Alive and still kicking
Far from shutting its doors, Cheney’s Kiwanis Club is holding a membership drive
Cheney Kiwanis club members would like the public to know that the rumors of their imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The Cheney chapter, which was founded in 1995, of the international organization dedicated to serving children is in the midst of a membership drive. And if the discussion at last Thursday’s weekly breakfast meeting upstairs at Willow Springs Restaurant is an indication, they’re making a contest out of it.
“We actually have a membership committee,” Kiwanis member Margie Lindner said. “I’m excited.”
The Kiwanis meet every Thursday from 7-8 a.m. at Willow Springs, with the exception of the first Thursday of each month when they still meet at the restaurant, but at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, if attendees so desire. Two of those upcoming meetings, the morning meeting Oct. 10 and the evening meeting Nov. 7, will be meetings dedicated to membership, with potential members invited to attend.
“We accept a member at any part of the calendar year,” Cheney chapter president Pat Isbell said. “We’re just making a special emphasis this fall.”
Isbell said club membership is not territorial; anyone can join although he noted Medical Lake has a long-standing chapter and Airway Heights has started on in the last several years. The annual dues are $106, but the international headquarters recently passed a resolution setting $55 dues for a spouse or other member of a family. Isbell said these dues all go to the international organization, necessitating the need for local fundraisers.
There is no firm age limit on who can join Kiwanis either. In fact, some well-known organizations are actually Kiwanis organizations: Circle K for college students, Key Club for high school students and K-Kids for elementary school students.
Cheney has all three, with a second K-Kids club beginning this year at Betz Elementary School to go with the current one at Salnave. Isbell said they don’t currently have a “Builders Club” for middle school students, but hope to change that sometime soon.
There are no attendance requirements, and the organization is non-denominational, although each meeting is begun with the Kiwanis Prayer. Isbell said they don’t have any members from the Islamic faith, but if someone wished to join, “they would certainly be welcome.”
About the only real requirement for Kiwanis membership is a willingness and readiness to volunteer.
“Our focus is service,” chapter secretary Tony Birch said.
Kiwanis International has 8,000 clubs in 96 countries, over 260,000 adult members and 320,000 youth members who sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects, raising over $107 million. Cheney has 37 members who take part in numerous yearly activities such as the popular, well-known Easter Egg Hunt, children’s Halloween party, spaghetti feed to benefit Cheney Care Center and Cheney Outreach, Coats 4 Kids coat drive along with sponsoring summer concerts in Sutton Park and education scholarships for high school students.
Isbell, Lindner and Birch encourage anyone wishing to get involved in their community to consider Kiwanis Club membership. Isbell said when he first came to Cheney, he looked for a service organization to join, and it came down to either the Kiwanis Club, or Rotary International, whose Cheney chapter recently closed.
“With Rotary, when you wanted to do something everyone pulled out their checkbook,” Isbell said. “With Kiwanis, everybody rolls up their sleeves.”
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.