The History of the Laguna Woods
Baby Boomers Club
In August of 2008, Laguna Woods residents, Leslee Davis and Kathie Podliska, were hanging out at the pool, wondering why there was not a Laguna Woods club for Baby Boomers. So, they decided to start one!! They had a vision of a club that provided Boomers with a social and networking hub for entertainment, social, cultural, and educational opportunities.
A letter was put in the Globe to see if there was any interest in forming a Baby Boomers Club. Within three weeks we had over 50 responses.
On September 15, 2008, a letter was submitted for the Baby Boomers Club to the Recreation Department, indicating our intent to form a new club. They had until December to formulate the club, elect officers and submit basic by-laws.
An advertisement for a meeting was placed in the Globe, and the first meeting was held on October 18, 2008 at Clubhouse 2, Dining Room 2. The meeting had a large turnout of interested people. Membership forms were filled out, dues were paid, and a survey was taken to determine the interest of potential members.
This put into action what we Boomers had only dreamed of or wished for—our very first “Baby Boomers Club” in Laguna Woods.
The first Baby Boomers Club social event was a Candlelight Wine-Tasting and Holiday Kick-Off. It was held in the art room at Clubhouse One on Saturday, November 15, 2008. We enjoyed wine and appetizers, while we met and mingled with our new Boomer friends. The Orange County Register had a reporter and photographer attend, and the club had an article in the newspaper!!
During our first few months, the club celebrated with a New Years Eve party and a Mardi Gras festival. The club hosted a bus trip to Temecula. Our first dance with a live band called “Close Enough.”
The Club was getting Boomers together for events around and about the Village, including plays, socials, dances, and more trips. Th first board knew we were going to meet the social needs of our members for years to come.
From the Globe Nov 2012
By JANE GLENN HAAS | Orange County Register
November 27, 2012 at 8:01 a.m.
Once the mantra was “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
But then the first baby boomer turned 65 in January of 2011, and suddenly age isn’t turning out to be as miserable as it was made out to be.
At least not for those embracing the opportunities age brings – like living in what were once known as “retirement villages.”
Ross Cortese built two of them in Orange County in the early 1960s, dubbing them both “Leisure World,” communities designed for people to “enjoy their golden years.”
Eventually 10,000 people moved to Seal Beach Leisure World, while the Laguna Hills site, now known as Laguna Woods Village, became home to 18,000.
Although the average age is 75, almost 6,000 of Laguna Woods Village residents today are boomers, says Heather Rasmussen, spokeswoman for PMC, the management company. Fitness center hours have been extended to accommodate a generation that still works after the so-called retirement date. And Zumba classes have been added to programs that focused on more traditional exercise efforts.
“We’re at a crossroads,” Rasmussen said. “So far, there’s something for everybody and so far, it’s working.”
Home prices are the big attraction, Realtor Gail Shapiro said. With places available for less than $200,000 and monthly fees averaging $550, Laguna Woods is drawing a new crowd, she said, including younger singles.
“It’s the best retirement community on the West Coast,” said Marshall Yagan, 62, who moved in with his wife two years ago. The Yagans moved from Calabasas to be closer to their children, and both continue to work part time.
A decision he describes as “very realistic” has left them worn out, he said. “We both get tired having a good time.”
The good time is dominated by the Baby Boomer Club, which has drawn 450 members in less than four years. The club sponsors a social event monthly, usually a dance.
Gregg Weiner, president of the club, moved to Laguna Woods to help care for his mother, 86, already a resident.
“All of us boomers were kind of alone until the club formed,” he said. “Now that (we) younger people are showing our faces, we expect others will join us living here.”
An evening with the Baby Boomers becomes a major social event, as described by Carol St. Hilaire. Before going to the dance, for example, she and her husband, Leon, usually join friends for dinner.
Then there are the other 200-some clubs and activities in the community.
For instance, table tennis is what draws George Gaskins, 66. “I try to play every day,” he said.
Craig Charlton, head of the Ukulele Club, acknowledges that few boomers are interested in the instrument or the music he loves.
“Still, we need them here!” said Charlton, 85 and involved with the American Legion and other groups.
Cortese planned California’s largest 55-plus community for active adults. The community has seven clubhouses, 38 holes of golf, five swimming pools and an equestrian center.
There’s a performing arts center that seats more than 800 people, and many of the clubhouses include ballrooms and banquet facilities. Plus there are billiard and game rooms, badminton, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard and pickleball courts, places for lawn bowling and horseshoes, garden centers and even storage areas for RVs.
“Only people who don’t want to do anything will find nothing to do,” St. Hilaire said.
And there are those who can’t wait to get there.
“Just thinking about it makes me wish the year would fly by so I can move there,” says Shelley Klick, 54.
Klick is an avid golfer, a hobby she says can cost her $100 a week to play on good courses. Laguna Woods residents, by comparison, pay $12 for a round of golf.
“I’m there when I’m 55,” says Klick, who lives in Laguna Niguel.
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