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Make new friends, but keep the old
The Fortuna Palms Community Club is hosting a St. Patrick's Dinner on Friday. The menu includes corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, carrots, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks.
A social hour at 4:40 p.m. will be followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and must be bought before the event. For more information on tickets, call Peggy Rose at 345-2702.
Costumes are encouraged, so don't be surprised if you see a leprechaun or two.
Nowadays it's not unusual for neighbors to be strangers, but for the past 30 years a local club has been bringing community members together.
“The Fortuna Palms Community Club is a social gathering place for the people who live in the Foothills,” explained Joanne Redmond, club president.
“We're about having friendships and social groups. It's about camaraderie, a way to meet people and find new friends.”
The club, which has a clubhouse at 10812 S. Avenue 14E, offers “all sorts of fun activities” for locals and visitors. The biggest event is the annual St. Patrick's Dinner of corned beef and cabbage.
The club hosts breakfasts, potlucks and suppers so community members can get to know each other. The Monday night hamburger feed is a favorite.
Members can play pool, cards and games, darts or horseshoes. Or they may choose to quilt and sew in the crafts area.
“There are traditional activities that we've done for years. Some are new. Last year we had a lot of crafts, with members teaching classes,” Redmond said.
Classes include beading, painting, woodcarving, line dancing and water aerobics. Not surprisingly, for many the biggest draw is the year-round 20x40-foot heated swimming pool.
The club also holds annual yard and bake sales to raise money for clubhouse maintenance.
Many of the activities are geared toward older members, simply because they are the most active in the club. But kids are very welcome.
The club also has a book exchange so members can “bring in a few books, take a few books,” Redmond said.
Members look out for each other, as evidenced by the “members helping members” bulletin board.
It also offers presentations with practical information that is useful to members, such as inviting a crime prevention specialist from the Yuma County Sheriff's Office to talk about what residents can do to protect themselves from burglaries, ID theft and scams.
The club finds topics that interest members. “Older people can get caught up in scams so easily,” Redmond said. “We try to keep our neighbors informed.”
But the club also feels a responsibility toward the whole community, which is why it holds yearly food and blood drives. This February, the club collected more than 1,300 pounds of food.
And there's not a single paid person on the staff and board. “Everything we do is volunteer-based,” Redmond said.
Which is exactly how the club got started – it was all built by volunteers.
In 1981, a group of neighbors from the Foothills met at the home of Leroy and Yvonne Bailey to discuss forming a community club. At that time, they selected the name Fortuna Palms Community Club.
In April 1982, the club was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and in June of that year, the club bought a lot from Foothills Development Co.
The club held a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the 60x40-foot clubhouse in February 1983. The grand opening was celebrated on Jan. 17, 1985.
Hank Schechert, owner of Foothills Development Co., donated money for the swimming pool, which was constructed, also by volunteers, in late 1984.
In 2000, a 24x40-foot addition was built, which is mostly used for crafts. The clubhouse has a big room and kitchen that can be rented out to members.
The club currently has 350 members, but the number typically grows as more people sign up through the end of the year.
New members are always welcomed.
“We're a very friendly club. We encourage new members and we encourage them to get involved,” Redmond said.
The membership fee is $130 a year for an individual or $200 a year for a married couple or family.
“We've been here for 30 years and people who belong to it love it,” Redmond noted.
For more information or to apply for membership, call 271-1432.