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Group hopes to resurrect Clique Club

December 26, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- It was the early 1990s and eight couples had become the best of friends.

They all worshipped at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church and had found common threads of interest.

The couples were so tight-knit, some people referred to them as a clique.

So when they decided to form a social group, they had no trouble coming up with a name.

They became the Clique Club.

Though the name sounds exclusive, Lola Mosby, one of the original members, said nothing could be further from the truth.

"We welcomed everybody," she said.

Mosby, who lives in Halfway, said the club provided members an opportunity to come together for fellowship with dinners, dances and even a masquerade ball.

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But its main purpose was to serve the community.

"We saw a need around us," Mosby said. "And we wanted to help."

The club began taking dues and holding fundraisers in an effort to reach out to those in need throughout Washington County.

The first projects included donations to a scholarship fund and delivering turkeys to several local families for Thanksgiving.

Over the next few years, the club collected items for Toys for Tots, sponsored a children's splash party and raised funds for their church and numerous charities.

Mosby is especially proud of a plaque donated by the club honoring the late Charles E. Hodges, principal at North Street School. The plaque is mounted at the former school, now the site of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Mosby credited the late Bill Mason, the club's president for more than a decade, with making the group so successful.

"Through the church and as a former policeman, he knew everybody," she said. "And he knew how to get things done. You couldn't find a better friend."

Mosby said members were proud to be part of the Clique Club and everyone pitched in to make things run smoothly.

But as members got older or passed away, the club gradually dissolved, she said.

"It was a shame, but there wasn't enough interest among the younger people in keeping it going," she said.

Until now.

"People still remember the Clique Club and all its good work," said member Cece Crawley, 65, of Williamsport. "It was not about us. It was about giving back."

And that was something that wasn't lost on her daughter, Tanya Crawley Ortiz.

"As a young girl, I remember all the formal dinners and balls," she said. "But I also knew there was an important reason for holding those events. I knew, through my parents, that it was about helping others."

Today, Ortiz, 36, is part of a group that is hoping to resurrect the Clique Club and continue the work that made it famous.

"We've been getting the word out and we're really excited about the response we've been receiving," said Ortiz, who lives in Falling Waters, W.Va. "So many people absolutely feel there's a need."

"I'm so happy that the younger adults want to take over and proceed with this," Crawley said. "As parents, you want to instill a sense of compassion and caring in your children. Hopefully, the newer members will set an example and pass that on to the next generation."

Mosby also said she was happy to see an interest in bringing back the Clique Club.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how many come on board," she said.

This time around, however, she expects things might be done differently.

"We used to hold meetings in our homes to get things organized," she said. "Now, they'll probably be e-mailing each other with information."

But the important thing is that the Clique Club still has a purpose, Mosby said.

"Everybody seems to need something these days with the economy," she said. "I think being together as friends and doing whatever you can to help the community is a good combination."

Mosby said she plans on being a part of the club and will be available to give them advice.

"But they'll do just fine," she said. "Besides, they have a lot more energy."

Ortiz said those interested in joining the Clique Club will be able to obtain more information at an evening meeting scheduled for Jan. 16.

For more information, send an e-mail to tanyaortizno1@aol.com.

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