The McHenry Alano Club was founded to provide a central meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alateen and related groups in the McHenry area. Groups addressing themselves to self help in the areas of substance abuse. The club also provides a place of privacy for members of the fellowship to confer with individuals who are seeking help in combating their addictions. This was the description on our original articles of incorporation and still holds true today 30 years later.
The history of the McHenry Alano Club is rich with the dedication and perseverance of countless people in recovery from it’s beginnings until the present moment. In the fall of 1983 with a handful of people meeting in the basement of Shepherd of the Hills church the idea of a local recovery club started to become a reality. Armed with enthusiasm and $36 they began the process of getting others on board with their vision. They sent sign up sheets around to form committees for fundraising, membership and to find a location for the club. A survey was sent out to the meetings in the area to find out if they would be willing to move to the club when it was established and to see how many people would be interested in becoming members. In November the club’s charter was put together and the papers for incorporation were filed.
The announcement went out “24 Hour AA comes to McHenry. The flyer said that committees had been formed, we have a charter and now the real work begins. The site committee is formed and we are hard at work finding a location suitable for our needs.” After polling various groups in the area it was decided to charge a membership fee of $6 a month. Amazingly the current membership cost is only $13 more after 30 years!
Fundraising continued with dances at the VFW hall, raffles and the widely successful Big Mac books. The books cost $10 for a chance every month, for a year, to win a $100. This ran for about the next ten years and was the beginnings of our building fund. The MAC has had many different events for raising money not only for a building fund but also for our operating expenses. For many years we have had a Superbowl Party and membership renewal drive, picnics, dances, auctions, personalized coffee mugs, workshops, breakfasts, dinners, and other events to promote fellowship and raise funds.
In early 1985 one of the board members was headed down Green Street in McHenry and noticed that a light was burning above the Chamber of Commerce Office. His memory was that there hadn’t been anyone in there for many years. He contacted the owner and through his generosity and lots of remodeling we signed a lease for the club at 1257 1/2 Green Street in April of 1986. With commitments from meetings, members and a location the open house of the new McHenry Alano Club was set for May 3, 1986.
The club was at the location on Green Street for over 25 years.
While we have always tried to be on the look out for a building to purchase it became apparent that a great deal of members were having difficulty climbing the many stairs to get to the club. After several years of searching the area for a new location for the club we found our current home at 409 Front Street. Our club has always been blessed with members who have been willing to share their time and talents, because of that and a landlord that is extremely supportive we were able to remodel the club to fit our needs. We moved into our beautiful new location on January 1st 2010.