Worthwhile Women's Club celebrates 90 years
Special to the Watauga Democrat
If you are a woman in Watauga County, but you are not a member of the Worthwhile Women's Club, does that make you any less "worthwhile?"
For 90 years, the women's club has served the community well, and yes, it has endured its share of punch lines, said Baben Patricelli, the club's president. Her personal favorite is from members' husbands who considered forming the Worthless Men's Club.
Club members believe their group is the best-kept secret in Boone, but the work they've done through the years deserves to be shouted from the mountaintops.
Since organizing in 1923 from two active groups of women representing the neighboring church fellowships of Boone Methodist and Boone Baptist, the original goal of the club remains unchanged: to have meaningful fellowship while helping the community in any way they can, Patricelli said.
While membership is considerably low at present with only 12 active participants, the club at one time had 100 members and a clubhouse on Cherry Brook Lane in Boone, which they purchased in 1966.
The clubhouse served them well for many years, but as the expenses of the aging building grew, the women decided in 1995 to sell it.
"The club was declining in numbers, and the house just became too much to manage, so we sold it and invested our monies," Patricelli said. "Today, we do not have to pay any dues to the club, and there are no money-making events going on. We furnish all of our donations out of the interest we receive from our investments."
Clearly, these women are more than worthwhile - they're savvy, too, by letting their money work for them.
"We do nothing now," Patricelli said, good-naturedly. "We don't need to, and that's a good selling point for people who are interested in joining us. We have no dues and we do not have to work hard raising money. We have meetings for fellowship and to listen to a speaker tell us about local organizations, because that's what we are interested in."
They're also interested in aiding the area, as evidenced by their donations to more than 15 local organizations annually, plus two $1,000 scholarships to area students.
"At one time," Patricelli said, "we gave out as many as five scholarships annually. Since 2000, we have donated a total of $45,000 in scholarships."
The Worthwhile Women meet for lunch once a month - from May to October - and, basically, that's the only time commitment required.
"We're the best-kept secret in Boone," Patricelli said. "And we'd like to get new members because we want the club to continue. There aren't any requirements to be a member. Men are welcome, too. We have nothing that says they can't join - as long as they don't mind being called a worthwhile woman."
For information on joining the group, contact Baben Patricelli at (828) 264-2539 or Francis Arnold at (828) 262-0155.