Ms. Fara Pourshariati, the President of the Cary Newcomers Club, tells us about all the Cary Newcomers Club has to offer to new and not so new area residents.
Cary Newcomers Club is a vibrant and well-established social club serving members in the area for 35 years. Fara is the current President of this social club that boasts an annual membership of 200+ households. The Club focuses on providing members with a social network available through large annual events, small special interest groups and online connections. The Club also shares information about the community, local attractions, and points of interest. We support a different local charity each year and provide members with information about volunteer opportunities.
Fara, thank you for taking the time to discuss the Cary Newcomers Club with us today. As the president of the CNC, you lead one the best organized and beneficial social organizations in our area. Besides having responsibility for assuring that this success continues uninterrupted during your term of office what do you see as your biggest challenges and issues moving forward?
Our new slogan sums it up “you don’t have to be new to join the fun”. We want residents to know that “newcomer” means more than people who have recently relocated but is also open to those in a new phase in their lives. And once a member we want you to enjoy your time in the Club. Offering new special interest groups proposed and run by our members, we hope to broaden our appeal and keep members in the Club.
Can you please give us a few more details about your goals and objectives?
Social media has been a goal for this year. Our Club recently created a new website to help people find us. And we are now on Facebook making it easier for our members to connect.
We are trying to expand our special interest groups to appeal to more members and are encouraging spouses to be more active in the Club.
We realize our members are our best advertising! This year we created business cards for them to give their friends and neighbors who may be interested in joining our Club. We’ve also distributed information flyers in public spaces such as the libraries and community centers.
You probably recall that we published an article about the Cary Newcomers Club earlier this year and our readers probably remember that the CNC is primarily a social club whose main purpose is to help members make friends through social activities, learn more about their new community.
Can you please give us more details?
Yes. We are here to stimulate new associations and friendships through shared social activities, help newcomers to the Cary area identify with their community, and promote interest in local civic, cultural and service programs.
We also educate members about their new community through local, civic, cultural and service programs. Trips to local museums, concerts, sports games, restaurants and other points of interest are arranged.
And just to refresh our readers on another point, and in case there are any new arrivals to our area who don’t know much about the CNC, who exactly can become a member?
This is a very good question. Although we are called the “Cary” Newcomers Club, we actually welcome anyone to join who can come to our meetings and participate in some of our many events and activities. At the present time we have members not only from Cary but also from other areas such as Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh, Garner, and Durham.
What about the word “Newcomers” in Cary Newcomers. Does this mean you only welcome new arrivals to our area, and if so, how long can they stay a member before they need to drop out?
This is another very good question and an excellent point that very much needs clarification. While our name says “newcomers”, we actually welcome those new to the area as well as those entering a new stage in their lives. Actually anyone can join for any reason and no one ever has to leave no matter how long they have been a member.
And it is never "too late" to join our club. Life has a way of throwing us challenges that trigger the need for new friends. Retirement, the loss of a spouse, or changes in a caretaker role, as examples, necessitate new associations and friends.
Wow that is very important for everyone to know. Remind us once again about your Special interest member groups.
Well, we sponsor more than 20 regularly planned activities and members can also start a new group based on some common interest. And there are both daytime and nighttime activities that meet regularly.
Can you describe some of these?
Sure. Some of our regular activities include; book clubs, bridge clubs, bowling, coffee groups, bunco, dinner groups, international group, knitting/sewing, golf, movie outings, poker, Mexican Train dominoes, sightseeing trips, wine groups, themed dinners and walking groups.
We also host some annual events as well including a Halloween Party, Holiday Party and Fashion Show plus other ad hoc events such as a Durham Bulls game or tour of Duke Gardens.
And when do you usually meet?
Our monthly meetings are typically held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Cary. There will be a social time before each meeting. While these are general business meetings they always include a guest speaker who discusses a subject that will be of wide-appeal; to the members. Those that wish to can continue socializing during lunch at one of our local restaurants follows our meetings.
