Category Archives: Interest Groups

Interest Group Updates by Cherril Peabody

At our recent Showcase meeting, quite a few people signed up to join an interest group. Here’s another opportunity for you to sign up if you were unable to be there. If you would like to add to your enjoyment of branch membership by joining one of these groups, please contact Cherril Peabody at or 916-973-0821.

 The following existing groups are accepting new members:

  • Art and Architecture
  • Board Games (Day and Evening)
  • Book groups 2, 6, 12, and 33
  • Chicago Bridge
  • Cultural History
  • Film Fans
  • Great Decisions III (Day)
  • Readers’ Theater
  • Scrabble Just for Fun
  • Singles Dining Out
  • Travel
  • Walk-To-Lunch
  • W.O.W. (Women of the World-Needs a new leader)

There is a description of each group in the 2016-17 blue Membership Directory and Handbook.

We have several new prospective groups, most of which were described in the September Capital Ideas newsletter:

  • Couples Dining Out (Younger Couples – needs a leader)
  • Great Decisions IV (Evening- needs a leader)
  • Charades (Has a Leader)
  • Opera (Attending Metropolitan Opera screenings locally – needs a leader)

volunteer-clip-artPlease note that most of the proposed new groups and one of the existing groups need leadership, so please indicate when you contact me if you would be willing to lead a group.



What’s New with the Interest and Book Groups This Year? by Cherril Peabody

book groupExisting Groups: Several interest groups and book groups have some openings for new
members, so now’s your chance to sign up!

Great Decisions III meets on the third Monday at 1 p.m. They learn about what’s going on in various parts of the world and have great discussions, not to mention a great time!

Have you ever had a secret desire to be an actress? Here’s your opportunity to try it out. Readers’ Theater meets on the second Wednesday in the evening. They read plays (with lots of attitude!) provided by a branch in Southern California.

If you enjoy word games, you’ll enjoy the Scrabble group that meets on the last Monday afternoon of each month. Several twosomes play at once, and then they switch for a second round.

The two Board Games groups also can accept a few new members. One meets the last Thursday of each month at 1 p.m., and the other on the last Friday evening at 7 p.m. They play all kinds of non-computer games.

Walk to Lunch members choose an area to walk in and then go to a restaurant in the area for lunch. They would welcome a few more members.

Book Group 12 members come from all over the county to meet on the first Thursday evening, mostly reading fiction, but sometimes nonfiction.

Book Group 33 members mostly hail from Carmichael and Arden-Arcade, but carpoolers from other areas are most welcome at their meetings bright and early on the first Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

New Groups: A couple of our existing groups are full, and their leaders feel that a new section could be started, so we need to find out if there is sufficient interest and leadership available in order to proceed.

Both Great Decisions evening groups are full, so Great Decisions IV would be another evening group. Obviously, working women can’t fill the openings in Great Decisions III, which meets during the day, so let’s see if there is enough interest to start a new evening one.

Couples Dining Out is pretty full, too. There’s a sense that there would be interest among younger married or committed members for their own dining out group. Is this true? We don’t know unless we ask.

WOW (Women of the World) is not a new program, but it is returning to its roots as an interest group. Since meetings will be held in private homes where space is limited, members will need to enroll moving forward. We do have leadership for WOW, so all you have to do is sign up with Cherril Peabody. You can pre-enroll now or sign up at the Showcase meeting if space is still available.

Contact Interest Group Director Cherril Peabody to pre-enroll for the fall at or 916-973-0821.


