The only man in the room, cornhole coach Bill Geffert gave one final instruction before the start of cornhole matches on Wednesday inside the Crystal River Woman’s Club:
“Ladies, when you throw, try to have your body pointing towards the board…and throw a little arc,” he said.
What followed was lots of laughter, lots of chatter, lots of applause, high-fives and a few shouts of “Whoopsie!” as members of the CRWC and women with special needs from the Key Training Center and a few from the community threw beanbags across the room in hopes of scoring points for their team.
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These women form the “Women Helping Women” club which is under the aegis of the larger club, which started last February.
“One of our members, who has special needs, has been coming with her mom for several years, and she’s been a huge help as a member, and she loves it so much,” said club member Mary Lee Johnson. .
“She kept saying, ‘I like it so much because I have something to do. And her mother would say that her daughter had nothing to do, that once they left school they had no stimulating programs and they weren’t growing up,” Johnson said. “So we said some of us would do something. …Plus, we thought there must be other women with special needs there too. The club approached the Key Training Center with the idea of a club comprising established members with Key Center clients or community women with developmental disabilities, and Women Helping Women was formed.
Their motto is: “I am caring, confident and one of a kind.”
They meet every Wednesday morning for two hours at the CRWC building in Crystal River, learning life skills like cooking and crafts while building their confidence and independence.
“For the confidence lesson, we played charades,” Johnson said. “When they started coming they didn’t look up and one of them just cried the whole time. But now they talk and have a good time.
They held a fashion show, a variety talent show, and now, to kick things into high gear, they’re learning how to play cornhole in preparation for an upcoming tournament. Their team name is Team Amazing.
Their cornhole boards were made locally by Boards by Mike.
On Wednesday, Katie Tysinger, 24, came to the club with her mother, Cindy Browder. They had moved from California to Citrus County, where Katie had plenty of enrichment opportunities.
Browder said she was thrilled to find the Woman’s Club.
“It’s an outlet for her to have something to do,” she said.
Katie said she enjoys “being with friends, learning arts and crafts and making money”.
As Johnson explained, they sell the crafts they make.
“When we started, we club members thought we would do all the teaching, but we found out they are teaching us,” Johnson said. “We enjoy it so much more than them.”