There’s nothing quite like a year of pandemic isolation to make one start dreaming of barbecues, pool parties and community events again, especially with spring in bloom, vaccines underway and declining COVID case numbers promising a new dawn of socialization.
With that in their purview, one small group of newly minted residents is spearheading an effort to kick off the La Cañada Flintridge Welcome Association, a group meant to help “new to town” families and individuals to become better acquainted with each other, the city, civic organizations and the charms and idiosyncrasies of living in the Foothills. The new group would revamp a former organization known as the La Cañada Newcomers and Social Club, which had a social-connection flare that appears to have fallen by the wayside perhaps more than a decade ago.
Organizing co-chairs Kim Bowman, Heather Cochran and Garrett Mott spent several months gathering information and reaching out to former Newcomers Club members before committing to the reorganization effort.
“Whether someone has lived here five days or 50 years, we hope everyone in the city will consider joining us as we build up our already wonderful community,” Bowman said.
Bowman and his wife, Dr. Cynthia Nguyen, moved to LCF from South Pasadena in 2019. He recalled reaching out on Facebook to try and get some tips and information about the area, and was recommended to a newcomers Facebook group. With the pandemic soon shutting down nearly everything in 2020, he said he feels fortunate to have met a few people in town before socializing became discouraged.
“We at least had the benefit of meeting our neighbors before the pandemic, but if you had moved here in the spring it would be so difficult to meet anyone outside your normal household,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great if when COVID restrictions are lifted we could have a table at the Memorial Day celebration and have people sign up? Or just organize an outside activity, like a community hike.”
Back in the day, Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Pat Anderson had been a member of the Newcomers Club, and she recalled those times with fondness.
“It was a great way to get acquainted with other people who lived in the city,” she said, noting that she couldn’t recall exactly when or why the group disbanded. “It was a purely social group, but I’m glad I joined because I met some really interesting people.”
For Bowman and his wife, a revamping of the organization might help connect them with other new parents: He and his wife welcomed baby Alice during the pandemic. It would be great to organize play dates for the younger children, and for “big kids,” the parents, he laughed.
“We don’t want to be duplicative of other groups; we want to be conductive to get people connected to each other, other organizations or just information. We’re all plugged into the community in different ways, so we hope to strengthen that knowledge base — if we can add another layer to the community that’s all we can hope to do,” he said.
The La Cañada Flintridge Welcome Association will hold a virtual organizational meeting on April 19 at 8 p.m. via Zoom, and encourages all LCF community members to attend. The link will be: us02web.zoom.us/j/9498288914; meeting ID: 949 828 8914; and call-in phone: 669-900-6833.
For more information, email WelcometoLCF@gmail.com.