Flyers were passed out during the Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago with information about the Riverbank Federated Women’s Club to inform the community about the club and to possibly gain new members.
The club was organized in 1966 and was federated in February 1967 with Glenda Alpers as the first president of the club.
Current Co-President, Marilyn McRitchie explained that the club accomplished so many things when it first was created back when the community center was just being built and possibly when the “City of Action” slogan was given to the City of Riverbank.
“We have a mission statement that has been around since the beginning and it has never been changed that I know of, it is ‘To promote the interest of its members in a program of uniting influence along cultural, educational, and civic lines’,” stated McRitchie.
In 1976, the Club received the Distinguished Service Award from Sears which included a donation of $10,000. The Women’s Club was able to use these funds to purchase the grand piano that is at the community center, along with dishes, silverware, chairs, tables, donated tables to Jacob Myers Park and some benches.
“When I was president we donated bleachers for the tennis courts,” said McRitchie. “We also used to help for several years with the VIP reception on the Friday night of the Cheese and Wine and last year we prepared the cheese samples.
“It was a wonderful event.”
The club has volunteered in the past several years for the Cheese and Wine event and they will have an informational booth at this year’s event.
The club has several projects throughout the year that they participate in like giving scholarships to high school senior graduates. In order to be eligible for a scholarship the senior must reside in Riverbank but can be from a variety of high schools.
The club hosts a holiday luncheon where tables are decorated and people are invited to purchase a seat at a table. The funds raised are used for a scholarship to send students to Tech Trek, which is a science and math camp for girls.
“The luncheon has been a very successful fundraiser that we just started a few years ago,” stated McRitchie. “The camp is pretty expensive to go to. They go to Fresno for a week and are exposed to math and science.”
For approximately 25 years the club sponsored the Miss Riverbank Scholarship Pageant until it ended. McRitchie and others started it back up again, however, as a speech contest.
“At that time it was still a Miss Riverbank Scholarship contest but everybody had to give a speech and they modeled work clothes,” explained McRitchie. “We also had workshops for the girls like going on interviews along with several other areas.”
After a few years the enthusiasm for the Miss Riverbank Scholarship faded and the attendance dwindled down to only a few participants.
The Riverbank Federated Women’s Club also knits baby hats for newborn babies that are delivered to all the local hospitals including Kaiser, Memorial, Doctors, and Oak Valley Hospital in Oakdale. Anyone that would like to participate in knitting hats for the babies are welcome to and do not have to be a member of the club.
A few other ways the club reaches out to the community are with an annual enchilada take-out fundraiser, poinsettia sale, and adopt a family for holiday time.
Some of the activities club members can enjoy include a Hutton’s Hamlet musical performance held at the community center around April. A robotics demonstration presented by Beyer High School held around the last meeting of the year was also a fun event to watch, according to McRitchie.
“Those kids are really amazing, the time they put into it, how much they are learning in that program besides robotics,” McRitchie added. “It certainly reaches all areas of their lives, like working together and good practice for later on, too.”
The club has various speakers like local author Glenn Ditman who taught a class for one of their programs.
Another activity club members engage in is crafts that are created for and delivered to the residents at the care home in Riverbank.
Currently there are 22 members in the club that are all women but the club revised its bylaws so it is now open to anyone who would like to join a club that benefits the community with a variety of outreach projects.
The current board members include Co-Presidents, Mary Lomax and Marilyn McRitchie; Vice Presidents, Leanne Jones Cruz and Rafedah Carella; Recording Secretary, Juli Campbell and Mary Wolgamot; Corresponding Secretary, Judy Rossi; Treasurer, Marie Shubin; Membership, Jeanine Tucker; and Parliamentarian, Diana McGinnis.
Meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month at the Boy Scout Hall in Riverbank and everyone is invited to attend.
The meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16 will be a salad social with dessert provided by the board members that starts at 6:30 p.m.
For more information call 209-863-9789 or 209-869-1760.
“People are welcome to attend a meeting to see if they are interested in joining,” stated McRitchie. “We have people from all over the community in our club which is a good way to get to meet other people and I think it brings the community together a little bit more.”