Newcomers & Neighbors of the Scottsdale Area provides opportunities for members to become acquainted with other members and with the community in an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness. The Club provides helpful information for all members and promotes local and national charitable, cultural, and civic causes.Our Club welcomes members that reside in the North, East or Central Valley. Residency in Scottsdale is NOT a requirement to join our club, nor is it necessary that members are new to the area. The club is open to all residents (and part-time residents) of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
Read our Membership FAQs (Click Here)
Register for and attend one of our free Informational Coffees (See list below)
Register for and attend one of our Luncheons (See list below)
Proceed to our membership application (Click Here)
Enjoy your membership in Newcomers & Neighbors of the Scottsdale Area!
Our Club History
Published in a 2005 Club Newsletter, written by President Ann Weiss
In 1968 Barbara Hunsinger became the first President of the Scottsdale Branch of the Welcome Wagon International. At that time the corner of Scottsdale Road and Shea was at the outer limits, for at this intersection was Mayor Drinkwater’s liquor store, the last outpost of civilization before heading out to the desert. McCormick Ranch was just being developed, and many thought, “Who wants to live clear out there?” Scottsdale was beginning to grow and Welcome Wagon International had a paid hostess who would bring to new families a basket of “goodies” from local businesses with the idea of helping them get settled into their new community. This idea has a rich history, for a century ago, tired westward travelers approaching a distant frontier settlement were greeted by a Conestoga wagon with fresh food and water. The Welcome Wagon hostess would also tell the new people about the Welcome Wagon Club and soon there were many new members and activities in which they could participate. Good friendships were now developing. By 1976 Welcome Wagon had grown to over 300 members and the club some felt, had become much too large and with too many cliques for new people to feel welcome. Lee Rapuano and her board decided to solve this situation by changing the By-Laws to state members could only be in the club for three years and then they would have to move on to an alumni group called New Dimension. Members objected to this policy, and in 1978, a new board under the leadership of Marty Le Messurier, decided to reverse the three-year limitation and again Welcome Wagon was open to unlimited years of membership. Linda Santoro joined in 1982 and she has the honor of being our longest sustaining member. She became President in 1983 and is still busy chairing Brush-up Bridge and Trips & Tours. She was followed by Lou Dahle in ’85 and Rosemary Morse and Georgia Barnes in ’86. By 1997, with Kathy Thomas as President, the club had grown to over 900 members with 57 activities.* Gladys Waterhouse and her board, in October 1999, decided to withdraw from their association with Welcome Wagon International and change the name to Newcomers Club of Scottsdale. Andy Trice created the new logo. Jacque Cummings and Sherron Gardner brought the club into the 21st Century when Newcomers got its very own Web Site in 2003.
Following is a summary of our Club’s history - based on input from past presidents, long-time members, old newsletters and minutes. It will continue to be a work in progress as we receive additional or different information and recollections, and questions. Please contact Carolyn White if you have something to add or "alter" at email@example.com or 480-306-4680.
History of Newcomers Club of Scottsdale
1968 – Barbara Hunsinger became the first President of the Scottsdale Branch of the Welcome Wagon International, a nonprofit organization that welcomed new residents to the Scottsdale area. The organization provided social activities and opportunities to make friends and get to know the community and surrounding area. Old-timers shared service providers that they valued as a service to the newcomers.
1976 – Welcome Wagon (WW) grew to over 300 women members and the Club, some felt, had become too large with too many cliques for new people to feel welcome. The WW Board decided that members could only be in the Club for three years so a separate alumni group called New Dimensions of Scottsdale was formed. New Dimensions continued until Newcomers Club withdrew from Welcome Wagon International in 1999 and the three-year limit was no longer in effect.
In 1977, with over 300 members, the Club filed for federal tax exemption and was granted IRS tax-exempt status, Tax Code 501(c)(4) as a social welfare organization serving the needs of the residents of Scottsdale and surrounding communities. In addition to social activities, members learned about community resources, and contributed time and money to charitable organizations. As tax exempt, no part of collected funds could be used for the benefit of any member, member’s family or friends.
During the 1970’s, dues of $20 were paid annually and the membership, fiscal, and program year ran from April 1st to March 31st. Communication was maintained through a monthly newsletter and luncheon. Members came from many different states and countries.
