MADEIRA BEACH – Sponsored by the city’s recreation department, the Madeira Beach Social Club is an active group for seniors that was established in the late 1970s. The club operates from September to June each year, with meetings monthly which take place on the first Monday. The first meeting of this year will be Monday, September 12 at 1:00 p.m. at the Madeira Beach Town Hall, 300 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach.
According to Max Michalski, recreation manager and coordinator of events and programs for the city’s recreation department, the club offers bus tours, organized card games, early bird lunches and dinners, and more. Again. The club is open to anyone over the age of 55. Members do not need to live in Madeira Beach.
“We have members who live in Safety Harbor,” Michalski said in an interview with Tampa Bay Newspapers. “We are always looking for new members. Annual dues are only $15. This gives you access to monthly meetings, discounted bus rides, card games, lunch and dinners for up-and-comers. -early.
Michalski said anyone interested in visiting the club is welcome. The club has a $5 entry fee.
“At monthly meetings we will review upcoming events, most meetings we have a guest speaker and a light lunch will be served,” Michalski said.
As with many social groups and clubs, the pandemic has brought changes.
“Before COVID, we had about 150 members in the club,” Michalski said. “Last year we had about 90 members.”
According to Michalski, many members have stayed connected during the pandemic.
“The club had no activity from March 2020 to September 2021,” he continued. “At that time, many members felt safe to gather and we resumed activities. Many members are seasonal and Canadian residents. Many of them have not returned since the pandemic.
The club’s history dates back to a transplant from Florida.
Georgia Rummele and her husband moved to Madeira Beach from the Chicago area in the late 1970s. They planned to spend their retirement years enjoying the beaches of Pinellas.
“Just two months after moving to Madeira Beach, Mr. Rummele passed away suddenly,” Michalski said. “After Mr. Rummele passed away, Georgia contacted the Madeira Beach-Redington Chamber to inquire about senior programs in the area.”
At the time, no seniors-only club existed in the area, so the chamber suggested he start one.
“And that’s exactly what she did with the help of a few of her neighbors,” Michalski said. “The Madeira Beach Seniors had their first meeting on January 27, 1981 at the Madeira Beach-Redington Chamber of Commerce building.”
Michalski thinks the first meeting drew about 40 people. From what is documented, the office was too small and people stood outside the building.
“They didn’t expect so many people to show up for the meeting,” he continued. “A second meeting was held on February 9, 1981. About 50 people attended the meeting.”
The second meeting was held at Madeira Beach Town Hall. At this meeting, we agreed on the bylaws and the board members were elected. Georgia was elected president.
By April 1981, the club had over 100 members. Monthly meetings were held, and the club planned bus trips around the area, held card games, played shuffleboard, hosted picnics, and scheduled dinner parties.
“It’s safe to say that the legacy that Georgia and the founding members created lives on today,” Michalski said.
Michalski credits the club’s popularity and longevity to staying true to its core values.
“Little has changed in the last 41 years of the club’s existence,” he said. “The name has changed from Madeira Beach Seniors to Madeira Beach Social Club over the years. Old people don’t like to be called old people.
In 2016, the club’s board of directors came to the Madeira Beach Recreation Department and asked if they would be willing to take over and run the Madeira Beach Social Club. The department has accepted responsibility.
“I’ve been involved with the program since 2017,” Michalski said. “I currently have members in the club who have been involved for over 20 years.”
Michalski said the city sponsors other programs targeting seniors.
“The City of Madeira Beach offers various fitness classes aimed at senior citizens, such as cardio, zumba and yoga classes,” he said. “We play different card games several times a week.”
He said the same elements that have always drawn retirees to Pinellas remain true today.
“Our region has so much to offer! Sun 365 days a year. No snow!” Michalski can’t imagine a community better suited to the retirement lifestyle. St. Pete, I don’t know who wouldn’t want to live here.
For more information on the Madeira Beach Social Club and the city’s recreation department, call 727-392-0665.