Laughter and longevity are the ties that bind the ladies of the Waytonka Club together.
“Follow your heart.” This simple message of hope has been the leading light that guides the women of Waytonka Club Inc. It’s also a torch they say they’re determined to pass on well into the future.
The Waytonka Club is composed of a group of women whose mission is to serve the needs of local families and individuals in the communities of Wayzata, Plymouth, Minnetonka and surrounding areas. Its origins date back to 1911, when some local nurses, known as the Junior Mission Band, raised money for a missionary in China. In 1937, the members decided to change the focus of the group to local needs. A name change to Waytonka Club followed.
Sarah Colpitts, current president of Waytonka Club, has belonged to the organization for 23 years. She says her family has deep ties to this community, “My kids are fourth-generation Wayzata High School graduates,” she says.
Typically, the group hands out three to four scholarships a year to seniors in financial need graduating from Wayzata High School. As a nod to the group’s roots and to honor the nurses who first started the organization, Waytonka Club looks for candidates who are pursuing a future in the medical field and have a history of volunteerism within the community.
The club’s treasurer, Barb Boulware, who joined the organization 34 years ago, says Waytonka Club nearly ceased to exist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We went through a time when there were like five of us that kept it alive. You know, we kept it going,” Boulware says. “It was important that we were still there, especially for the battered women shelters that we work with and places like Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners,” she says.
Now, the club is growing again and has around 20 members, with ages ranging anywhere from 40 to 80 years old.
Cindy Chang has been a member of the club for three years but has already embraced the role of marketing coordinator. When asked what drew her to join, she says, “It’s the sense of community within the club and the great feeling we get from helping our local community by giving back.”
The club holds a large fundraising event every spring and fall. On November 11, Waytonka Club is sponsoring a fall craft fair at the Hamel Community Center, featuring 20–25 vendors. The event is free and open to the public.
“There are homemade soaps, jewelry, mittens, aprons, home décor, pet stuff, etc. We usually have a Waytonka Club table and put funds raised from this event into our scholarship fund,” Boulware says.
The organization plans to sell its popular spruce tip pots at the event, too. “When we do our marketplace with our vendors, we make these spruce tip pots with the evergreens and the dogwood. The last few years, we’ve sold out every time,” Colpitts says.
Prices range from $50–$80 per pot. Those interested in preordering can do so starting in mid-October.