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2022 Locals Love Us Favorite Club/Organization: Highland Lakes Service League

Highland Lakes Service League President Merrill Laurentz accepted the 2022 Locals Love Us honor on behalf of her organization. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Every year, the Highland Lakes Service League changes lives through scholarships and grants it offers to local women and nonprofits and memories it helps create during the annual Special-Needs Christmas Party.

Those efforts are why The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners voted it a 2022 Locals Love Us Favorite Club/Organization.

“We’re always grateful for the support we get from the community, and we’re excited they voted for us,” said league President Merrill Laurentz.

The Service League brings together women from different backgrounds to support the Highland Lakes community. The organization has been a stalwart of the area for at least 30 years, raising money for a number of projects and programs.

One of the biggest ways members change lives is through scholarships to women completing their education, pursuing a degree, or earning a certification to advance their career or start a new one.

The Service League focuses on those who have been out of high school for several years because of the limited choices they often encounter in the job market, Laurentz explained.

“I think the organization felt like there were a lot of opportunities and possibilities for our local high school students, but there weren’t a lot of those same things for women going back to get a master’s degree or to restart their college education or pursue a certification,” Laurentz said.

Scholarships can go toward any endeavor that improves job searches or advances careers, including paramedic or EMT training, she said.

The group also provides grants to nonprofits in Burnet and Llano counties.

An annual highlight of the Highland Lakes Service League’s year is the Special-Needs Christmas Party that members host each December. The event is for youths and adults with special needs as well as their teachers, parents, and caregivers and features food and festivities at First United Methodist Church of Marble Falls.

The 2021 Christmas party drew more than 200 people.

The league raises money to support these endeavors through its annual Chuck Wagon Chow Down and the “For Ladies Only” charity golf tournament.

Along with the satisfaction of helping their communities, members enjoy the group’s fellowship. Laurentz moved to the Highland Lakes from Lubbock and joined the league to meet people and make friends. The organization hasn’t let her down.

“We have a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to make friends,” she said.

The Highland Lakes Service League meets at 11:30 a.m. the second Wednesday of the month (except July and August) at Hidden Falls Bistro and Bar in Meadowlakes. It is open to any woman — just submit a membership application.

The application and more information about the Service League is available on its website at

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