jewel than it had been in her native city. “In New Orleans it’s hard to make friends,” Crochet said. “It’s very old-time, Old World, it’s an environment where everyone knows each other and it’s hard to break into (socially). Here, everybody is from elsewhere. They’re so nice. It’s like, wow, it’s so easy to make a friend.”
At La Jolla Newcomers Club throughout each month, there are many different get-togethers for social activities as well as special interests, such as film discussions, book clubs, museum trips, bridge, canasta, breakfasts, luncheons and dinners. Many activities include a speaker. There are also wine tastings, group outings and much more. Some of the events are larger, some smaller.
“Joining the La Jolla Newcomers Club has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done since moving here,” said club president Karen Hickman in the club’s online monthly newsletter. “I can’t begin to describe the sense of ‘belonging’ I have since meeting so many wonderful people, whom I now call my friends. I promise you will have the same experience.”
The next meeting of La Jolla Newcomers will be Friday, April 18 at 10 a.m. at Lean & Green, an organic restaurant at 7825 Fay Ave.. Suite 180, in La Jolla.
For more information about La Jolla Newcomers Club, call (858) 496-8655, e-mail info@LaJollaNewComers.org or visit www.LaJollaNewComers.org.