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Newcomers offers equal doses of friendship, compassion

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It’s a social club, for sure, but some of the underlying reasons behind the Newcomers Club of Marco Island are deeply emotional.

Underlining this, incoming President Jodi Pree elicited not just a few tears when she delivered her speech at the club’s recent installation ceremony at the Marco Island Yacht Club.

“We all fell in love with Marco when we first drove over the Jolley Bridge. Our heads filled with our dreams of an island paradise to live in, to retire to, to share with our growing families,” Pree said.

“What we didn’t realize at the time was that our little piece of paradise didn’t shield us from all of life’s problems. Living in paradise hasn’t shielded us from disease, illness, injuries, the loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, or loss of a child. It hasn’t shielded us from heartache, addiction, divorce, financial hardship.”

It’s times like these, she said, “when we need our girlfriends most. This is why Newcomers is so important, and why I’m passionate about this social group. How fortunate are we to have our Newcomers girlfriends there for us for our joyous occasions, but they are also there in friendship on our darkest days.”

Her thoughts are echoed by a member writing on the club’s website, and using only her first name, Susan.

"After I lost my husband and found myself alone in Florida far away from anyone that I knew, I was asking myself what do I do now. I was lost,” she writes.

“In reading the local paper almost every week there was something going on with a club called Newcomers. I was curious and went to a luncheon and never looked back.

The women I met are wonderful, caring and loving life, just what the doctor ordered for me. I have been blessed."

Filling both needs, friendship and compassion, the club stages events all year – luncheons with invited speakers, a gala holiday ball and participation in the island’s Christmas parade – but it also promotes mini-clubs such as cooking, painting, shooting and self-defense, needlework, literature, writing, philosophy and table games.

Members have to “spin out” after five years in keeping with the club’s name. They are then free to join other clubs, particularly “Just Friends.”

Prospective new members should visit Marconewcomers.org.

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