In 1950, a group of energetic and enthusiastic women joined together to form the Cayucos Lioness Club. They were all wives, mothers, sisters, widows. or daughters of Lions Club members.
Of the original charter members, there are two women, Lena Minetti and Tena Bettencourt (pictured here with Bobbie Canet, RIP 2013), who are still active members attending meetings, working on service projects, and fund raising activities.
In addition to assisting the Lions Club with their activities, the object of the Lioness Club was, "To unite ourselves in stronger bonds of friendship, of fellowship, and of service to the community." And that was what the Club did, with great results.
The women took on all kinds of civic activities from helping the schools to working with the county to get a swimming pool in Cayucos.
The club was instrumental in getting the county to budget funds for building the community swimming pool at Hardie Park. It worked with several county supervisors to illustrate the need for such a pool in a beachside community. Supervisors Buz Kiddwell, Steve McElvaine, and Mr. Willeford all supported the women in their quest, and eventually the pool was opened in 1979. In the 1990's the Club gave an additional $23,000 to the county to build a tot pool for preschool youngsters.
Another outstanding project of the Club was providing a community Halloween Party. All the children of the area would gather at the elementary school, and then proceed, under the watchful eyes of their teachers, to parade through the downtown area of Cayucos where cars were backed into the parking spaces with their headlights turned on to serve as spotlights for the parading youngsters. The highlight of the evening was the awarding of cash prizes to the youngsters with the scariest, funniest, most Halloween-like, most complete or best homemade costumes. It was truly a joyous occasion.
Some of the many projects the Club has provided for the elementary school include: musical instruments such as flutes, clarinets, drums, trumpets, French horns, and trombones; scholarships for students to attend music camp; school field trips; and programs for school assemblies.
For the Cayucos Veterans Hall, the Lioness Club has provided a stage curtain, a piano, and tables and chairs.
Items provided to the Cayucos Library by the club included a 16 mm movie projector, a computer and software, and many books.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars, members sent packages of food and necessities to servicemen from the area.
Most of the play equipment at Hardie Park and much of the equipment at the main beach were also provided by the Lioness Club. A more recent addition to the beach area is a surf/sand wheel chair for use by disabled community members and visitors, and a shed to store the chair in.
The large concrete trash containers along Ocean Avenue were given to the community by the Club.
In recent years, Mutt Mitts dispensors to be used by residents and visitors to clean up after their pets, have been been placed in convenient spots throughut Cayucos, courtesy of the Cayucos Lioness Club.
Throughout the years, the group has provided funds for the Cayucos Skate Board Park, Little League, Camp Hapitalk, Special Olympics, Joyful Bags, Cayucos 4th of July Parade, Coast Union High School Sober Night graduation party, and the Cayucos Art Association Summer Art Classes.
Several years ago, the Club donated a defibrillator to the Cayucos Fire Department and had two benches installed on beach walks to provide comfort for walkers.
In recent years, the Lioness Club has supported the Junior Life Guard Program, Swimming Lessons for Cayucos Elememtary students, the Food Bank, School Art Show Trophies, the Save the Pier Program, and the AAUW's TechTrek Schorarshp program.
While service has been the primary aim of the Club, these women also knew how to have fun. Over the years they have put on several theatrical performances that wowed the town. In the 1950's and 60's there were shows that brought people from surrounding areas. In addition, the Cayucos Club's Marching Kazoo Band was a regular feature of the 4thof July Parade. Jewel Ambrosia led the group wearing jodphers that originally belonged to William Randolph Hearst. It was a rare sight to behold...and to hear.
People within the county government have said that when other groups within the county ask them how to get things for their area, they are frequently told to check with the Cayucos Lioness Club to see how things can be accomplished if you just set your mind to it.
The record of the Cayucos Lioness Club is one that few of the women founders could have foreseen.
Submitted by Lioness Willadean Borchard (2009)
Up-dated by Lioness Joie Krossa (2015)