Newcomers of San Antonio

"Bloom Where You Are Planted"

Our History and Past Presidents  

Founders:   Robbi Boone, Elaine Van Buren, Jan Pope, Pat Hermes, Lois McMaken

In the beginning…four women from the Chicago area and one from the New York area moved to San Antonio around 1979-80 and found outlets for tennis and bridge, but it was Jazzercise at St. Matthew’s gym (in our leg warmers and between the high-intensity dance moves) that brought us together in the same space at the same time. I guess you would call it serendipity. Elaine knew Lois and Robbi knew Pat who knew me and invited me to Jazzercise with them. After class, Elaine invited us to her house for coffee to discuss getting a newcomers club started in San Antonio. Upon investigation, there was already a “newcomers” club in existence, but when I called about membership I was told that they only played bridge at the airport and weren’t looking for new members! So the five of us took matters into our own hands and booked a luncheon at the Inn at Turtle Creek, then placed a tiny little ad in The San Antonio Light inviting new residents to lunch to discuss forming a newcomers club. Twenty-seven women responded to that little ad! At the meeting we asked, “Who wants to be president?” and hands shot up. And on down the positions on the Board. At the first official meeting, officers were elected, by-laws ratified, interest groups formed, and we were officially up and running, ready to welcome women new to San Antonio into a club where new friendships formed and thrived, many still intact today. Sadly we lost Pat at an age too young and Robbi in a horrific car accident. The three of us remaining Founders are so happy and proud that our idea “bloomed where we were planted” and is still welcoming new residents. Congratulations and thank you for sharing the gift of friendship.

2021 – 2022 Cindy Richards 

2021-2022 Cindy Richards I became president during a second wave of COVID-19 so getting the vaccine was the biggest topic. As of November 2021, San Antonio has low numbers and a low risk for COVID so we are now seeing many more members getting out to our 30+ interest groups, 1st Thursday of month luncheons and 3rd Thursday of the monthly coffees. Our current membership is 221. We are planning a cruise for 2022 and I cannot wait!! 

I would love my legacy to be that we helped the physical and mental health of our members by encouraging outdoor physical activity via new Interest groups such as Pickleball and Hiking during a time when many members were a bit timid to gather indoors. Pickleball was unknown to most in San Antonio at the start of the pandemic and it has exploded! 

I started the Blessing Bags Interest Group during the start of the pandemic because volunteer work to help the homeless was halted. We monthly donate Blessing bags of food and hygiene products to our city’s homeless. Newcomers truly love helping their new city and do so in many additional ways through Community Involvement by packing lunches via Mobile Loaves and Fishes, buying toys for our Christmas Toy Drive with SAMMinistries, and filling stockings for our military through Soldiers Angels. 

I’ve made so many dear friends since I joined in 2019 and hope to encourage all to do the same. I highly recommend members join the board for at least 1 year!! Its where I’ve become closest to my dearest friends. I’m grateful to our founders and to every past president and their boards as well as all the leaders and members who encourage us to bloom where we are planted!

2020 – 2021 Margaret Kidd 

Margaret Kidd I attended my first luncheon in January of 2016. By April, I was the treasurer and held that position for two more years. These were the years we got rid of checks and did everything  electronically. A learning experience for all! 

The thing that stands out most during my year as President was that the country was shut down! We did not let that stop us, however. We had board meetings every month with some attending via Zoom. We only missed one luncheon and one coffee, and that was due to snowmageddon, not lack of attendees. Of course, there were a lot fewer people attending these things, but we still held them. We even started three new In     Interest Groups. Membership held pretty steadily at 220. 

During the last month of my tenure, we made a major change to the membership. We opened it up to those who had a major change of lifestyle in the last three years, ie divorce, death of a spouse,  retirement, etc. this  was extremely controversial and the vote to enact was only a difference of three. As it turned out, there was not a major exodus of members nor an influx of these new members. Being a member for six years has been very gratifying and I’ve met a plethora of dear friends. After my tenure, I moved on and let the ne’er members take over. 

2018 – 2020 Sue Ellen Smith  


To be the president of this Welcoming organization was certainly a highlight of my life! 258 women, 35               interest groups, we flourished! San Antonio is very lucky to have this organization. We have welcomed so         many to our city and helped them settle in and make many new friends. Our Interest Groups and their             Leaders are such an integral part of helping all of our Ladies find a friend or two!  It could not have been         completed without my fabulous boards and their hard work to take us from paper and pencil to the world of   computers. Our Website creator got us started and tiny steps by tiny steps we were able to have registration   online, moving to luncheon reservations, and finally our Interest Groups. The IG leaders were able to                 communicate with their ladies by email. Someone said, “Let’s go on a cruise”! Next thing we knew we were       boarding the ship. Our Ladies and some Husbands were off on a seven-day adventure, many of us never         having been on a cruise! We all really enjoyed ourselves. There are so many memories, I would need a full         page!

2017 – 2018 Anne Rautio  

Anne Rautio Anne became a member in 2015 and is still a member to this day. The things that stood out for Anne the most was the sense of welcoming and finding friends. She enjoyed learning many interesting things about the city she lives in. Anne feels that Newcomers gives her a sense of belonging and purpose. During her time of presidency, the club grew rapidly, especially after the website was up and running. In December 2017 the club membership was 233, with 21 Interest Groups. Luncheons averaged between 70 and 100 people. The Club at Sonterra, Silo at 1604, Maggianos and The Dominion Country Club were some of the restaurants that were popular back then.

Favorite outings included a tour of the Majestic Theater and the Scottish Rite Cathedral. At the January 2018 luncheon, guest speaker Dr.Paul Ringenbach lectured on the process of the San Antonio Missions being recognized as a World Heritage site. Some of the notable changes during Anne’s presidency included: supporting Soldiers Angels charity, changing the club year to end in June instead of May, and the addition of technology (using the website as our primary recruitment tool, using Outlook, using Go Daddy to ensure privacy and the first electronic directory was introduced ). In 2018 San Antonio celebrated its 300th Anniversary so Anne published a special column in the newsletter for activities going on throughout the city. Anne enjoyed her time as President and was happy to contribute to Newcomers of San Antonio.

History Continued

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