Kathryn Klar was born in Cleveland but she lived on the east coast of Florida for 40 years. She came to the island of Fort Myers Beach as a vacationer in the 70’s but in January of 2018 decided to make the island her permanent home. Her line of work is Real Estate. The name of the company she works for is FMB Realty.
Kathryn has been a member of the Fort Myers Beach Women’s Club since moving to the island. She tells BTRN its because she loves the concept of what the Club is doing. In March of this year she was elected President.
BTRN: What are the duties of the President?
Kathryn: It’s about organizing everything to make sure things happens. The president is also the working member of the Alliance which has almost all the non profits on the island. The Alliance came about when the past President Beverly Milligan was resurrecting the club and wanted to get the not for profits together to make sure there wasn’t overlap scheduling events. That way everyone’s event is a success. We get everyone to tell us what they’re doing so we can add that to the calendar. When the green market is open at Santini and the Baptist Church we have a table with bags which have everyone’s information on events. They are also located at the library and the Chamber so all events are advertised.
BTRN: Tell us about the Women’s Club
Kathryn: The mission is to support educational, recreational activities for the nonprofits and charitable organizations within the community of FMB. The Women’s club was organized by a bunch of community women in the 1950’s that wanted to save the historic school house and make it a clubhouse. They started by cleaning up the beach and gardening, general improvements to make everything look nice. Due to their age the club started to die out so in 2019 a bunch of women decided to place more emphasis on the club and revitalize it.
BTRN: How do they do that?
Kathryn: Normally we do fundraisers. One of them is the Christmas tree festival which is two full days and includes a chili cook-off and bake sale. We’ve had two and hopefully we’ll have our third this year. We have every other 5013C organization on the island bring a decorated tree which then gets auctioned and the profits go to them. It’s a win win. This last year we had a wine bottle tree by the chamber that went for about $700. We also do the Putt n’ Pub. There are 9 holes held at various restaurants in the downtown area. Each team of 4 dresses in costume and competes to win prizes for best dressed. There are prizes at many of the holes which they auction off by selling tickets. They all add up for the individual non-profits.
BTRN: How do people become members of the Women’s Club?
Kathryn: You must be sponsored by a member of the club which can be a woman or a man as we opened the club up to men. There’s an application to fill out and a $75 annual fee.
BTRN: How many members do you have?
Kathryn: We fluctuate between 70-83 which is wonderful. When this was taken over 2 years ago there were 12 so it has really grown. We are always looking for more members, younger members so they can continue this on. We have a lot of members who are in their 40’s and 50’s. Before it was more like 70’s and 80’s, even into the 90’s. We would like to encourage younger people to get involved with the community and help out because that’s what it’s all about. That is what the beach is all about.
BTRN: When do you meet?
Kathryn: We meet the first Wednesday of every month. The board meets first at 5:30 pm and then the general membership typically around 6. We do a little social first and then the meeting. Because of the Pandemic we have not had any live meetings since April. We did a Zoom in May and June but July was cancelled. We’re planning for September. We’ve had to cancel our events and stop renting the clubhouse as they have to do a complete COVID clean. We re-evaluate that every 30 days. We do have some ideas for when we do reconvene our meetings to draw more people in like having a flower arranging presentation, doing some dances, appetizer night, a mixology night where a bartender comes in to show us how to make a few cocktails.
BTRN: What else do you do to raise money?
Kathryn: We have the two events I mentioned and a third one that would have happened this year, the Kentucky Derby Party. This is a new event. We also rent out the clubhouse for events and to other non profits for their meetings or events. We had started a capital campaign to revitalize the clubhouse which is the original schoolhouse but it’s on hold due to COVID, however we’re still working on plans and the costs. Once the clubhouse is revitalized it can be rented for weddings, parties and other events. The plan is to do some wrap around porches, add on and revamp the kitchen. We want to open up where the stage is so we can have some productions. Every year the PTO has a fundraiser on the property of the clubhouse.
The Woman’s Club 2020/21 Program & Event Schedule.
(Dates To Be Determined)
- FIRST Meeting: Cajun Food and Hurricanes
- Program: Flower Arranging
- SECOND Meeting: Italian Night
- Program: Recipe exchange
- THIRD Meeting: Soups and Salads
- Program: Wreath making/Planter design (pending time of year)
- FOURTH Meeting: Appetizer night
- Program: Quick fix apps to get you through seasonal company
- FIFTH Meeting/Event: Date Night and Dance
- SIXTH Meeting: Health and Wellness Soup and salad
- Program: How to reduce stress – crystals, essential oils and more!
- SEVENTH Meeting: Mexican Night
- Program: Mixology Masters
First event will depend on when we are able to open.
CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER: Our annual tree festival will be held in December if COVID guidelines are clear.
PUTT AND PUB FUNDRAISER: The annual charity Putt and Pub will raise funds for local non-profits, as well as the Woman’s Club
MAY FUNDRAISER: Derby Party