Exploring Our Interest Groups – Cultural History Group by Cherril Peabody

The Cultural History group, formerly known as History of the World, looks at the early DNA of modern life, discussing innovations that have brought about social, economic and personal change. Members trace events and ideas as they have evolved over time to see how they are affecting our current lives and their prospects for the future. Members like to continue getting cultural historyto know each other, so each one comes to meetings with a new question for anyone who would like to answer about her own life as related to the topic, which often brings a lot of laughter. Some of the past and future topics from books we’ve read are lasers, women, noise, working solo or in networks, digital communication, chocolate, wine/beer, tea/coffee. The group chooses books with topics members are curious about but know little about initially. Rosa Lee Black is Chair of this group. Contact her at

Attention, Branch members: If you have an idea for a new interest group to start this fall, and especially if you are willing to chair the group if it gets going, please contact Interest Group Director Cherril Peabody, We are planning to publicize ideas for new groups in advance of the Showcase Meeting and solicit members for them so we can hit the ground running in the fall. Thanks for your help!

WOW (Women of the World) will be returning this year to its original status as an interest group. As we are envisioning it, the group will have a set membership of 12 to 15 members and will plan three or four presentations for its membership only in members’ homes. Anne Rhodes has agreed to chair the group. She is starting to take names now for membership, so if you would like to join this group, contact her at

Exploring Our Interest Groups – Book Groups June Newsletter by Cherril Peabody

book groupProbably the most popular interest groups we have are our book groups. Back in the days when the branch had over 1,000 members, we sponsored at least 33 book groups. We know this because book group 33 is still meeting many years later, and many of the other book groups have been meeting for 25 years or longer. Currently we have nine book groups.

Most of the groups meet every month, though a few take the summers and/or December off. They read a variety of different kinds of books and may have specific guidelines they follow in picking the books they read. Book group 8, for example, only reads books by women authors and alternates fiction and non-fiction during the year. When groups meet to pick their books for the year, members will volunteer to lead the discussion on a book at one meeting and to host at another meeting. Smaller groups may need to double up on reviewing and hosting duties. Most groups meet in members’ homes, and usually the hostess provides refreshments.

Anyone who is interested in joining a book group for next year can contact Book Group Coordinator Linda Cook, or 916-962-0653. A few of the groups are unable to accept new members at this time because of space considerations, but most of them are taking new members.

Exploring Our Interest Groups-Fun and Games by Cherril Peabody

All dressed for board games fun! Dawn Boyd, Lisa Carpenter, Nanette Ng, Alice Bauer

All dressed for board games fun! Dawn Boyd, Lisa Carpenter, Nanette Ng, Alice Bauer

Our AAUW branch members like to play games!  We have five interest groups that feature games of various kinds. Two of the groups play board games, another plays Scrabble, and two others play Bridge.

Anne Rhodes is the chair of the two board game groups. One meets in the afternoon and the other meets in the evening, both at her home.  Spouses and significant others are welcome to participate in these groups. Both groups would welcome new members. For more information, contact Anne at or 916-692-5075.

Vivian Counts chairs the Scrabble group, which meets at her home on the last Monday afternoon of the month. Attendees play one or two other players, so there are usually several games going on at once. More Scrabble players would be welcome in this group, too. To find out more about it, contact Vivian at or 916-483-8827.

The Bridge for Fun group is chaired by Jane Reinmuth. The members meet on the first Tuesday afternoon of each month. Margot Leidig chairs the Chicago Bridge group, which meets on the fourth Wednesday morning of the month. Neither group has any openings currently for regular players.

Exploring Our Interest Groups: Travel by Cherril Peabody

Travel is one of our newer interest groups, which started two years ago. Sandi Schoenman is chair of the group. They organize trips together and share information about other trips they have taken. They meet on the second Tuesday morning of the month.

travelRecently, five members of the group took a six-day trip to Los Angeles for a Road Scholar program, “Artist Collectors and Their Collections,” and Sandi reports that it was a great trip and very educational. This month, six members are going on a trip to Savannah, Charleston and Jekyll Island, again with Road Scholar. Five members are planning a trip to Seattle in September.

The group is still taking new members because the group is somewhat fluid with some members always away traveling. For more information, contact Sandi at

Exploring Our Interest Groups: The Foodies by Cherril Peabody

Dining at Star Ginger

Dining at Star Ginger

We all like to get together with friends or loved ones to eat delicious food and share conversation, and we have three interest groups whose goal is to do just that.