Our monthly speakers touch on a wide variety of topics and are geared to helping members learn about all their community has to offer. Some former speakers include; the Mayor of Cary, Cary Rec department managers, leaders of local charities, wellness experts from local hospitals, representatives from local recreational areas like Bond Brothers, the NC Symphony, NC Museums, staff from Our State and Walter magazine among many others.
About how many members do you currently have?
Our annual membership is approximately 230 households at the present time. Some will leave the area and some new arrivals to the area will become members, but we stay at about this same figure.
We also understand that you participate in local fundraisers and that you support a number of local charities. Is this still the case?
Yes it is - Our Club supports a different local charity selected by our membership every year. We raise money through social and fundraising events planned by our charity committee throughout the year. Those events include; game day, trivia night, holiday bazaar, among others.
This year our Club is supporting SAFE Child. Past charities include; Polka Dot Momma (skin cancer), Read n Feed and Note in a Pocket.
What about volunteering?
We always encourage our members to volunteer in conjunction with the charities we support and we often have speakers from local charities (such as Dorcas Ministry) to inform members of community volunteer opportunities.
Can you tell us how this all got its start?
Welcome Wagon was founded by Pat Holt here in 1978, would later become the Cary Newcomers Club in 1985. Although times have changed in more than forty years and member interests and their activities have evolved, Cary Newcomers Club continues in the spirit of its predecessor—it welcomes new neighbors and supports local charities. We still include a CNC flyer in the Welcome Wagon packs distributed to new residents.
What would you say the major changes you have experienced yourself at the CNC in the last 2 years?
I would be glad to and we have made several significant advances during this period. Probably the major thing to me is that we are finally online! One of our biggest challenges was the development of a Club website. And now that we have our own website, not only can we provide basic Club information, we can also links members to our member directory, as well as send out monthly newsletter and email reminders of upcoming social events.
We have also joined social media with our member’s only face book page. Members can now connect in real time online.
We have also expanded the types of member groups we offer to include more diverse activities and have encourage more men to join our Club.
What about member fees for your events and activities?
Most of our "free" activities are for members only. But generally, when we hold our charity or social events, there is an associated ticket fee--our bylaws require us to be net zero on every event. We both raise money for our charity and give all profits to it or we have a social event and extras beyond costs go to door prizes for members.
I also want to tell you that we area 501(c)7 social club - an incorporated, not-for-profit, all-volunteer organization.
Can you tell us about some other significant, but perhaps lesser-known benefits that the CNC provides its members?
Our members all have something basic in common, they want to make new friends and learn about their community. They are open to learning and trying new things with new people!
The Club makes it easy but organizing these social events. All members need to do is sign up to join a group. The small socials groups meet regularly and give members a chance to get to know each other. We also sponsor some events at local restaurant, museums or other points of interest for members to attend and learn about the area. Speakers at our monthly meetings cover topics about the community, local attractions or volunteer opportunities.
Our Club encourages members to try new things or by joining different groups or maybe attending a special trip. Many volunteer to run special events or serve as a board member or group coordinator.
Fara, you have given those of us who do not belong to the CNC a lot to think about. Just a few more questions that perhaps we should have asked earlier. How much are dues and how does one go about joining the CNC?
Our dues are only $30 per year and this is for the household and not for each person in the household. As far as for joining there are several ways you canbecome a member. Most people come to a monthly meeting and join at that time. We also have a membership registration form on our website that one can complete and mail to our PO Box 5071, Cary NC 27512.
Thank you Fara for taking the time to let us know more about Cary Newcomers. I’m sure many of our readers may be interested in joining your group, making new friends and learning more about their community. Check them out on www.carynewcomers.com
Cary Newcomers Club meets the first Wednesday of the month year round (except July) at the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church at High House Rd in Cary. The meetings begin at 10:00 but social time starts at 9:30. Please visit the website for more information www.carynewcomersclub.com