The Girl’s Community Club of Saugerties is not affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club. Nor is it, strictly speaking, a club for girls at all. Despite what its name suggests, the Girl’s Community Club is actually a club for women. And to clear up any other lingering confusion, the Girl’s Community Club of Saugerties is an independent organization that — unlike the other two women’s clubs in town — is not affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC).
Whew. Well, now that that’s all straightened out, what is there to know about the Girl’s Community Club? According to the records compiled by current member and club historian Sherian Thornton, the club was founded on March 24, 1928 by Elsie Thornton, Rose Sour (Tress), Ann McCormack and Anna Mae Johnson. They held meetings at the Saugerties Community House Hall, where they hosted their first organized event on May 2, 1928: a club dance with music by Montano’s Orchestra for an admission fee of 35 cents.
In wartime, the Girl’s Community Club sponsored a bond booth in the lobby of the Orpheum Theatre, selling an impressive $8,700 in Series E bonds for the cause. They sent care packages throughout the war years to local men and women who were deployed overseas. Each package included a note that read, “ To all of you in khaki and blue, we send this greeting warm and true; our thoughts are with you day by day, while you speed victory on its way. We hope our boxes have brought you cheer.”
Other major fundraisers were an annual Christmas party for needy girls within the Saugerties community, who received clothing and gifts. The club also sponsored an annual bus trip to New York City, a tradition still going on today. They held fundraising fashion shows, Victorian-themed tea parties, gourmet dinner raffles, cookbook creation and sales, sponsorship in walks to fight cancer, flea markets and volunteered to help other nonprofit organizations raise money.
Current club president Marilyn Bucher has been at the helm for two years now and a member of the club for six years prior to that. She says that the Girl’s Community Club that was founded 86 years ago to be “a social environment for young women to share information and support for issues in the community” is still much the same at heart. The times we live in might require doing a few things in a different way, but overall, the goal of service to community within a social club for women remains.
Why does a woman join the Girl’s Community Club? What is she looking for and what does she find?
She is interested in supporting the community and looking for a warm social environment.
When and where are your meetings?
We meet September through June. We take the summer off. Our meetings are on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the members’ homes, so we have a cap of 30 people.
How many members are there today in the club?
We have 24 members. Some of them are longtime members, like Dottie Spies, Pat Blundell and Gert Moser, and we’ve actually gotten quite a few new members over the last three-to-five years.
Who are the current members?
Patricia Blundell, Marilyn Bucher (president), Kathy Carroll, Mary Ellen Curry (secretary), Jamie Fine, Mary Frank, Suzanne Frederick, Colleen Greco, Thomasine Helsmoortel, Angela Houlihan (vice-president), Carol Ann Kaelin, Suzanne LeBlanc, Nancy MacDowell, MaryLou McSpirit, Gertrude Moser, Kelly Myers, Patricia Praetorius (treasurer), Dottie Spies, Lucy Stagich, Leeanne Thornton, Sherian Thornton (club historian), Barbara Yosh, Juanita Wilsey, Shirley McLaren and honorary member, Joan Thornton.