The American Association of University Women’s Morro Bay branch was launched 54 years ago. Today, it has 90 members representing Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.
The original goal remains the same: Workplace and educational equity. However, today men and graduates with associate’s degrees are also encouraged to become active members.
Janelle Richardson, media coordinator, recently gathered several long-standing members together to reminisce as they celebrate 25 years producing the Estero Bay garden tour, their annual signature fundraiser.
Chairwoman Joyce Bauer explained that Betty Kennedy of Cayucos introduced the idea of a garden tour.
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“It gave all the members something positive to do. People often ask us for tickets. We’ve raised over $35,000 the past five years for scholarships, Tech Camp and community involvement.”
This year’s “Celebration by the Sea,” scheduled for Sunday, May 1, will showcase six gardens in Cayucos, Morro Bay and Los Osos. The cost remains $10 and includes punch and cookies.
Past President Nancy Burke said AAUW was a good way to instantly get involved.
“I moved here in 2000. I was a member in Sacramento but never active. I became active to get to know people here and instantly became the garden tour chair, then moved up the chairs to president. Being president turned out to be the best year I’ve had in AAUW because everyone pitched in.”
Richardson said, “Put two AAUW members in a room, and they have fun getting to know each other. Opportunities have changed for women. We thought we had to be teachers then. We’ve progressed today in pay equity, but still women earn 77 cents to each man’s $1.
“We raise funds to send girls to Tech Camp to encourage them to study engineering and science. AAUW still has lots of social events besides general meetings antique groups, a walkers’ groups, stitchery, couples’ dine-out. And we still play bridge and have book discussion groups.”
Norma Dengler’s long-standing membership does not reflect her age.
“I was the youngest member when I joined and still worked full-time. I was the first to attend a conference in San Francisco. I saw the benefits and encouraged others to go.”
Past President Ellen Pool enjoyed sharing her poetry with the group.
“I’d read poetry before each board and membership meeting to give them a little culture,” she smiled. Her favorite memory was participating in the Cayucos July 4th parade. She loved hearing the “you go, girls” shouts as they marched.
Current President Sharon Meyer would love for potential recruits to talk membership, attend a second Saturday meeting or buy garden tour tickets.
Contact her at 748-4731 or www.morrobayaauw.org.
Contact Judy Salamacha at email@example.com or 801-1422.