Cambrian: Opinion

Newcomers to Cambria or longtime residents can connect through an old club with a new name

Lu-Ann Kelly leads members of the formerly named Newcomers Club, now the Cambria Neighbors Club, in dance moves they’ll be performing in this years Pinedorado parade.
Lu-Ann Kelly leads members of the formerly named Newcomers Club, now the Cambria Neighbors Club, in dance moves they’ll be performing in this years Pinedorado parade.

I’ve had the privilege of living in Cambria since 1981. I’ve been blessed with many good friends and hundreds of lovely acquaintances through my work in various capacities and via raising two children here.

I’m also not shy.

Not that you have to be shy, but if you’ve not been afforded the opportunities I have had to meet folks, any one of the social clubs (of which there are many) can get you connected. There is one in particular that has undergone some changes.

There are Newcomers Clubs in many towns big and small. But, like a lot of things in Cambria, people get involved, fall in love with the platform of engagement and carry on indefinitely. So it is with the Newcomers Club. I’ll admit, I would chuckle when I realized many of the members had been in town and even the club for 10 years — hardly new. But then, that is kind of the nature of the thing, to get comfortable, to feel welcome, to be part of something. And they do it well.

“Originally started 21 years ago as Cambria Newcomers Club, our mission was and still is to promote fellowship among members and other interested residents of the community and to acquaint members with social and educational opportunities available in the area," President Cindy Stiles told me. "To satisfy the second part of our mission, we are an umbrella organization for many interest groups and clubs such as book clubs, birdwatching, wine appreciation, bunco, etc.

“Over the years, members who started out as ‘newcomers’ to Cambria have matured into longtime residents and yet most have opted to continue on as members. In recent years, it became evident that the name no longer fit the profile of the club and was actually a deterrent to growing our membership. This spring the membership was given the opportunity to change its name to Cambria Neighbors Club, and the vote passed by a margin of 4 to 1. Since adopting our new identity many longtime residents of Cambria have joined up, bringing our current membership to 262 households.

“Members and their guests and those who are interested in joining may attend monthly luncheon meetings that include an interesting program or entertainment. Luncheons are held at Cambria Pines Lodge, San Simeon Lodge Bar and Grill or the Cavalier in San Simeon (reservations required). And all members are invited to join or start interest groups.

“Anyone who lives in Cambria or comes here often enough to participate in our activities is welcome to join. Annual dues are $25. For more information on joining, contact our membership chair Cynthia Nakane"

There is, in fact, an interesting program on Thursday, July 19, at the San Simeon Beach Bar and Grill (they meet the third Thursday of every month). Native Marj Sewell promises to take you on a fascinating journey of what it was like to grow up in Old San Simeon with Hearst’s grandsons. She has a passion for the history of the Cambria/San Simeon area and is an historical docent and a lovely storyteller. All are welcome. For more info, call 805-203-5701. Cost is $21, and reservations due by Friday, July 13.

So, whether you’re new to town or have been here a while, we’re all neighbors and you’re welcome at the newly renamed Cambria Neighbors Club!

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at Email her at