In the 1980’s – Members were mostly younger women whose husbands worked in the burgeoning industries that brought many newcomers to Phoenix. Activities included luncheons, Bridge, crafts, cooking, sewing, dining, coffees, dances, and travel in and out of state. Membership grew as newcomers from around the country sought to make new friends. In later years, when more women worked full-time, members were more often retirees including snowbirds.
By 1997, the Club had grown to close to 900 members with 57 activities. This was during rapid population growth in Scottsdale and surrounding area. A logo featuring a mountain and a saguaro cactus was created by a member’s spouse and featured on the printed monthly newsletter.
In October, 1999, the Board decided to withdraw from association with Welcome Wagon International and changed the Club’s name to Newcomers Club of Scottsdale.
During the early 2000’s. luncheons featuring programs and business meetings, were held monthly at a variety of resorts and golf clubs in the Scottsdale area to turnouts of 80 -100 members and guests. An annual luncheon meeting and fashion show were held every March. Boards of Directors, with 18-20 members (with five elected), met during most months to plan and report on activities and events. Offerings of 50+ activities and holiday dances to a membership of approximately 800+ members continued. Dues for full memberships were $25, and for several years prior to 2003, $15 associate memberships were available to those living at the same address.
Bylaws were reviewed annually and changes were made by membership vote at luncheons/business meetings to reflect changes in the Club. In addition to Bylaws, the Club created Standing Rules that only needed to be approved by the Board. Information was communicated via monthly printed/mailed newsletters and a membership directory that included the Bylaws and Standing Rules. Luncheons regularly included 50/50 charity raffles.
Note: There also was a Greater Phoenix Newcomers Club that became active in the early 1960’s and was dissolved in 2002.
2003 to 2004 – Newcomers got its first website up and running. Membership was at 870 and the annual Holiday Ball had close to 200 attending in formal attire and dancing to live music. Sandra Day O’Connor was the guest speaker at a luncheon with over 300 attendees. The Club continued to contribute to different charities via luncheon raffles, fund-raisers, and end-of-the-year donations. A minimum of $3,000 was required to be kept in the treasury.
2005 to 2006 – Membership reached a high of 909 due to the continuing housing boom in the Scottsdale area and active marketing. It appeared that Scottsdale Newcomers had become known as “the club to join.” Fundraisers were held, as needed, including the sale of cookbooks filled with member recipes - in 2004 and 2009 – with the proceeds going to local food banks. The “Mon Ami” (my friend) buddy program was created to help new members get involved.
2007 to 2009 – As economic hard times hit the state and fewer new residents were moving to Phoenix, Club membership began to drop, falling to 678 in 2009. Turnouts for luncheons and special events also dropped. A push began for members to access newsletters via the website. There continued to be no limit on the number of years members could remain in the Club.
2010 to 2012 – With the economy continuing to falter, it became more challenging to bring in new members. Membership fell to below 500 members. An increase in dues was considered but not implemented. An email survey was conducted to help determine member interests. And the Bylaws were changed to allow Board members to serve a 2nd year. It was emphasized that ‘Newcomer’ meant not just new to the area but also new to retirement, widowhood or other lifestyle change. The website slogan was “Make Us a Part of Your New Life!”
A Standing Rule was approved to not allow an ongoing activity to be chaired by a member or relative who has business outside the Club that could profit from the activity.
2013 to 2014 – Directors & Officers Insurance was purchased to protect the Club’s Board members. Membership was at 450 and lunch attendance averaged 40-50. Holiday parties were started again but became less formal and held at different times including brunches, happy hours, lunches, etc. The Membership Directory was put online and no longer mailed. The dissolution statement was added to the Bylaws.
To help promote the Club, the website was upgraded and one-panel brochures were created and distributed including to realtors. To increase summer luncheon attendance, “BYOM” summer luncheons in restaurants around the City were begun (“Bring Your Own Money” with no program). Activity Guidelines were created to help the chairs be more consistent in how they offered, registered, and conducted activities. Registrations continued to be made via phone messages on a first come, first served basis. A Bylaw change to allow Co-Presidents was proposed but not approved by the membership. A few single men joined the Club as members. For the first time, a male served on the Board. Membership votes were limited to one vote per paid membership.
