Ron Smith was seeing a trend of young people joining traditional Kiwanis clubs—and then sticking around for just one or two years because of the costs of meals and the lack of hands-on service. In 2007, the Downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, Young Professional Kiwanis Club was chartered.
When the group of people expressing interest grew from 15 to about 30 members, Ron noticed that they weren't just from one generation. All ages of CKI and Key Club alumni, as well as other community members, were represented. So the club's definition of "Young Professional" shifted from an age demographic to people with high energy.
The club has two meetings a month that last 30 minutes. By cutting down the business portion of the meeting, members could spend more time on networking and fellowship after the meeting. Meeting speakers are invited to address the club for five minutes and then spend more informal time after the meeting with members. This informal meeting time is also when service projects are brainstormed.
The Downtown Scottsdale Young Professional Kiwanis Club members commit to three or four service projects a month. They have a lot of options to choose from. The club helps with Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House, adopting a Kiwanis family room at the local hospital, sponsoring families during the holidays and reading to elementary students. And when the group plans social events, the entire family—including children—is invited. "It's important for the children to feel they’re a part of the Kiwanis family from the very beginning," Ron says.
The club never has a designated membership drive: recruiting is a constant process, andall club members are responsible for contributing. Because of Ron’s experience reaching out to alumni, we asked him for some advice. He says:
* Find out what Kiwanis clubs in your area match your service and fellowship interests. If there isn’t a club that matches your needs, build your own Kiwanis experience.
* Ask your lieutenant governor to help identify a Kiwanis club that would be open to starting a satellite club for alumni as a first step to a new Kiwanis club. With the right support, the satellite club can establish a culture of its own—with officers, meetings and ongoing service opportunities.
* Once the satellite club is established with a strong membership base, the club can charter as a new Kiwanis club.
If you want more information about the Downtown Scottsdale Young Professional Kiwanis Club or support in starting your own Kiwanis club, connect with Ron Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.