Club helps newcomers forge fast friendships Crofton group welcomes families to community

September 03, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Elaine Patton joined the Crofton Newcomers Club 16 years ago.

Today, she is certainly no stranger to the community, but she is still a newcomer.

The homemaker-turned-paralegal continues to participate in the activities of the group she joined a month after moving to Crofton in 1980 with her husband and two children. She jumped "headfirst" into all kinds of club activities then; now, she meets mainly with the club's book group.

"A number of us have been around for a long time," she said of the book group. "It's a one-night-a-month thing, and I read anyway. It is one way of staying in touch with the community, meeting new people, as well as seeing your old friends."

And forming friendships is what the club is all about.

"We have made a real effort to hold true to what the club was to do, and that is to promote friendship," said Patti McLain, membership coordinator and director of publicity for the club.

Now known as the Greater Crofton Newcomers Club to include families who live outside the Crofton triangle, the organization has about 55 families as members, McLain said. She hopes that number will grow to at least 60 families by next summer.

The group will start a new season of activities at 6 p.m. Friday with a mixer at Traders Chesapeake Grill and Raw Bar in the Route 3 Center.

fTC The club also has taken on organizing Crofton's craft fairs, held ,, every September and April to raise money for local charities. The Federated Women's Club of Crofton, which organized the fairs for many years, asked the Newcomers Club to take over this year, McLain said. The club also sponsors a tree-lighting ceremony at Christmas.

Many stay-at-home mothers new to the area get involved through the club's Moms and Tots group, which meets twice a month for playtime and activities.

After living in Crofton a little more than a year, Ronda Kuhn, who has two young children, is co-organizer of the Moms and Tots group this year. The 31-year-old homemaker, whose husband is an Air Force navigator, became involved in the group last fall when a fellow soccer mother told her about Moms and Tots and gave her a club newsletter.

"I'm used to going into an area not knowing anybody and meeting new friends, but we've always kind of been in a close-knit military community," Kuhn said. The Moms and Tots group and activities such as progressive dinners -- at which club members meet for appetizers, then split up in small groups for dinner and reassemble for dessert -- fill the void resulting from leaving a military community, Kuhn said.

Military families are not uncommon in the newcomers club.

Elizabeth Hasken, whose husband is in the Army, found that the Moms and Tots group brought her much needed contact with other adults.

"When we first moved in, I thought I was a rarity," she said. "I thought, 'Am I the only one that stays home?' My husband would leave for work and I wouldn't find another adult until he came home."

Hasken, treasurer of the Crofton Civic Association, said she felt out of place in the community until she found out about the Newcomers Club and started going to Moms and Tots. "I felt immediately like I belonged," she said.

Patton understands the sense of immediate belonging fostered by the Newcomers Club.

"In its name, it says to people, 'We welcome you,' " she said.

Pub Date: 9/03/96

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