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Annual Review 2019-20

For the September 2019 – August 2020 year, the American Club of Lyon (“ACL”) board (“Board”) consisted of co-presidents: Michelle Gardey and Jaime de Brébisson, secretary: Jim Reilly, treasurer: Mark Gallops, membership coordinator: Neal Frager, and event coordinator Lamya Elias and several others who organized and hosted events throughout the year. Behind the scenes, Sam Finocchio is the longstanding, skilled webmaster who keeps ACL running digitally. All the officers of the ACL board, event organizers, and hosts donate their time and energy to provide ACL members with events that create a community with ties to the U.S., in and around Lyon.

We were able to have abundant events during the Club’s September 2019 – August 2020 year. On a weekly basis, the long-running Coffee Chat and Café Français kept going strong.  Every month, there was a happy hour and book club for the adults, and in October 2019, we started a new monthly Storytime/Games event for kids of all ages.  We had a few “special” happy hours including homecoming cocktails, holiday happy hour in December, bowling and karaoke.  There were beer, wine, chocolate and cheese tastings and a cookie exchange this year, as well as the creation of ladies meet-ups. For families, we organized a fall hike, a Halloween trick-or-treat event, our annual Thanksgiving potluck which had a record attendance, a holiday cookie decorating event, and a playdate. And for Lyon’s annual signature event, Fête des Lumières, a group set out to see some of the beautiful light installations around town.

Then confinement hit in mid-March, and we moved our events to the virtual world. We had to cancel some events like a basketball match outing and our annual Easter egg hunt, but we continued our two weekly Coffee Chats and Café Français events, and added yoga to the weekly line-up.  Book club and happy hours still met during confinement as well.  And, we held our yearly Cinco de Mayo fiesta in the virtual world.  During this time, with everyone stuck at home cooking, a Foodies group was created to share inspiration, and one member volunteered to share his pizza-making abilities in a virtual class.  Overall, we still were able to hold a bumper crop of events despite the inability to meet in person.

As France’s confinement restrictions gradually lifted, the annual 4th of July cookout had to be modified to meet sanitary guidelines, so the 4th of July celebration in 2020 looked a little different. Smaller groups gathered to have a picnic together in a couple of locations throughout the Lyon region.

Overall our membership grew for another year:

Number of Households
2019-2020 (at July 1, 2020) 132
2018-2019 (at July 1, 2019) 121

Read more in the 2019-2020 Full Report. (members only)