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  • Adrienne Fawcett

Breaking New Ground: Club Enjoys Boom Time

By Adrienne Fawcett

Since the pandemic started in March 2020, more than 1,300 properties have been sold in Lake Forest, and more than 1,000 of those were purchased by new residents. For the Newcomers’ Club of Lake Bluff & Lake Forest, it’s truly been a boom time.

Started more than 60 years ago, the club is a social organization that mitigates the loneliness of moving by offering fellowship through a range of member events –picnics, parties, cultural outings, service opportunities and much more. There are more than 225 families in the club, and the schedule has never been more robust.

Club President Shannon Cook moved to the community from North Carolina four years ago. Here are her insights about the club: Why should someone join the Newcomers’ Club?

No matter where you move from, getting settled in a new place can be a daunting task. The Newcomers’ Club jumpstarted that process for us and really made Lake Forest feel like home. We loved that our social calendar was full right away, and it was so easy to sign up for events and get involved. We met many of our local friends through the club.

Club members gather during a recent picnic in Lake Bluff. Photo by Shannon Cook Once you join, you’ll receive the Newcomers’ newsletter, which highlights upcoming activities. And you’ll get access to the member area of our website, which includes the club’s calendar and directory.

With so many people moving here, how busy is the club?

Our membership is up and it's a fun, active time for sure! It’s been exciting to see the member engagement and great turnout at activities. Our enthusiastic volunteers have planned more than 115 activities and events this year. We have a full, fun spring calendar under way now, including a Kentucky Derby cocktail party, the BIG Ta Do (our largest ladies’ night out of the year) and luncheons at local restaurants and country clubs.

What typical activities does Newcomers’ Club offer?

Whether it’s our monthly luncheons, a book discussion group, park playgroups, hiking open lands, or enjoying our evening socials ─ we try to have something for everyone. We also have ladies’/guys’ nights out, coffees, happy hours, game nights, family outings, golf, cross-country skiing and more. We schedule activities at a mix of times to accommodate schedules – weekdays, evenings and weekends. We also encourage members to start new activities, depending on their interests and suggestions. One of our newer members is starting a Mahjong group. I’m looking forward to trying it!

What are the most popular activities?

Luncheons, ladies’ nights out and couples’ evening socials have always been popular for us. This year, with so many young families moving to the area, our family activities have been well attended. For example, our spring picnic has over 170 registrants.

Are there any men who are the primary member of the group and/or is there a Newcomers' for Men group?

Yes, the Newcomers’ Club is open to all new residents within 18 months of moving to Lake Bluff or Lake Forest. Membership includes your immediate family, and some families sign up under the wife’s email and others under the husband’s email. We have members in all stages of life – singles, couples, families, empty-nesters. Members can be in the club for up to five years.

As far as men’s activities, we have an active guys’ night out group, which meets monthly. And we have a variety of couples’ events, like our cocktail parties, monthly happy hours, and special activities such as learn-to-play paddle parties. Coming up in June, we have a party box reserved at a Chicago Dogs baseball game. It was a big hit last year, and we are doing it again.

The club is having a New Member Welcome on Sunday, May 15. Visit for details.


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