Fens, a freelance editor and proofreader with a flair for English linguistics, moved to Saskatoon because of her husband’s job in the mining industry. She says that is the case for many of the women who are a part of the club.
“The common theme is women who have moved in support of their husband’s job. So this club is just a great way to make friends — especially if your case is like mine. I work from home, so it’s very easy to hibernate and just let the world be.”
And that’s where the club plays its part. Founded in 1988, it’s a local chapter of a national and international organization that brings women together who recently moved to new communities. It also welcomes women who have recently undergone a significant life change. Every month the organization hosts dinners at various restaurants in the city, along with activities tailored to the women who are involved in the club.
“The dinners are quite enjoyable because you really do get to experience the culinary scene of Saskatoon,” said Peggy Clark, a member and treasurer for the club. “I moved here from White Rock in October of 2012. I didn’t know the city, and I didn’t know anybody.
“I find all of Saskatchewan is just full of down-to-earth, welcoming people. It’s really community focused. And people take the time to say hello and talk and learn about you and ask questions. You don’t find that in a lot of other places.”
Aside from monthly dinners, the club hosts events such as a book club, a coffee club, and often members will post on its Facebook page to attend impromptu outings like a movie.
“Just recently four of us went to a movie at Rainbow Cinemas, and all four of us had different accents,” said Lisa Belkin with a laugh.
Belkin is another member of the club and also a member of the board. She moved to Saskatoon from Winnipeg in March of last year.
“A lot of the club members are from exotic places. There are women from Australia, London, Germany, the Netherlands and more. We learn from each other. And that’s exciting in itself.”
There is a catch: women can only be members for up to three years. Otherwise it wouldn’t quite encapsulate the newcomer title. Of course the friendships and bonds formed do not have an expiry date.
“I’m so thankful, I’m so grateful that I found Newcomers,” said Belkin. “It’s just a wonderful thing for those who have recently moved here or who are experiencing big changes in their lives. It’s for any woman who needs outreach, and it doesn’t matter where you come from.”
Currently the club has about 30 members.
“With people constantly leaving the club once they hit three years, the membership tally is quite different than other organizations,” said Clark. “After that the women go on to be alumni of the club.”
The ever-revolving door of members joining and leaving means that the Saskatoon Newcomers Club is always on the lookout for women looking to make connections in the city.
For an annual fee of $20, women like Fens, Clark and Belkin are put on the mailing list, invited to the club’s events and integrated into the ever-growing community of Saskatoon.
“Without Newcomers, I would have been quite lonely,” said Fens. “Women crave that female companionship. When you join you’re essentially forced to meet people in the best way possible. It’s just a great way to make friends.
“It’s a small club still, so we want to get the word out, reach more women who are maybe looking for something like this and make everyone aware that it exists.”
To learn more about the Saskatoon Newcomers Club visit saskatoonnewcomersclub.com or visit facebook.com/saskatoonnewcomers. To contact the club, email Saskatoonnewcomersclub@gmail.com or call 306-668-8131.