A Century of Service
The members of the Woman’s Club of Vista work tirelessly to enrich the lives of fellow Vista residents by supporting local organizations, awarding scholarships to high school and college students, and providing supplies and money to groups in need. They truly delight in making a difference for those in and around their community and value the friendships they’ve built within the club. There is a place in the club for anyone who is passionate about helping others. We invite you to read on and discover more about the Woman’s Club of Vista and the ways in which it has served the Vista community.
Q&A with Woman’s Club of Vista President Nancy B. Jones and First Vice President-Dean Judy Pantazo
What is the history behind the Woman’s Club of Vista?
Founded in 1916 as a current events club, the Woman’s Club of Vista (WCV) was formed to join women who wanted to improve the lives of people around them. With the motto, “Along the friendly way we journey together to achieve the best things for country life,” they were active in many projects that helped improve the lives of the residents of Vista and the communities surrounding them. One notable historical fact is that the members of the WCV organized and controlled Vista’s first library in 1916 – starting with 50 volumes in our first club president Nellie Acker’s home – until 1931 in several locations around town, including our first clubhouse on North Santa Fe Avenue. So the Vista Library’s 100th anniversary late last year was possible thanks in part to the founding efforts of our club ladies! Also, the WCV clubhouse was open as a canteen and service club to the Camp Pendleton Marines during WWII.
Later projects included paying for the first polio shot vaccines for children at a local clinic in the 1960s and starting the first glass recycling service for Vista in the 1980s, among many others. In 1990, they were recognized by the United Nations Environmental Program for planting over 700 oak tree seedlings in local parks.
What is the mission of the Woman’s Club of Vista? How does the club go about fulfilling this mission?
Our mission statement, which we adopted last year, clearly states: “Enriching lives through philanthropy and volunteer service.”
Our members put in many hours supporting nonprofits in the community, sharing their expertise and love. We work with and support groups working with children, the homeless, women, youth, and families. Our 5,700 volunteer hours in 2015 was a strong increase over 2014’s volunteer hours total. Our 27 members were doing a lot of good with their hearts and hands to benefit those around us!
Is the Woman’s Club of Vista affiliated with any larger organizations? What does this signify?
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) is our international organization and we are proud to work with so many kind-hearted and dedicated women.
Our international president’s theme is “Living the Volunteer Spirit,” and we live that every day in our communities. In 2015, GFWC celebrated 125 years of federation – with a proud history of helping others and improving the world around us. It is the largest and oldest international service organization of volunteer women in the world! GFWC is comprised of 52 state federations including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, eight regions, and 421 districts. We are 90,000 members strong.
Our state federation is California Federation of Women’s Clubs (CFWC), which celebrated 115 years in 2015. We are federated with GFWC, providing education, training, and interaction opportunities for volunteers who are committed to individual growth and community improvement to enrich the quality of life throughout California and the world.
Our GFWC Palomar District supports 13 local women’s clubs with training, programs, fundraisers, an art festival, and an annual convention in April.
How did you personally become involved with WCV?
Nancy: Miriam Nichols invited me to visit WCV, saying, “You won’t have to come to every meeting.” I visited and joined in 2010, stepped up to corresponding secretary and newsletter editor, added donation day and scholarships chairman, and was elected club president in 2013. Miriam passed away in 2012 and is memorialized at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens with a cork oak tree and an oak leaf-shaped plaque honoring her conservation efforts here in Vista. I am carrying on her conservation legacy and continuing my own environmental efforts (since 1971) by providing field trips, classes, and the Green Thumb Gardening Club for children at my school and Kids in the Garden at AVBG. Conservation programs for children provided by our club have won “Most Creative” awards from GFWC and CFWC.
Judy: I have lived in Vista off and on for over 40 years. Early on, when I was too young and too busy working, I saw what influence the WCV had in the community of Vista and how respected the women were. Years later, a fellow docent at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe where I was volunteering talked me into coming to a meeting. That day I found myself volunteering to take on heading a committee for veterans, and the rest is history.
What is your current role within the organization, and what duties does it entail?
Nancy: What does a president do? Settle ruffled feathers, put out fires, show enduring enthusiasm, keep track of projects, and keep on smiling!
The description of the current president’s duties fills a single-spaced page of jobs from taking lunch reservations through setting meeting agendas, reviewing minutes, and participating in committee meetings, to attending Palomar District meetings where I am currently serving as recording secretary. In addition, I produce the club newsletter, take photos for our publicity, and maintain a seemingly constant stream of emails to pull strings tight on all facets of the club’s activities. We have managed to build membership and visibility for the three years I have held the post of president. We have new and enthusiastic members who are expanding the scope of our projects and taking care of our business.
Judy: I am the first vice president-dean. I attend district meetings and report back to the members. I keep the chairmen of committees on target and coordinate annual reports from the district chairmen. Also, I would assume the president’s duties in her absence.
Name: Nancy B. Jones, President
Profession: Wife, mother, grandmother, clubwoman, retired teacher, volunteer, garden mentor for children
Hobbies & Interests: WCV, gardening, exercising and keeping fit, hiking, kayaking, rollerblading, traveling
Favorite Places to Visit in Vista: Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, Vista Library, Yellow Deli, Shadowridge Golf Club, Buena Vista Park
Name: Judy Pantazo, First Vice President – Dean
Profession: Retired, Former Assistant Vice President of Operations Pacific Eyes & T’S
Hobbies & Interests: Volunteering, gardening
Favorite Places to Visit in Vista: Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, Moonlight Amphitheatre, Broadway Theater, Yellow Deli, Lowes
What is the most rewarding thing about your role? The most challenging?
