Bega Lions Club members are becoming an endangered species with membership dwindling below viable numbers to continue operation.
The club held a meeting on Tuesday, May 11, to discuss the future of the club. It was decided they would continue with a meeting scheduled for June and in the meantime try to rally for more members.
"We desperately need new members, if we don't get new members we might have to close," said Bega Lions member Bryson Banfield.
Up to four of their members are currently experiencing ill health and a significant number are unable to be actively involved due to age. They are also having trouble filling the role of secretary.
"We have 17 members but we would need about 25-30 members in the club to keep it going. We really want people with fresh ideas around projects they would like to see happen in town and to invigorate the club."
With no age bracket on who can join, they are hoping that a wide diversity of people might get involved. Their youngest member is currently in his 60s, but in the past they have had members as young as 20.
"We would like more young people," said Mr Banfield, "But we also understand there's a lot of pressure on them with mortgages and jobs and there's only so much you can ask of them."
He said the last 12 months have impacted the club with COVID-19 reducing the frequency of their meetings and their involvement in the community. They currently meet on the second Tuesday of every month.
There's no limit on how little or how much new members should contribute, with some club members just coming for their monthly dinner meet-up at the local Thai restaurant and others more involved on a weekly basis.
The Lions Club do a lot of great projects in the community including scholarships for nurses, donations to apprentices, and are responsible for Bega's Christmas decorations.
Meanwhile, things are looking entirely different for the Country Women's Association branch in Bega, their numbers skyrocketing since the start of 2021.
President of the Bega branch Nelleke Gorton said while membership usually sits at 20 people, in the past few months they have recruited six new members.
"I am very excited about this and I am thinking about a lot of things we will do in the next year, I want to do some exciting things to celebrate this coming year which will be our centenary celebration."
With the recent conference in Bega, the group really focused on publicity around the event and spreading awareness around their advocacy work in government.
"I think we are getting quite a good profile throughout the state in what we do and particularly a year when domestic violence has been at the forefront. We are not just scones and tea, our main aim is to help the community and we largely help women and children."
The age range of members ranges with women aged between 30 to 90. The association meets on the last Tuesday of every month at its Church St clubroom.
With the 100 year celebration coming up next year, Ms Gorton said it was a very good time to join. Local clubs will have a celebratory picnic in Tilba with horse and buggy rides and vintage wares.
Although the Rotary Club has a strong 30 members, president Dorothea Polonyi said the age of its members was an issue.
"It's an aging club and although we have quite a few excellent members who have been in it for decades, they're running out of steam.
"We achieve a lot, have a lot of fun and it's a really great social network.
"We would absolutely love to have young people, we used to have a Rotary youth club which was based in Merimbula but it's folded now due to a lack of people."
The group meet fortnightly on Thursday evenings and Ms Polonyi said there could be additional social events if people had the energy to organise them.
A lot of what the group now does is grant writing and getting involved with schools through the RYDA program as well as welcoming new residents with a flyer on local spots.
They have also fundraised extensively for the carers accommodation at the South East Regional Hospital.
While its membership base is looking healthy comparatively speaking, Rotary wants new input and to improve the diversity of the members in the club.