2014 to 201515 – More men’s and singles activities were begun to better meet the needs/interests of these members. The Board appointed a Restructuring Task Force (included past presidents, Board, and at-large members) that proposed a new Board structure of five elected and four appointed members instead of the previous 18-20 members. The minimum treasury balance was raised to $5,000 to allow for increased costs to operate the planned new interactive website. Bank balances remained close to $9,000. Began “One & Done” activities that encourage members to propose and organize one-time activities open to all members. Purchased General Liability insurance which in the next year was expanded to cover group travel. A paper release form was created for participation in group travel activities. Presidents will be asked to create brief annual “State of the Club” messages to be posted on the website.
2015 to 2016 – The new Board structure was implemented along with the new interactive website (using Wild Apricot) that included payments via PayPal. It meant the end of years of printed/mailed newsletters and mail/phone-in reservations for luncheons and activities. All activity and event registrations were required to be done via the Website. A general release of liability check box was added to the Membership Directory. Membership stabilized at around 340 paid memberships (including over 100 singles) plus spouses/partners - which began to be counted in the membership totals. Approximately one-third of the membership was estimated to be “snowbirds” which created challenges in filling leadership positions.
For the first time, the President served a full second full term in order to help implement the changes. Team/committee chairs were included in four of the 11 monthly Board meetings. The smaller Board allowed for more of the meeting time to be spent on discussion of issues rather than reports.
2016 to 2017 – The Board considered changing from 501(c)(4) to (c)(7) to more clearly reflect the Club’s emphasis on social activities for Club members but found the cost prohibitive. Due to growing participation from outside of Scottsdale, the Club adopted the trade name “Newcomers & Neighbors of the Scottsdale Area” and a second mountain was added to the logo – both featured on the masthead of the interactive website. Gift cards rather than the traditional luncheon were given to Board members at the end of their terms. The membership year was changed to the calendar year to allow for established officers to better handle responsibilities related to membership renewal. “Helping Hands” began to offer monthly opportunities for members to volunteer with local charitable organizations.
2017 to 2018 – The Club continued to improve ability to manage increasing website responsibilities. Bylaws were revised to allow for more flexibility in Board titles and responsibilities and to be in line with State Statutes. Membership continued around 325 members plus spouses and approximately 30 activities plus monthly luncheons were offered. Emergency contact information was added to online member profiles. Unlike in the past, the Annual Meeting was held separate from the Spring Luncheon with good response. The president again served a second term and initiated the creation of a history of the Club.
2018 to 2020 – Membership increased to the mid 300’s with over 1/3 being singles and an estimated 1/5 being snowbirds. The Club raised the membership fee to $35 in 2019. Activities featured in the website calendar averaged 40 per month, often with waiting lists, along with monthly luncheons and special events such as the Holiday Party and Fashion Show. The Club made strong public relations efforts and was among organizations nominated for the “Best Non profit of the Year 2019” by a local magazine. This all changed when the Covid 19 Pandemic struck in early 2020.
2020 to 2021 – Response to the deadly Pandemic resulted in curtailment of all social and public gatherings. Masks and social distancing were expected/required outside the home. The Club’s activities mostly ceased for 2020 with a few attempts to socialize outdoors or via Zoom. Membership dropped below 200 and renewal discounts were offered. For the first time, the President served a third term. The Board sought creative ways to maintain communication and provide resources via the Website and a new Facebook page. The Annual Meeting was held on Zoom in January but without an election of Officers (due to conflict with Bylaws).
2021 to 2022 – As the Pandemic was waning, the Club continued to follow state and federal guidelines, posting updated Covid 19 protocols on the website to guide members in setting up and participating in activities. Vaccinations and masks continued to be required at indoor Club events. Mid-year, more activities and monthly luncheons with programs were offered. Club members took marketing materials to outdoor festivals to attract new members. Membership numbers increased to 242 paying members and a total of 425 including spouses. Monthly charity donations continued but remained at a lower amount. Due to a significant increase in population in the Scottsdale area, Newcomers likely will see an increase in its membership.
Researched by Carolyn White, President, 2014-16; Historian, 2018-2022