By Rick Palsgrove
Another civic group is stepping up to help fill the void left with the recent demise of the 80-year-old Groveport Madison Lions Club.
Members of the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison, which formed in 2017, are eager to serve the community.
“The club formed at the suggestion of former Groveport Madison High School principal Aric Thomas because he really wanted to form a Key Club at the high school, which could only happen if there was a Kiwanis Club in the community,” said Christine Boucher, Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison secretary. “We formed with 10 members and we’ve been pretty steady with that. Key Club formed last year and they have 50 youth in their club.”
Boucher said the club includes herself and President/Treasurer Tara Wengerter of First Service Credit Union; Jeff Warner, Groveport Madison Schools communications director; Patti Storts, city of Groveport community affairs director; Terri Christensen of the Southeastern Franklin County Chamber of Commerce; Scott Heimlich of Barcelona; Paul and Shelly Clark of the Paddock Pub; Megan Vansickles, former Key Club member and Kiwanis advisor to the Key Club; and Walter Maki, long-time Kiwanian. Gini Rogers is the Key Club advisor for Groveport Madison High School.
Boucher said the Kiwanis Club was asked if it wanted to take over the portion of the annual Groveport Halloween Block Party that the Lions Club did and she said the club agreed to do that.
“Our role is to be determined, especially with COVID-19, but we hope to carry on the great tradition that the Groveport Lions Club did for so many years,” said Boucher. “We will most likely keep some of the same fun stuff, like judging of costumes, but may also add something new into the mix. For the last couple of years we have also done the bean soup dinner at Apple Butter Day that the Senior Center used to do. I’m hoping we will also pick up the sub sandwich fundraiser that Lions Club did, too. I say all of this because one of our pre-COVID plans was to build an all-accessible (handicap and elderly abled) playground within the city of Groveport and I was working with city officials on this and the engineers were looking at space, but COVID has delayed that plan, hopefully temporarily. If we can build our membership now, when it’s good to go on the playground plans we’ll have a bigger team to get us to our goal.”
Boucher said the Kiwanis’ biggest activity was getting the Key Club situated at the high school, but the club has also supported and volunteered with Groveport Madison Adopt-A-Family and the annual school supply distribution.
On Aug. 2 the Kiwanis Club delivered flowers to area residents who needed a pick-me-up.
“Recently we organized a community pick-me-up by delivering flowers and inspirational rocks to residents who needed them as determined by a friend or family member,” said Boucher. “We successfully delivered more than 20 potted flowers and inspirational rocks painted by the Key Club members to residents in the Groveport Madison community.”
Boucher said the flowers came from the city of Groveport’s greenhouse and were ones that city workers grew and were extras that weren’t going to be planted.
“Tara Wengerter, brought this idea to a meeting and we loved the idea of collaborating with the Key Club while at the same time spreading peace and joy to the recipients, said Boucher.”
Civic clubs in the modern world
In these modern times, many civic clubs and organizations are fading away due to the distractions and pressures of the 21st century. When asked what the future of the Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison is and why she thinks clubs like Kiwanis and other similar groups are important to a community, Boucher said, “I believe it is because of who they do their work for, children. It’s even in their mission: ‘Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.’”
Boucher also said that it is about families.
“Because Kiwanis is for adults but some communities have school age clubs from high school down,” said Boucher. “We aren’t there yet, but I know a few of the members would like to see us get there. What better way for families to connect together then by working together for the betterment of our youth at home and internationally? I think the future is strong. We have great support from the Ohio Kiwanis and international Kiwanis. We started small, but I look to see us grow. Communities need clubs to work collectively on a mission that all members can relate to, whatever that work might be. For some it might be a specific purpose, like ours with children, or Lions Club with eyesight and blindness prevention. The most important part for a club is to stay relevant in the community.”
Boucher said that, above all else, adults need to be focused on the outcomes for children.
“Not to be cliche, but kids are our future,” said Boucher. “If we want them to take care of the communities and world that we will one day leave behind we need to show them how now. The world has become so techy and it’s important that face-to-face is still good and working together means something.”
The Kiwanis Club of Groveport Madison normally meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Paddock Pub, located at the Groveport Municipal Golf Course, 1005 Richardson Road, Groveport. Currently, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the club meets virtually and is looking at adding an evening meeting with members whose schedule fits. Contact the club at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook @GMKiwanis.