About St. Andrews Woman's Club
The St. Andrews Woman’s Club was organized by 21 women interested in creating a better community in the growing St. Andrews area of the Midlands. On March 15, 1963, the club was chartered by the South Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1990, SCFWC became the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of South Carolina. St. Andrews Woman’s Club has been an active member in GFWC-SC with large representation at conventions, hosting state and district functions, and many members serving at the state level.
Club member, Marian St. Clair, served as president of GFWC-SC from 2002-2004, and is the current GFWC Secretary; she previously served as GFWC Treasurer. Club member, Kristin Fields is the current GFWC-SC Treasurer. Club member, Laurie O‘Kelly, served as GFWC-SC President for the 2010-2012 term and she is now serving as GFWC-SC advisor. Club member, Beth Taylor is currently serving as Central District President for the 2012- 2014 term. Membership increased and from 1965 through 1973, the club operated two divisions, Morning and Evening, with separate programs and projects. Membership has been fostered through the years with annual membership teas, the creation of SAWC Membership pins, and awards such as the annual Outstanding Clubwoman Award established in 1972 and the Dianne McCarty Spirit Award established in 1995. The club celebrated its 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries with parties at GFWC-SC Headquarters and set aside a time capsule in its 25th year, which was opened in August 1998. The club will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, a celebration is planned to invite back all former members.
PROGRAMS: The wide range of monthly programs offered represents both the diverse interests of club members and the changing events of the times. Each monthly meeting is hosted by a CSP and they pick the subject and secure a speaker.
ST. ANDREWS COMMUNITY RECREATION CENTER: Club members supported the St. Andrews Recreation Association which focused on youth. The St. Andrews School (built in 1910 as the one-room Nates School) was unused in 1963 and deeded to the Association for use as a Recreation Center. Club members renovated the Center and by 1968, monthly club meetings were held there. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the club annually sponsored a girl’s softball team, chaperoned youth parties at the Center, placed billiard tables in the center, and contributed to the establishment of the St. Andrews Swimming Pool (adjacent to the Community Center). The club continued to use and improve the Community Center until the disbanding Recreation Association returned ownership to the School District in 1996.
ST. ANDREWS LIBRARY: The summer of 1964, club members pooled their resources and began a library project with 65 hard cover books in a corner of St. Andrews Elementary School. That fall the library moved to a room in the Community Center and was staffed by club members two days a week. By July 1966, 1200 books per month were loaned (during 14 hours/week operation) and Richland County Library supported the club’s efforts to locate a permanent site. After 13 bad leads, a site was offered by Home Federal Savings & Loan on Bush River Road and in August, 1967, ground breaking ceremonies were held. The St. Andrews Woman’s Club was recognized for its efforts in obtaining the library for the community. In 1968, the club formed the Friends of the Library, a community support group that is still active today for libraries throughout Richland County. The popular library finally outgrew its original building, and in 1992 moved to a new facility on Broad River Road. Club members celebrated the library’s progress with a monetary contribution of $5,000. As the needs of the St. Andrews Branch Library diminished, the club expanded its support to the Irmo Branch of the Lexington County Library and has continued to support school libraries and literacy efforts for many special citizens.
FUND-RAISING: St. Andrews Woman’s Club employed a diversity of fund-raisers to support its many community activities. Early projects included bake sales, talent shows, fruitcake sales, flea markets, the inevitable cookbook sales, and annual craft auctions. In 1966, the club sponsored its first Fashion Show and Bridge benefit netting $300; this project was repeated until 1981. The first St. Andrews Woman’s Club Bridal Showcase and Fashion Show was held in 1982. That first year was difficult, as many feared expenses would surpass income, but the Showcase registered 194 brides and netted $1,845. The St. Andrews Woman's Club has become the premier bridal planning event in the Midlands, with the 2013 Bridal Showcase netting over $35,000 and registering over 500 brides and grooms. With a successful fundraiser established, the club has been able to make significant contributions to community projects such as the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Garden, St. Andrews Kids Café, Canoeing for Kids, Nancy K Perry Children’s Shelter, Nurturing Center, Sexual Trauma Services, Sharing God’s Love, SisterCare, Dream Riders, Woman’s Shelter, Operation Smile, First Steps-Lexington County, Family Shelter, The Specialminds Foundation, Mental Illness Recovery Center Inc., InVest USA, Palmetto Place Children’s Emergency Shelter, Birthright of Columbia, Home Works of South Carolina, Capital Senior Center, Habitat for Humanity and Family Connections of South Carolina.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Community service projects through the years have benefited the St. Andrews area as well as South Carolina with thousands of hours of volunteer service. The early projects, the Community Center and the Library, are cited above. The St. Andrews Directory, a newcomer’s guide to the growing area, was produced every other year from 1964 until the early 1980’s. Big Bird’s Birthday Party was a project that provided preschoolers with hearing, vision, and dental screening, health and safety presentations, and a party with several Sesame Street characters. This project began with vision screening for one school in 1965-1966 and expanded in the 1970’s until the annual Big Bird party (a two day event) provided screening for many area children. In 1987, state law mandated screening and the Big Bird party was discontinued.
During the 1970’s, the club sponsored events for the girls residing at Willow Lane School, and in the 1980’s, attention was focused on the Carolina Children’s Home. For three years, the Judy Thomas Cottage was adopted by the club and year-round support was provided. Hot Line Heavies, a summary of crisis and intervention phone numbers for teens, was produced regularly from the mid 1970’s until the page was incorporated into the Rainbow Guide to Parenting for Prevention published by the L/RADAC in 1995. Education has always been emphasized and the club has offered scholarships, citizenship awards, special class sponsorship, and literacy programs. Interest in international events included rallies for Vietnam soldiers in the 1960’s and culminated in the club’s active support of a sister club in the Philippines in the 1990’s. For highway safety, one of the club’s first project supported installation of the first traffic light in the St. Andrews area (Broad River at Bush River Roads). Club members endorsed both seat belt and child restraint use and legislation, and the club initiated the first car seat loaner program in the Midlands. Many American Cancer Society projects have been supported including raising funds for cancer research via Send a Mouse to College, participation in Lexington County Jail’n Bails and Cancer support groups, and sponsoring a Christmas Tour of Homes to establish the Lexington County Breast Cancer Survivor Fund in the 1990’s. Hundreds of projects focusing on community improvement and fostering a better environment for youth have been planned and accomplished each year by club members. St. Andrews Woman’s Club continues to make a difference in our community.