Guest Blogger: Sandy Henneberg – She loves the Newcomers Club

Sandy Henneberg - Newcomers Club

Sandy Henneberg - Newcomers Club

(Editor’s note: Ten years ago Sandy and Gerry Henneberg were very busy with their careers and living in Crookston, Minn. As retirement approached, they looked to move and when they did, Sandy discovered a long-time organization that welcomes people to Alexandria.)

By Sandy Henneberg

As retirement was approaching, our discussions of possibly relocating from Crookston started to get more serious.

Desiring to be close enough to family yet not too far from the Twin Cities, we narrowed our search to the Fergus Falls – Alexandria lakes area and eventually settled into a new home between Alexandria and Garfield. We were now close to my sister and brother-in-law on Jewett Lake by Fergus Falls and Gerry’s brother and his family from Appleton.

We were gradually getting acclimated to our new community but we had very little previous knowledge or connections. All the medical services, variety of places to do our shopping, wonderful offerings of entertainment, the numerous churches, and variety of things to do in the Alexandria area were very impressive. All we needed now were some friends.

Relocating to a new community and gaining the title “retirees” created interesting changes.  No longer were careers and children our primary connection to the community. No longer did the list of community service providers who served us well for two decades apply, and suddenly we were beginning to realize that we were really embarking on a new start.  We were enjoying the “newness” of the area, but we had not made that many friends and the feeling of “being a part of the community” was not quite there.  We were definitely in need of making new connections!

A Crookston friend told me that I should be sure to check out the Alexandria Area Newcomers Club, (usually referred to as “Newcomers”) that met once a month.  The friend had joined it so she could meet other bridge players.  I had heard enthusiastic comments about Newcomers so in August of 2015 I joined.

Participating in the Alexandria Area Newcomers Club, became a top priority and ONE OF THE BEST things about our relocation.  My social life for the most part now centers around the many club activities and experiences.  The personal growth, the genuine friendships, the fun, and all the knowledge I have gained about my new community has been phenomenal.

My husband now asks each week, ‘What Newcomer things do you have this week?’ so I must get out my calendar. Sometimes I wonder if he might be a little envious.

And I love the concept of Live Wide Open. I believe there are several possible interpretations but will share one.  We are so fortunate to live in beautiful west central Minnesota, a region of so many unique opportunities in all facets of creating a fulfilling life.  One must spend time exploring, appreciating, and sharing with others the human and non-human resources, the diversity of the region, and abundant opportunities right among us to “Live Wide Open.”

I am so thankful for the Alexandria Area Newcomers Club and the HUGE impact it has had on me in just over two years.  It truly has been my connecter to “live wide open” and I want to share it with others!

(NOTE: The Alexandria Area Newcomers Club is open to all adult women in the Alexandria and surrounding areas who want to learn more about what the region offers and make new friendships.  Many states and even nations are represented. In 2017, the club celebrated 65 years of existence! Info: or follow them on Facebook.

Scott Kiemle