Gardening clubs, historical societies, PTA boards—all classic staples of suburban life. A county as diverse as Westchester, though, naturally boasts an array of organizations more varied and unique than your average breakfast club. Here are four you might want to join.
Ardsley Curling Club. Sure, every four years you watch with perplexed interest as screaming winter Olympians shoot polished granite stones across a frozen shuffleboard, but do you really know anything about curling? Most don’t, reports Jeff Lesuk, former president of the Ardsley Curling Club. “Members usually pick it up at a later age—I started at forty,” he says. “But they do learn quickly that it’s way more difficult than it looks and a lot of fun.” This year’s Olympics sparked such great demand that the ACC, which was founded in 1932, offered eight-week trial memberships. Check out its website (ardsleycurling.org) for regular open houses.
Westchester’s Emergency Communi-cations Association. Among the first responders at relief shelters in Brooklyn following 9/11, WECA’s more than 200 dedicated amateur radio operators, or “hams,” serve as the communications arm of Westchester’s Department of Emergency Services and the Westchester Red Cross. They host field days, volunteer at more than 10 public events each year including the Empire State Games and the March of Dimes Walk-a-Thon, and respond to everything from floods in Mamaroneck to fires in Yonkers. “Every ten years, someone’s predicting new technology will be the end of ham radio, but ham membership has grown consistently since the 1960s,” says WECA’s Director of Emergency Services Tom Raffaelli. Meetings are held the second Monday of every month, 7:30-9:30pm; Westchester County Center. All are welcome (weca.org).
Goldens Bridge Hounds. Margaret Thatcher’s Lord Chancellor, Quintin Hogg, once said that foxhunting was the wisest religion known to man. The more than 50 members of the Goldens Bridge Hounds of Westchester intend to keep it that way. Riding on horseback, they follow their 60 Penn-MaryDels (hounds bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware) as they chase foxes and coyotes through private land in North Salem. “When the foxes get tired they go home, we go home, and everyone’s happy,” says Peter Moritz, who joined the club after picking up foxhunting in Germany. The GBH never kills or harms the wildlife and holds “paces,” or sporting events, as well as practice rides for all ages and skill-levels. Meetings are held Tuesday and Saturday at varying times from August to March. All are welcome (goldensbridge hounds.org).
Three Garridebs of Westchester—Although Sherlock Holmes recently deciphered the riddle of mainstream movie success, the Three Garridebs of Westchester (named after one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works) has been investigating the series’ four novels and 56 short stories for decades. A group of college kids originally founded this society in 1973, but now more than 100 mostly middle-aged members meet to read, scrutinize, and debate Doyle’s distinguished detective dramas. Not a Holmes scholar? “We like to see people who haven’t read all the stories because we know they have a treat ahead of them,” says Ben Vizoskie, one of oddly four “Garridebs” who head the club. Don’t miss an annual favorite —the Victorian picnic with tea, readings, and croquet—every September. Meetings are generally held the third Saturday of odd months. All are welcome (3garridebs.homestead.com).