South County Beat: All you need to join them is a birthday

A group of Five Cities Newcomers Club members enjoy cake at the recent birthday luncheon.
Photo courtesy of vicki fesler
A group of Five Cities Newcomers Club members enjoy cake at the recent birthday luncheon. Photo courtesy of vicki fesler

Decadent birthday cakes adorned the center of each table at a Pismo Beach seafood restaurant, tempting the 85 or so members of the Five Cities Newcomers Club gathered for their monthly luncheon.

“Please don’t bite into the cakes yet,” joked club President Heidi Boatman on Monday. “I know that dessert should be served first because life is so short. But try to control yourself.”

The club holds a birthday luncheon once a year, to celebrate members’ birthdays in one shot. The members chose their seats based on the month they were born, an arraignment that prompts them to meet new people.

The Five Cities Newcomers’ Club was founded more than 30 years ago, and despite its name, the volunteer-only club isn’t just for newcomers.

Club members include those who are recently retired, widowed, or just looking to meet new people and participate in activities such as hiking, beading, gardening, tennis, bowling, wine tasting and card games, among others.

Member Judy Borchert joined about two years ago, a while after she retired from her job as an office secretary at Oceano View Elementary and found the first year of retirement “very hard.”

Now, she plays mah-jongg on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cards on Wednesdays, and participates in a “wine and nibbles” group with her husband.

“I’ve met such nice people in the area who are in kind of the same situation you’re in,” she said, “people who want to get out and meet people, who needed something else to do.”

Club members also participate in fundraisers: In December, the club donated more than $650 to support Amazing Surf Adventures, a local nonprofit that uses surfing and other activities to assist physically and cognitively disabled individuals and disadvantaged youth.

The club has more than 320 members; about 100 of them are men and two-thirds joined as couples. Members who stay with the Five Cities Newcomers Club for more than four years “graduate” to its Act II group. There is also an alumni group. Each has a separate board and activities.

Luncheons for the newcomers group are held at various local restaurants, usually on the third Monday of each month.

For more information, go to http://newcomers.8m.com.

There are newcomers clubs across San Luis Obispo County for those wanting to meet other locals. They include:

Estero Bay Newcomers Club, for residents of Cayucos, Los Osos and Morro Bay. Luncheons are held on the third Wednesday of each month. Write to P.O. Box 455, Morro Bay, CA 93443 or e-mail estero new@yahoo.com; website is http://esteronew.com.

Nipomo Newcomers. Website is www.nipomonewcomers.com.

North County Newcomers. Luncheons are held the first Wednesday of each month. E-mail membership@northcountynewcomers.org or write to P.O. Box 4512, Paso Robles, CA 93447. Website is www.northcountynewcomers.org.

San Luis Obispo Newcomers. Luncheons held the first Wednesday of each month. E-mail slonew comers@gmail.com or leave a message at 354-1379; website is www.slonewcomers.org/SLO_1_Newcomers.

Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.