Just What is the Lake Chapala Society ?
August 1, 2008
Just what is the Lake Chapala Society ?
Is it a Secret Group with Weird Initiation Rites? Is it some type of Social Cub? Is it a charity? Or perhaps it’s a group of Environmentalists banded together to save the Lake?
Well, Yes, and No. It’s certainly not a Secret group although most folks outside of our area have never heard of it, but its secret is leaking out via the World Wide Web.
It is a social club of sorts in that the people that work there and go there are a very sociable group of like minded folks from all over the world who seem very much to enjoy the time they spend together there.
And, while I’m not sure of their official “Environmental” position I would certainly think that the vast majority of the members, myself included, would support any efforts by anyone to continue the good start toward the total and complete rehabilitation of Lake Chapala already well underway.
Perhaps I can best describe just what the Lake Chapala Society is by telling you a bit about its history. A lady by the name of Neill James came to Lake Chapala when most of us were just a glimmer in our parents eye back in 1943.
Way back then you really had to have a pioneering spirit to live around Lake Chapala as the one-lane road connecting Chapala and Ajijic was so terrible that the best way to get form Chapala to Ajijic was by boat.
Actually the Europeans discovered our beautiful area before the North Americas, but by the time Neill James arrived there were approximately 14 foreigners living at Ajijic and about the same number lived in Chapala.
It wasn’t until 1955 that 31 English-speaking foreigners came together and formed a cultural, social and benevolent group.
In true pioneer spirit this group entertained themselves with little theater type productions taking advantage of the talent available within the group.
Very early on this group which grew into the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) we know and love today started a lending library of English language books for their members.
Neill had already started a Spanish language library which is reported to be one of the very first in Mexico and is still the only one I’m aware of at Lake Chapala.
Lake Chapala Ajijic is of course to my biased eyes the absolute best place in Mexico and probably in the world for retirement and one of the assets that sets us apart from other nice areas in Mexico is the wonderful support of the LCS programs and its functional as well as gorgeous campus.
A few of the amenities available to members are the lending library mentioned earlier, the Video Club where for $1 USD you can rent a DVD or VCR video in English (they have a very large selection which are indexed in a number of ways so you’re sure to find ones you like), a snack – coffee bar, new comers information table, out going US and Canadian mail service, Spanish lessons, souvenirs, blood pressure and other health checks, a ticket booth sells tickets for almost everything happening in the North American community for which you need a ticket, cookies and other baked goods, sparkling clean bathrooms, regular visits by selected vendors of interest to the retirement community like hearing aid specialists, etc, etc.
Now for the social part: The grounds are also used by scores of local charitable groups, hobby groups too numerous to mention, life long learning programs, weekly free movie screening, and even a line dancing group.
I’m sure I left something out. With estimates of from 10,000 to 20,000 expatriates living in the Lake Chapala Ajijic area all of which are served by the LCS it is a social beehive of activity from 10 am until 2 pm M- S.
Oh, the LCS also has several charities it supports directly including a Spanish language library free to Spanish speakers, and free English lessons taught by volunteers and they also help worthy families with sending local children to school and sometimes all the way thru the University level.
So, now you know a lot more about just what the LCS is.
Want more, Visit their website at http://www.lakechapalasociety.com