Kiwanis Club comes to Huntsville and with it more support for local kids

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Main photo: (From left) Rick Brooks, Secretary; Janice Larade; Chuck McIlravey, Club Counselor; Natalie Gallagher; Brittany Robbins, Club President; Halley Clover; Stephanie Worthington (Lt. Governor Division 8); Bobby Moo Young, Governor, Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District; and Mayor Scott Aitchison

At its heart, the Kiwanis Club is all about kids. The service organization, which focuses on projects and fundraising to meet the needs of children, has more than 600,000 members in 80 countries around the world. It added another 20 to its ranks this month with the launch of the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville Muskoka.

“(Kiwanis members) come together for a common purpose and that’s children,” said the club’s president, Brittany Robbins at the charter’s unveiling on October 13.

There are so many gaps for children’s programs and needs in our area, and there’s really great organizations that come to bat for them but we just want to be another soldier in the fight.
Brittany Robbins, President, Kiwanis Club of Huntsville Muskoka

Although there are Kiwanis Clubs to the north and south of Huntsville, the Muskoka region had none. The new Huntsville charter is the first new club in the divison in nearly 35 years, noted Robbins. “We hope Bracebridge and Lake of Bays will follow suit so we can build a really good community in that gap,” said Robbins. “Huntsville’s where it’s at for now.”

Bobby Moo Young, Governor for Kiwanis’ Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District, travelled from Montego Bay, Jamaica to welcome the new club to the organization.

“I am delighted this afternoon to be here sharing in this momentous occasion,” he said. “I want to welcome you and I want to say that this is a fantastic opportunity for kids and for adults. This is what we need in the world today. Adults who will mentor kids to grow up with values that we in Kiwanis cherish. Respect to adults and to be the best you can be in life, whatever profession you choose, just be the best that you can be.”

Moo Young added that his goal this year is to increase participation in Kiwanis’ service leadership programs. “We want to have clubs in high schools, in universities, in kindergarten. We want to start them from a tender age so they may be absolutely fantastic leaders.”

Mayor Scott Aitchison, along with Councillors Nancy Alcock and Brian Thompson, were also on hand to welcome the new club to Huntsville.

“There are few things a mayor has real power to do. It’s a position of influence, but it’s not a position of autocratic power, which is probably a good thing,” said Aitchison to laughter from those gathered. “One of the things I learned very early on is the ability to inspire, particularly kids.”

I appreciate the mission of Kiwanis, I think it’s profoundly important. I support it wholeheartedly. I want you to know that I get it in a really personal way and I’ll do whatever I can to support and help you and encourage you along the way. The kids in the community deserve that kind of support from all of us.
Mayor Scott Aitchison

He added in a later conversation with Doppler that Kiwanis’ arrival in Huntsville “speaks volumes what Huntsville is all about. People in this community are engaged, we are giving, we are caring, so it’s not surprising that there’s another service club starting in our community. I’m excited to see what they will bring to Huntsville.”

Robbins wants to spread the word about Kiwanis’ focus on children’s programs. “We’ll be providing financial support in a lot of different areas but we also do a lot of hands-on projects. We ask the community, if you’ve got something that you think Kiwanis can help with, come to us. Come to us because we want to help… Thank you for accepting us into your community. I hope that we can make a lot of change together.”

Although the club is launching with 20 members, it is open for more – the more members they have, the more they can help local kids.

The Kiwanis Club of Huntsville Muskoka will have lunch meetings (12:10 p.m.) on October 24, November 21 and December 5 and a dinner meeting (6:00 p.m.) on December 19. Starting January 2, 2018, the club will hold a dinner meeting on the first Tuesday of each month and a lunch meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. All meetings are in the community room at Bullock’s Your Independent Grocer.

For more information about the club or its meetings, or to learn how to become a member, email [email protected] or call 705-635-2101.

Note: this post has been updated with a new meeting schedule. A previous version of this post also incorrectly noted that the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville Muskoka is the first new club in Ontario in 35 years, when it is the first new club in the local division in that time.

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