Singles Dining Out meets the first Sunday evening of each month. Our president, Nancy McCabe, has been chair of the group for several years. The group dines at a different restaurant each month, with recommendations coming from group members. Some of the restaurants are fairly upscale gourmet destinations, while others are inexpensive and casual ethnic cafes. There is a core group that comes regularly, but other members only come occasionally. For more information, contact Nancy McCabe at (916) 383-8405 or

Couples Dining Out meets the last Sunday evening of each month. The chair is Sharon Norris. Husbands are included in this group, and therefore the places they eat tend to feature substantial food offerings and not a lot of ethnic cuisine. To accommodate conversation they distribute themselves among separate tables of no more than eight people. The entrée prices per person tend to be in the $20 to $30 range. Like the singles group, most of the couples come regularly, but some only come once in a while. For more information, contact Sharon Norris at (916) 381-4166 or

The Healthy Heart group meets in member’s homes and for that reason is limited in the numbers they can accept in the group and is currently at maximum. They meet on the second Sunday evening for a sit-down dinner comprised of healthy foods. Many but not all of the dishes they prepare are vegetarian. The hostess of each dinner prepares the main course, and the rest of the attendees each bring something to complete the menu. They plan the meals in advance. It’s a casual process, but they may have a theme or specialize in a color. Jane Cooley is the chair of the group. If you’re interested in starting a second Health Heart group, contact her at (916) 483-0302 or

Exploring Our Interest Groups – Readers’ Theater by Cherril Peabody

Reader's theaterHave you always had a secret desire to be an actress? Well, the Readers’ Theater interest group can help you explore that heretofore hidden corner of your personality. Every month, October through May, Readers’ Theater members read a play – with feeling! – munch on a dessert treat, and generally have a good time together. The plays, which are sent out by the Northridge AAUW Branch, span a wide range of comedies and dramatic offerings. Every December their tradition is to read a children’s book called The Best/Worst Christmas Play Ever. In June, they don’t act out, they dine out – at lunch.

Readers’ Theatre needs some new actors! If you would like to try it out, give long-time chair Diane Petersen a call at 916-214-4644 or email her at

Exploring Our Interest Groups: Great Decisions by Cherril Peabody

great_decisions-2014-1-1-470x260You may have wondered what the Great Decisions groups do. They meet once a month from February through October to read about and discuss current events. The Great Decisions book comes from the Foreign Policy Association, and other groups besides AAUW use it. Each year’s edition covers a broad range of topics, recently including Russia, India Changes Course, Syria’s Refugee Crises, Human Trafficking, Brazil’s Metamorphosis, Food and Climate, Islamic Awakening, and U.S. Trade Policy.

Our branch has three Great Decision groups that meet in members’ homes. One group, Great Decisions II, is at capacity and currently not taking any new members. Great Decisions I meets on the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. The new chair of that group is Jen Henderson, and she says their group has room for one more member. You can contact Jen at Great Decisions III meets at 1 p.m. also on the third Monday, and Carol Hayes just took over as chair. They sometimes go out for lunch or have a potluck before they meet. They are welcoming new members, so you can contact Carol at The group members live all over town, so they carpool, and you too can be a part of that if you join the group.

Exploring Our Interest Groups: Art and Architecture by Cherril Peabody

The Art and Architecture group, one of the branch’s newer groups, started about five years ago. On the first Friday of each month, they tour an art gallery, see public outdoor art, or visit an architectural structure.  One of the first activities involved a tour of the public art at the new Sacramento International Airport terminal, with presentations by group members Anne Just and Vivian Counts, who are docents with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Art in Public Places program.

Art & Architecture at Preston Castle

Art & Architecture at Preston Castle

A different member plans the activity each month. Last month they visited the Preston Castle in Ione. This historic landmark dates back to the late 1800s. Twenty members and three guests participated.