Two Italian transplants from Long Island, N.Y., are hoping to bring together local northerners, while supporting area charities, with a new social club.
Cape Coral residents and sisters Nanette Todd and Lori Valenti-Hackley recently founded the New York Capers, a not-for-profit club whose aim is to provide a way for Yankees of similar backgrounds and interests to meet.
"The goal was to find a way to bring northerners together in the Cape," Todd said Wednesday. "To develop fellowship, as well as help our community."
She explained that about four years ago, her sister and their mother moved to the city. Last year, Todd packed up and relocated to the area, as well.
The women looked into existing clubs for new residents with no luck.
"They're not designed for people who are working," Todd said, adding that because of what the groups offer, "it kind of brings in more retirees."
"It's not just the retirees that need something to do," she said.
In their 40s, Todd said she and her sister are not old, but not young.
"She likes to boat. I like to bicycle," she said.
And the women regularly found themselves running into other northern transplants when they would go out - shopping, to the beach, anywhere.
"We're constantly bumping into other Yankees," Todd said.
So, the sisters began talking about forming a new club.
"She (Valenti-Hackley) actually came up with the idea," she said.
The New York Capers will meet monthly, with an April launch. Subgroups will be formed for specific interests, like boating, bicycling, cooking and more.
"It will be based on the members' wants and needs," Todd said. "It's so people that have similar interests, not just backgrounds, can get together."
The club will also focus on supporting local causes with fund-raisers.
"This is a social group, so I want the members to be involved," she said, of picking which charities will benefit from the events.
For example, coming from a family with heart problems, Todd would like to host an event to raise money for and awareness about heart disease.
"We want to stay within the community of Cape Coral," she said.
Those interested in joining can visit the New York Capers' Web site at: www.nycapers.com and submit their contact information. People can also contact Todd at (704) 936-6847 for more information about the club.
An individual membership is $30 per year per person.
The first three months are free for new members as a trial basis.
Business memberships are also available for $165 and $225.
Event sponsorship for members and non-members are welcome.
"It's a group designed to bring back memories," Todd said. "It'll have something for everybody."