Don’t be fooled by the sunny smiles and the gentle, helping hands: the Coronado Junior Woman’s Club is a force to be reckoned with. Almost 80 ladies strong, this club is responsible for some of the very traditions that define Coronado as a community, from Taste of Coronado to Halloween window painting, to the youth section at the Coronado Flower Show. The best part? The group inspires lasting connections between women, moms, and organizations on the island.
“For me, the biggest, best part of the club is giving back,” said Lyle Anderson, Vice President of the Coronado Junior Woman’s Club. “I don’t think people realize how hard everyone in this organization works. The members put in so much of their own time and really bring their talents and creative ideas to help us build these experiences for the community.”
The Coronado Junior Woman’s Club has its hands in a lot of projects, and it takes a crushing work ethic to pull everything off. First of all, there’s the inaugural Coronado Wine Classic on April 1st at the Community Center, and there’s Double Served, the festive tennis tournament benefiting Safe Harbor on April 28th, featuring three levels of play, libations and a DJ. Then there’s the aforementioned Flower Show Youth Section “Zoo’s Who” at the Coronado Flower Show, where kids are invited to submit picture plates with seeds or beans, grow plants, or create incredible creatures with fruits and vegetables.
And that’s just in the next month. The rest of the year, CJWC is busy doing things like helping fund the new Tiki Mascot at Coronado High School, or donating $20,000 to Outdoor Outreach (the Taste of Coronado beneficiary.) They also organize rummage sales, help manage the Thanksgiving Day Coloring Contest, and run the Marilyn Foster Scholarship program, whereby two graduating seniors from Coronado are awarded $2,000 each for establishing a commitment to their community.
“The club is very social, but there’s a lot of great things that come out of it. After having kids, the club is a place for me to get my brain back, and I’m thinking and really doing things to get back into that realm,” said Anderson.
Colby Freer, who, at her tenth season, is one of the club’s longest standing members, said that she loves the new connections she’s making with other women in the community and the opportunity to give in new ways.
“We encourage people to try different things, whether that’s reading essays for the scholarship or waking up early and getting windows taped off for Halloween window painting,” said Freer. “There’s always a committee or an event that needs volunteering; we have 15 committees cooking!”
To this day, CJWC’s fundraising events and hard work has helped fund playground equipment, Girl Scouts, art, music, drama, athletic programs and library activities. It also helps organizations like Sharp Coronado Hospital, Coronado DARE, Coronado Schools Foundation, Camp Wamp, San Diego Fisher House, Special Education, Monarch Schools, A Walk on Water, Camp Able, and Coronado Historical Society.
Although the ladies aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, there’s a big silver lining to all this hard work: new friendships that last for all seasons. Christine Mott, who moved to Coronado from the East Coast just before COVID hit, said it was tricky meeting new people on the island. She says she’s grateful for the genuine connections she has made by joining the CJWC.
“I kept hearing about Coronado Junior Women’s Club, but I wasn’t sure about it,” said Mott. “But it has been such an amazing experience and I have met so many great people. I’m so glad I joined.”
According to Anderson, the club has 30 new members this year, a huge boon to the club’s success.
“For a while, I felt like I knew everybody, and now I see all these new faces come in with new ideas,” said Anderson. “It really keeps the club fresh and fun.”
The CJWC celebrates these friendships with activities like their January Wellness meeting, where they had a special crystal sound bath and cacao ceremony from Saffron & Sage and Catalina De Leon. Then there’s their annual summertime progressive dinner held at various member homes. Transportation? Bikes, of course. These events help the women remember to take care of themselves, while assisting in the recruitment of new members. It’s a win-win.
“I’ve made so many fun mom friends,” said Freer. “And the monthly meetings are such a great excuse to get out of the house for a girls’ night out. We usually go to a restaurant in the community after the meeting; we make it fun.”
And the friendships and connections seem to be working out for everyone. After all, the CJWC has been a part of the island culture since 1960.
If you’re interested in becoming a member, all you need to attend two meetings and work on an event. Annual dues are $85. Members usually meet in a home of a member on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm. Visit the Calendar or find the CJWC on Facebook for the most updated information. The meetings consist of food, drinks, great conversation and working towards club goals.