Tools Toys and Technology

About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Tools Toys and Technology - About the Tools You Use and the Toys That Make Life Interesting

Twenty Years of Community Service: SaddleBrooke Computer Club

SaddleBrooke was founded in 1987; access was via Lago Del Oro parkway, then a narrow dirt road. By 1990, the SaddleBrooke population had reached 578 and construction on the clubhouse had started. In 1993, three men sharing coffee and conversation in the new Roadrunner Grill discovered a common interest in home computers. Their occasional discussions became weekly meetings with a growing audience. Circa 1996, these became scheduled classes around a single Windows 95 PC attached to a television in space shared with the sewing club in what is now the SaddleBrooke One Arts and Crafts Center. That TV set was soon lost in a burglary, nearly putting an end to the developing organization.

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SaddleBrooke Two began construction in 1996; the new SaddleBrooke PC Users Group was offered dedicated space in the MountainView Arts and Crafts center. We incorporated in 1998 as the SaddleBrooke Computer Club, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to teaching computer classes and moved into the new facility that December. Robson Communications provided initial internet wiring and free Internet service (now continued by Orbitel). Eight folding tables and 24 folding chairs were loaned to the club and we were off and running. The club board of directors “passed the hat” and loaned the club sufficient funds to purchase computers, monitors and software; they were finally repaid in full some four years later. We soon began sharing space with the newly formed SaddleBrooke Mac Users Group (SMUG), eventually merging the two organizations in 2006.

Over these 20 years, over 3600 residents have become club members. Club activity peaked in 2012, when 400+ resident members participated in 145 different classes offered by 22 instructors.  Funded entirely by membership and class fees, we have a state of the art computer classroom with 17 PC and 9 Mac Mini desktop computers; instruction and maintenance are provided courtesy of our faithful volunteers.

The majority of US homes now have at least one computer with internet access. Following an international trend, computer club membership and participation is gradually dwindling as the rapid emergence of portable smartphones and tablets steadily supplants the use of deskbound personal computers. Once again, we’re reinventing our organization by developing new classes and interests, recruiting new instructors with new ideas and skills, and returning to our roots by encouraging the development of special interest groups. We’re always interested in adding to our teaching staff; give us a call if you would like to find out more about us!