Non-profit Spotlight: The Crickette Club of Bartow

Non-profit Spotlight: The Crickette Club of Bartow

More than 75 years ago, a group of Bartow businesswomen shared the seed of an idea – to bring together a service club committed to the betterment of the growing Bartow community.

Undaunted by previous failed efforts to organize such a club, these women pressed on, recruiting 25 charter members and adopting a slate of service projects to give their club purpose.

And thus, on Feb. 5, 1941, the Crickette Club of Bartow held its inaugural meeting. Isobel Miles, the county’s budget director and a driving force in the club’s creation, became its first president, and they chose to call themselves Crickettes, representing fair play.

During the next seven decades, the Crickette Club evolved into a dynamic group of 68 business and professional women committed to enhancing their community through service activities, says Sandy Dobbertean, the club’s president.

“We contribute our time, talent and treasure to a myriad of organizations, from the Bloomin’ Arts Festival to the George W. Harris Jr. Youth Shelter to Senior Orphans,” she said. “We support each other in good times and in bad, and we have stayed true to the vision of Isobel Miles and the other charter members of our club.”

Today, Crickette counts bank executives, educators, lawyers, and business owners among its ranks.

A Halloween carnival, held annually since 1942, is the group’s primary fundraiser.

“The carnival began as a way to avoid the usual pranks that take place at Halloween,” says longtime member Ruth Trainor, who has explored the group’s history, “and the success of the event inspired City Manager C.R. Odom to ask the club to continue it each year.”

In 1950, the Crickette Club introduced a parade, which has become an annual tradition in Bartow.

In the early years, as World War II raged overseas, the club aided the Red Cross and the war effort, Trainor says. Members raised money through defense and war bonds, helping the community reach 202 percent of the total bond quota for Bartow.

In 1944, the club learned Bartow’s lone Girl Scout troop had no place to meet, prompting members to initiate a four-year project to raise $8,000 for the construction of a Girl Scout House. On Sept. 4, 1948, the cornerstone was laid on the 3,500-square-foot building on North Wilson Avenue that would become home for local Girl Scouts.

“It was dedicated May 8, 1949,” Trainor says. “The building was funded through contributions from Bartow citizens, the Girl Scout Council, the Crickette Club and land donated by the E.C. Stuart family.”

Hundreds of young girls have passed its threshold since then, and the Crickette Club’s commitment to their success has remained strong. The club built Camp Crickette at Bartow’s Mary Holland Park, and continues to support Girl Scout programs through proceeds from the parade and carnival.

In recent years, the Crickette Club has supported a plethora of community projects and activities in Bartow beyond scouting, including the construction of Fort Blount Park, Summerlin Park at Wilson Lake, the Bartow High School Stadium renovations, the Bartow Volunteer Firefighters statue and Arts in Fort Blount Park.

The group also contributes to many area service programs, such as the Bartow Church Service Center, the Youth Villa Classic and the community’s Fourth of July celebration.

“We’re a group of strong, dedicated and caring women,” Dobbertean says. “Crickette is and will remain a vital part of the Bartow community.”

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