Nancy: Friendships with our wonderfully dedicated group of ladies are the best part of working with the club. I’m just tickled that they are willing to step up and make a difference, put in the time on projects, and recruit new members. The most challenging part of being president is being the touchstone of our decision-making, reminding everyone that we must follow protocols and bylaws, and keeping that cheerful and welcoming smile up front for all to see.
Judy: The most rewarding is the friends I have made. The most challenging is the fact there is never enough time to do everything you want to do.
How has the organization grown and changed over the years?
The club was strong in earlier days. WCV even had Juniors Club, which was very active in the community. It was the club to belong to!
When WCV had our clubhouse on Oak Dr., the members cooked up social dinners and their husbands served the wine. The ladies put together wonderful, well-attended fashion shows and awarded scholarships. The members participated in the Vista Christmas parade, riding in a member’s husband’s vintage cars.
After we sold the clubhouse in 2005, we had money to give away, and we have delighted in sharing luncheons with representatives of our recipient organizations for 12 years now. We shared our June luncheon with our scholarships recipients and their shared goals and visions give us great hope for the future.
The club had a strong core group in 2010, but by January 2013, we had lost 16 members who passed away or resigned. We have 20 new members who have joined since 2013 and stayed in the club. Our membership in May was 35 ladies, with eight new members joining from January through April of this year. Our common goal brings excitement to our meetings: working together makes us stronger!
What are the primary goals of the Woman’s Club of Vista, both short-term and long-term?
Our short-term goals are:
• Giving service in the community
• Donating to support the organizations who serve the diverse populations here in North County San Diego
• Building membership in our club
• Becoming more visible in our centennial year
• We will continue to keep close watch on our finances
• We will continue fundraising to support and promote our donations and scholarships
• Building membership will always be a priority
What have been some of the organization’s most successful projects or fundraising events?
We really enjoyed planning and sharing our club’s 95th anniversary in 2011, and this year’s Centennial Celebration in April was a wonderful opportunity to show the community and our federation that the WCV is here to stay.
Our scholarships program is very strong – we work closely with the high school counselors and are now donating to seniors graduating from four traditional high schools and three alternative high schools. We support students who will be continuing their education with trade training, at a local community college, or attending a four-year university.
We also collect and distribute books on a monthly basis for elementary school libraries, support veterans and the Women’s Resource Center, and collect money for Pennies for Pines. The club also contributed to the building of the pond and stream project at Alta Vista Botanical Garden using the funds from recycling, funded a rose-covered gazebo, and has provided free nature field trips for schoolchildren. In 2016, WCV donated $35,000 to 27 organizations, awarded $13,500 in scholarships to students graduating from seven Vista Unified School District high schools, and awarded two special scholarships to students at CSUSM to celebrate our centennial.
Are there any other projects or events that you’d like to elaborate on for our readers, either recent or upcoming?
WCV has adopted HMLA-369, a helicopter squadron at Camp Pendleton. Working with the squadron’s family readiness officer, the City of Vista, and other service clubs, our members have supported and volunteered at two summertime Beach Bash events and holiday meals, and even provided 350 cupcakes to the squadron to celebrate the 240th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps in November 2015. Their thanks and hugs at every event match our members’ heartfelt expressions of gratitude for their service.
We shared our Donation Day in May with 40 guests and met our scholarships recipients at our June luncheon – we are celebrating and supporting our community and brightening our future. All meetings are open to visitors if they make their lunch reservations with President Nancy B Jones through email@example.com.
From the Officers
“Whether you care about advancing students’ educational aspirations, or you are passionate about providing for seniors; whether you are interested in animals and animal rescue, or you want to support victims of domestic violence or homelessness; I encourage you to join us. The Woman’s Club of Vista has a place for you. Together we can make a difference.”
– Linda Story, Corresponding Secretary and Scholarships Chairman
“I love the difference that a group of civic-minded women can make both locally and nationally.”
– Karen Rott, 4th Vice President Ways and Means
“I receive great comfort and increased personal growth in the friendship of this club and the impressive community work its members accomplish…if someone is interested in having fun while receiving great satisfaction in doing for others, this is the club to join.”
– Fran Jensen, Publicity Chairman
How would somebody go about joining the Woman’s Club of Vista? What is the criteria for membership?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, send a contact through our website at www.womansclubofvista.org to attend a meeting, or contact a current member of the club. We will send out our most recent newsletter and a membership application with current dues information. We meet at Shadowridge Golf Club on the second Wednesday of the month, September through June.
We encourage our visitors to get to know us and how they will be able to effectively volunteer in the club and in the community. We are open to women and men members who live in Vista or the vicinity. All are welcome to visit and join the club.
Can you describe the most gratifying aspect of serving the Vista community?
It is a great feeling to know that we are helping make Vista and the surrounding communities better places to live.
If you could grant the Woman’s Club one wish, what would it be?
Many new enthusiastic members ready to donate their hands and their hearts to working with us to fulfill our mission statement: “Enriching lives through philanthropy and volunteer service.”
If you had to describe the Woman’s Club using only five words, what would you say?
Friendly, active, supportive community volunteers.
The Woman’s Club of Vista celebrated its 100th year of service on April 17. Tell us more about this event.
As the oldest service club in Vista, WCV was proud to share our 100th anniversary at our Centennial Celebration in April at Shadowridge Golf Club with 125 in attendance. This amazing event featured Dr. Karen Haynes, President of Cal State University San Marcos, sharing her insights into working in the community for the benefit of many and empowering women through education. Peter Robberecht, also known as Keyslayer, entertained on the piano. Thanks to our lively auctions and raffles, we were successful in raising funds to support scholarships for CSUSM and VUSD students. We appreciate the support of our friends from across the community as we move into our next hundred years of service.