Murphy, Server and Lempriere to serve as Grand Marshals
June 28, 2023
Niwot Community Connection (NCC) is taking the town by storm and the founders, Pat Murphy, Dawn Server, and Eve Lempriere are leading the parade . . . literally.
The long-time community activists will be the Grand Marshals for this year's Fourth of July Parade, which starts rolling and marching down Niwot Road at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. But the trio's work will start well before that.
"Pat (Murphy) and my dad (Don Reeb, the former Niwot Community School Director) started the pancake breakfast and I've kind of taken over the food part of it," Server explained. "We'll have 30 volunteers from Community Connections helping out." The cakes start flipping at 7:30 a.m. in front of Niwot Market.
Recruiting and organizing volunteers for local events like the July 4th celebration has become an important part of the Niwot Community Connection's role since it was founded in October 2021.
"I think that is what is unique about Niwot," Murphy said. "People do volunteer here and we're all volunteering for the same thing -- to make Niwot special."
But NCC's mission is even bigger than that. Its website states, "Our mission is 'To provide a forum for individuals over 50 in the Niwot area to help build a sense of community and promote opportunities for connection and learning.'"
In less than two years, over 400 residents of Niwot, Gunbarrel and south Longmont have joined NCC and signed up for the organization's emails, which include monthly newsletters, monthly meeting reminders, and mid-month follow-ups to summarize what happened at the latest meeting, list any upcoming volunteer opportunities and focus on updates from individual interest groups.
It is the development of these interest groups that are at the core of the NCC mission, which were Lempriere's vision when she told her future partners, "I have an idea...."
The interest groups, all organized and facilitated by volunteers, not the founders, have organically grown to 20 and include: Art, Birders, Book Club, Brew Hopping, Bridge, Canasta, Garden Team, Cooking, Evening Crafting, Hiking, Knitting and Needle Crafts, Ladies' Tea, Ladies Who Lunch, CommuniTree, Line Dancing, Mahjong, Men's Coffee, Model Rocketry, Writing and Yoga.
"Yes, it's definitely surprised me a little bit (how successful it has been)," said Lempriere. "There is a need for people to connect. It's been great to see how excited people are to find others with similar interests, be it bridge or book club or birding and making those connections.
"We really didn't go into it thinking that this is how it was going to turn out. We've just had so many people say, 'Thank you. I love doing this,' or, 'I've picked up this hobby,' or 'the bridge group taught all these new beginners and now they have these beginners who are part of the bridge club.'
"So, it's just an opportunity that, I hate to say, when we're our age (over 50) is a little harder to find. If you have a senior organization like Boulder and Longmont do, maybe they (the opportunities) are there, but Niwot doesn't have that."
All members are invited to attend the NCC monthly meetings, which are held on the second Thursday of each month at 10 a.m., usually at the Left Hand Grange in Niwot. However, the next meeting, Thursday, July 13, will be held at Meadow Lake Honey (7922 Meadow Lake Road) for an opportunity to learn about honey bees and what is involved in growing lavender. Server and her husband, Jeff, own the company.
"We've had a lot of great speakers (at our meetings)," Murphy said.
"And it's not just old people stuff . . . social security and Medicare kinds of things," Server added. "We've had Olin Farms talk about sustainable farming. We've had Boulder County Open Space talk about trails."
"Pete Wernick, who is a famous banjo player (and Niwot resident)," has also been featured, Murphy added.
NCC also hosts a drop-in "Thirsty Third Thursday" gathering at The Wheel House on the third Thursday of every month, starting at 4:00 p.m. and ending when the last person leaves.
If you are over 50 (the average age of the group is in the mid-60s, but there are members well into their 80s) and would like to get more information about joining Niwot Community Connection, send an email to email@example.com. NCC is a non-profit corporation and there are no membership dues.
"People tell us all the time that this has changed their lives," Murphy said. "We have people who just moved here and don't know anyone. We've had people who have lost their spouses. And there was COVID. People just needed to make connections. This has really made a difference."