A Few Service Clubs in Napa
By Kathleen Reynolds
Do you: 1. Want to make new friends, and 2. Want to be a positive contributor to your community? Then, joining a service club may be for you. But where do you start? What’s the difference in the clubs in our area? We asked several Napa service clubs these questions and encourage you to check their websites for further information. Both Rotary and Kiwanis have more than one group that meets at different times and days of the week.
The first club we asked was the lunchtime Rotary Club of Napa, which meets each Wednesday at 12 noon at the Napa Elks Lodge. Their website is naparotary.org.
It was first chartered in 1920. Since then, it has dedicated itself to the goals of Rotary International, which includes the worldwide eradication of Polio.
“We have been around the valley for over 100 years,” says Rotary Club of Napa President Jim Lyon. “We have a history of service. But it is not just the projects, it is the membership and things that we do every day both professionally and personally. We take pride in our club for the diversity of membership and service. Rotary is a family. The bonds within our club are strong and the Rotary Club of Napa networks with the two other clubs in Napa plus the thousands of other clubs around the world.”
“We have raised millions of dollars for both the Lighthouse for the Blind and the Enchanted Hills Camp on Mt. Veeder Road plus services for veterans.”
How are they different from other service clubs?
“We are different because of our membership. The Rotary Club of Napa Rotarians are men and women who live, work and play in Napa Valley. We are people who care deeply for the health and welfare of all people and the life on this planet. In the end it is all good.”
The Rotary Club of North Napa meet on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. at 801 8th Street, northnaparotary.org.
This club was chartered in 1975 with 26 members. The club has grown since then but still describes itself as “small but mighty.” Their first fundraiser was a Pit Barbecue which raised $2,500 for playground equipment and that tradition has continued through the years. Their current fundraiser is the Rotary Club of North Napa Homebrewers Classic which showcases Bay Area Homebrewers and their beer with funds raised going to various local nonprofits.
“We have over 40 years of giving back to this community through our local nonprofit organizations, in both financial donations and hands on work projects,” says Sherry Webber, Rotary Club of North Napa president. “One of our long-time members said, “We really have made this a better place to live.”
“Our biggest accomplishment is the support we’ve given to NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services. We’ve renovated and maintained their living conditions where over 100 women, men and children go to seek shelter annually.”
“We have many members who know Napa well and care deeply about our community. I think it’s who the people are that make us different from other clubs, their willingness to care and give back regularly; their caring nature to make people feel worthy of living in a better environment.”
The third Rotary group is Rotary Club of Napa Sunrise, napasunriserotary.net, which meets at Silverado Country Club on Thursdays at 7:00 a.m.
The Kiwanis Club of Napa, kiwanisclubofnapa.org, is another large organization. It meets every Thursday at 12 noon at the Elks Lodge in Napa.
The Kiwanis Club of Napa is within Division 8 of the Cal-Nev-Ha District of Kiwanis International. Founded in 1922, it is the oldest club in Division 8. The Club’s priority is to assist the youth and seniors of the community in two primary ways: by community giving and by performing direct community service.
To support its community giving program, the Club holds two major annual fundraisers. The Crab Feed is held in February and the fall fundraiser is held in October, each of which typically net approximately $40,000. These funds are then distributed throughout the year to youth and senior-oriented community programs and to graduating high school seniors via scholarships.
The Club also provides direct community service.
Jill Cadloni is the Kiwanis of Napa president. “What makes our club so special is that we are one big happy family of 120 members who enjoy having fun doing service projects for our community,” says Jill. “Our club’s biggest achievement is having built over 75 playgrounds for the children of Napa County. The Club also built benches along the River Trail, so users have a place to sit.”
They take handicapped children on special trips throughout the year and participate in the annual Salvation Army holiday bell-ringing fundraiser. In the past, they have built a greenhouse at Connolly Ranch, provided holiday gifts to needy families and participated in Rebuilding Together. The Club focuses on helping people that need a hand and not a handout.
And most recently, The Kiwanis Club of Napa organized the very successful “Napa Valley To Ukraine Benefit Concert” held at the Napa Valley Expo. It was a very intense three weeks of planning, with the help of many community members joining in the effort. Over $102,000 was raised for the refugee humanitarian relief, a proud accomplishment.
“We are different from other service clubs in that we provide a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service and to build better communities all the while with volunteering our skills, rather than just writing a check.”
Another Kiwanis organization is Kiwanis of Greater Napa, kiwanisgreaternapa.org, meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m. at Downtown Joe’s in Napa. The second and fourth Tuesday of the month, they have a Zoom meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Soroptimist International of Napa, soroptimistnapa.org, meets on the second and third Tuesdays of the month, at 12 noon, at the Embassy Suites. Soroptimist is a service club that supports women and girls with access to education and training.
“I feel our club is special because of how long we have been a club,” says President Leigh Krieger.
“We are celebrating our 100-year anniversary this year. We’ve been a chapter here in Napa for 81 years. Also, the women in the club are amazing.”
“It’s hard to choose the most important contribution we make because there are so many. I would say it is the money that we have been able to continuously give out every year in scholarships. The last couple of years we have been able to give out almost $10,000 in scholarships to eight women, as well as awards for girls in the community.”
“Our club is a bit different because our focus is on women and girls both here and throughout the world. We’re making lives better for them and their families.”
Do these organizations sound good to you? Check their websites for membership information.