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Castor club celebrates 9 decades

The celebration was held May 14

A Castor, Alta. club is celebrating nine continuous decades in the community.

The Castor Ladies Reading Club, or Book Club for short, gathered for the first time in 1934 and on May 14 celebrated its milestone anniversary.

According to long-time member Connie Gutenberg, little has changed with the club since its inception because of the rules, or constitution, it follows.

"There are 15 members always," said Gutenberg, at the anniversary celebration.

The club holds 15 meetings per year between September and May, spaced out approximately two weeks apart.

Gutenberg says that everyone takes a turn hosting.

At the first meeting at the beginning of the year, each member brings a book with them to share with the rest, and at every meeting, the book moves on to the next person.

"It's a chance to read 14 other books," said Gutenberg.

Each member is expected to give a report or presentation once during the year on any subject matter. The report could be a speech or a photo essay from a recent trip, the only real rule, according to Gutenberg, is it's not book-related.

Gutenberg says that the only things that really change within the group's rules are the leadership and the time of the meetings.

With the aging demographic of the club, over the years the group has progressively begun to meet early moving its initial 8:30 p.m. start time to 7 p.m. in recent years.

There is a club president and a secretary, each of whom takes the positions on for a one-year appointment. The current executive is Karen Simpson, president, and Bonnie O'Hara, secretary.

According to Gutenberg, when a member leaves the club, the remaining club members come together to discuss options as to who next invite into the group.

Gutenberg herself has seen many people come and go; she has been a continuous member of the club for 47 years, over half the club's existence.

Even the pandemic didn't slow the group down. When restrictions came in the ladies of the group moved online and carried on until they could meet in person again. 

While the Guinness Book of World Records has been contacted by the Castor club to see if their club holds any records for the longest duration of operation, Gutenberg says that the records book had no category for them to slot into. 

The May 14 celebration featured a meal and entertainment provided by Adam and Angelina Gandolfo and Veronica Weber at the Castor United Church.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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