Busy event
The History Club of Los Gatos spent months planning the open house. (Courtesy of Emma Jewell)

After the throng exited the Jan. 25 History Club of Los Gatos open house, organizers Lisa Harris (the event chair) and Emma Jewell (co-chair) finally had a moment to take stock of the whirlwind event.

“We had a sign-in sheet and a lot of people just wanted to learn about us,” Harris said, confirming that at least 60 area residents turned up. “They wanted to know who we are, what we do and how we help communities in our area.”

The first thing to know about the history club is, it isn’t just ladies pouring over history texts (although they did plant the tree at Town Plaza Park 100 years ago).

Instead, the organization is a collection of women who volunteer their time and efforts toward worthy causes while getting to know one another better.

Harris says the event was structured so people could trickle in and out.

“We had food and drink,” she said. “And then what we did was, at the different tables, we had posters of the different aspects of our clubs—so, membership, community outreach, philanthropy, history, etcetera.”

Guests would go to the various stations and speak with the members who would answer whatever questions came up.

“I think it really led to more of an organic conversation,” Harris said.

“People just wandered around, they mingled.”

Representatives of various groups the club has supported in the past—such as Cancer Care Point, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, and New Museum Los Gatos—were also present at the clubhouse at 123 Los Gatos Blvd.

“A lot of it was just local women who were really interested who had driven past us a million times and wanted to know what their history club was about,” Jewell said.

“And some husbands, too,” Harris chimed in.

Even Councilmember Rob Moore popped by after his appearance at the community center planning session across town.

“It was a nice way for the community to have a chance to get to know each other as well,” Harris said.

Diana Catalina at open house
Diana Catalina at the open house. (Courtesy of Emma Jewell)

Jewell said it was a relief that so many people decided to attend the mid-week event.

“Because you run these kinds of events, and you never really know how many people you’re going to get,” she said. “We had a lot of RSVPs, but you never really know. But we were completely overwhelmed, really, by the number of people who showed up—and who were so enthusiastic, and so impressed with what we do.”

Harris said it was heartwarming.

“I felt supported by the community by having so many people show up,” she said. “So, it was nice.”

The History Club recently decided to open up its membership to a wider group of people in the region beyond the official jurisdictional boundary lines of the community.

Now that they’ve sparked initial interest, it will be up to the club to follow up and start to integrate the new members.

“We had a lot of people who asked us to contact them and send them some more information,” Jewell said. “And we will be inviting those women to future events, if they’d like to come along. We have some nice low-key lunches and coffees. We’re doing something for ‘Galentine’s Day.’ And so, we’re going to invite these women to come along and just get to know us and our members a little bit better. And we’ll see what develops from there.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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