Lake Bluff’s Lisa Galeski has lived all over the country. A southern California native, she and her husband were recently offered the chance to return to their roots.
“The contract that brought us to the area ended and my husband was told he could work from anywhere in the states,” remembers Galeski. “Even though our family is in California, and we miss them terribly, this is now our home. This is where we belong.”
Galeski says the Newcomers Club of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest played an integral role in helping her make connections in the area. Now the president of the organization, she’s helping those new to the community find their way.
“Newcomers really changed my life,” explains Galeski. “When your children are adults and no longer in school, its hard to meet people. I’m not sure what we would have done without this group.”
The Newcomers’ Club of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest was founded by Mrs. Gilbert L. Lewis in the late 1950s. A nonprofit organization operated by an all-volunteer board, its purpose is to promote friendship among new residents of its namesake communities through meetings, luncheons, social events, and activities.
Any new resident of Lake Bluff or Lake Forest may join Newcomers within the first 18 months of residency, and most people find their way to the club through their real estate agents. While the group tends to primarily be women, membership includes the family and is limited to five years.
“By the time you’ve been with Newcomers for five years, you’re ready to move on,” says Galeski, who herself just reached the five-year mark. “It’s a way to keep our club fresh and helps the newer members bond with each other.
With more than 250 members, Newcomers is purely a social club that appeals to to a cross section of ages, singles, married couples, families with young children, and empty nesters. The club offers a vast number of programs and activities—from knitting and bunko to biking and book clubs—and is always open to new things being added. “We recently had a dog lover join our club, and she introduced a pup program. There is something for everyone,” Galeski adds.
Past president Alyson Dueringer has moved 11 times in her married life and the welcome she received from the Newcomers Club of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest was a first for her.
“I had never known a club like this in any other place we’ve lived,” Dueringer says. “It’s not even just a Midwest-nice thing. I’ve lived in other Midwest cities and not experienced the warmth and kindness that I’ve found in this club. Lisa and I are such good friends, and I’m not sure we would have ever have met had it not been for Newcomers.”
Both Galeski and Dueringer are passionate about keeping the mission of Newcomers Club alive. “I often think of how different my life would be without the people and friendships I’ve met through this incredible organization,” Galeski says. “I feel responsible to make sure such a club continues to be vibrant and available to new people coming into our beautiful communities.”
To learn more about the Newcomers Club of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, visit newcomerslblf.com.