The Graduates

Description and History

Updated October 1, 2017

 

 

 

 

In the beginning:

 

We formed a private club at an initial meeting of fourteen graduating Santa Barbara Newcomers Club members on March 13, 2002. At that time there were also some thirty other persons who had expressed interest in such a club but could not attend the meeting. Decisions taken at the meeting included:

 

  • Club name: The Graduates
  • Mission statement:
    • To continue and extend friendships begun in the Santa Barbara Newcomers Club,
    • To continue to explore the cultural, educational, recreational and charitable opportunities in our environment, and
    • To grow in good fellowship, good citizenship and good fun!
  • Basic operating concept:
    • A volunteer organization with no paid employees
    • Informal organization with as few rules and regulations as practical
    • Membership open to those who have graduated from the Santa Barbara Newcomers Club
    • Governance by Board; monthly board meetings, annual informal club meeting
    • Communications principally by electronic means, not by paper
    • A member’s work on one activity per year results in eligibility for next-year membership

 

There has been some evolution in the details of Club operation since the beginning, but in general the mission and intent remain unchanged. Membership numbers have been most gratifying, offering evidence that The Graduates serves beneficial purposes for multiple “generations” of former Newcomers. 

 

Members at the end of:

2002  122

2006  208

2010  268

2014 313

2003  150

2007  208

2011  271

2015 304

2004  194

2008  254

2012  306

2016 364

2005  238

2009  258

2013  299

2017 387 (Oct 1)

 

Communication with members:

 

Communication is by electronic means, although U.S. Mail will be arranged for members without electronic mail. Events are announced on the Graduates web page www.thegraduates.org and by announcements sent by e-mail to the membership. A section on the members-only web page index is reserved for “classified ads,” and this is where we post joint events with Newcomers, or Graduates members’ ads to sell concert tickets or other items, draw attention to their artistic or other community activities, etc. It is not designed as a “newsletter” for community events or fundraisers unrelated to Graduates members, since there are many such calendars and announcements in other Santa Barbara media. These items are not sent to members as individual e-mail messages.  Members need to visit the web page to access the information. 

 

A member listing is placed in the members-only section of the web page to facilitate communication among members. Members are asked not to use the listing as a source of e-mail addresses for mass mailings. Broad-scale announcements should be sent to [email protected] for distribution or posting so that club spam can be minimized.

 

 

Events:

 

Each member is expected to participate in the creation or operation of at least one event per year to qualify for membership in the following year. 

 

Events are open to member couples and singles, although location restrictions may limit the number of attendees. In such cases a first-come, first-served reservation policy is followed, with a wait-list to allow for possible cancellations.

 

Events can be any legal group activity, either for Graduates only or occasionally in cooperation with SB Newcomers or other organizations. Members or groups of members are encouraged to propose unique and interesting events and to prepare a written description for use in e-mail announcements and web posting. These are scheduled on the master calendar through discussion with the Board’s Event Coordinator(s). 

 

See the web page www.thegraduates.org and the Past Events Scrapbook tab on the Members’ Pages index for the history of events to date. The Club has posted hundreds of events since its formation! These past-event records provide ideas for future activities, and the web page includes forms to give guidance in organizing and reporting events.  A convenient search box is included for finding events and people by keyword entry.

 

Many events are originated by Club members, but several larger events are initiated by the Board each year. Past examples are the Holiday Dinner Dance, Great Gatsby Dress-All-In-White Garden Party, Summer Solstice Party, Cinco de Mayo, Graduates Camp-Out and others. These major events are planned so that a large proportion of Club members may attend. Live music, refreshments and food are frequently included. Some subsidy is often provided with Board approval, to reduce event cost per member and provide for music or other entertainment.

 

Most events are planned as break-even activities, generally with a small charge to members to cover supplies replenishment, water/soft drinks, and a gift for the host when the event is in a private home. Often, bring an appetizer or bring your own wine are part of the event, which shares food and drink costs among members who actually attend the event.

 

For the larger events, or one where the organizer desires possible Club subsidy of a special feature such as live music or special food, the Board Event Coordinators must be involved at the earliest possible stage so that expenditures may be approved and lead-times accommodated. 

 

For each event, reservations are taken by a designated committee member, and reservations are confirmed upon payment by check. We try to be accommodating by using wait-lists. There are no refunds permitted. If unable to attend, members must contact the event reservations person to see if there is a wait-list, from which a replacement can be found.

 

Beachside walking, TGIF, Cheers and others are Santa Barbara Newcomers events to which Graduates are invited. These are posted on the Newcomers website. Graduates members are encouraged to visit this “SBNC public events” page for schedules. From time to time, the Club receives invitations to other SBNC activities, and these are often posted on The Graduates web site in the “Messages and Ads” section of the Members’ Index Page, or directly on the Graduates calendar. An example is the annual Fiesta Carriage Decorating activity. Joint events allow continuation of social contact with Newcomer friends who have not yet graduated, and opportunities for Newcomers to learn about The Graduates through its participating members. Graduates are encouraged to visit the web site frequently to keep up with calendar and classified events.   

 

The Club has a drink responsibly policy. We recognize that our location in wine country fosters an interest and taste for good wine, and it is often available at our events. When the Club sponsors wine, we will issue drink tickets to attendees in order to control the consumption of alcohol. We will always serve food with the wine. In these ways we try to raise safety consciousness and avoid over-consumption.

 

Finances:

 

The Graduates Treasurer maintains one account, in the name of The Graduates, which has several components. All expenditures from the account require receipts, plus approval of appropriate Board representative(s).

 

During the first few years, the Club built a reserve fund of about two years’ dues per member. In recent years, the growth of this fund has been slowed, principally by board-approved entertainment expenditures for major events. Today the fund grows as membership dues are collected, and shrinks as expenses are accrued. Overall, it grows at a rate similar to the increase in cost of the supplies and services the Club purchases during the year.

 

 The intent of the account is to:

·         Buffer the Club from natural variations in profit or loss from the individual events 

·         Permit club-subsidized value-added features such as live music, valet parking, or special food or drink at major events

·         Permit early payment of deposits for space or entertainment

·         Provide for other club-wide expenses

Account Income:

·         Dues per member individual per year

·         Graduates events which result in a profit

Account Expenses:

·         Graduate events which result in a loss

·         Maintenance of a stock of supplies for repeating events (e.g. socials)

·         Club-wide fixed expenses such as web page and domain costs, mailings

·         Club sponsorship or subsidy of major events

·         Reimbursement for “Graduates Care” supplies and mailing to members facing medical or personal challenges

·         Club liability insurance

·         County Recorder fees for Club registration

·         Emergencies

 

Finally:

 

There are some necessary formalities in any group our size, to assure fairness of opportunity for size-limited events and to insure that income and expenses are handled properly. But The Graduates Board seeks to operate our private club with a minimum of red tape. Part of our mission, after all, is to Have Fun

 

The Graduates is governed by its Board, but its life blood is made up of the positive attitudes of the members and their interest in planning and participating in the group’s activities.

 

We have been successful since 2002, and perhaps that is due to our highly diverse membership for which The Graduates serves common purposes. The Club’s founders, many of whom remain members today, are deeply pleased at the Club’s success and to see the friendships and fun which surround the informative, entertaining and worth-while events organized by members of The Graduates. Thank you!