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Escanaba Kiwanis Club does strategic planning for the future

ESCANABA — Escanaba Kiwanis Club is getting ready to celebrate its first hundred years and has recently undergone strategic planning with an eye toward the next 100 years.

Due to changes, both over the decades and, more specifically, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local club has slowly declined, according to Escanaba Kiwanis President Gordy Fitch. So much so that the club, which had up to 100 members just a decade ago, is currently at 25.

“Because of our diminishing membership levels, we knew we had to do something different. A small organization can only do so much,” he said.

“In September the club decided to begin strategic planning to discuss changing its role so it would be a more positive force in the community,” Fitch said. The club crafted a mission statement which is appropriate for its new focus. “We are the Escanaba Kiwanis, a growing, thriving service club that supports youth through service projects, fund-raising activities, and strategic partnerships.” Additionally, a clear vision statement was added to help maintain a focus on their goals. “Our vision is to positively impact all Escanaba youth as we empower our community through service.”

In addition to continuing to financially support worthy local organizations, the club will focus on involvement in service projects with strategic partners.

“The club members concluded that we should focus on community service projects, being out in the community mentoring kids, providing opportunities for youth, and enhancing our community and future generations,” he said. “By rolling up our sleeves and performing service projects with strategic partners, we can maximize our impact on the youth in this area.”

The club is in the process of creating the strategic partnerships with local organizations which help youth in the Escanaba area. “We want to help them to have more impact over time, providing greater resources through our service,” Fitch said.

A side benefit of this plan will be rebuilding club membership. “We kept hearing that people want to be a part of an organization which performs service projects, so we plan to get more involved in community projects, and grow our club in the process,” Fitch said.

With this new focus, club members created a goal of doubling its membership to 50 by October 2022. He said the membership increase will allow the club to do even more to help the community.

It’s not just a coincidence this is happening before the club marks its 100th year in March. “We’re revitalizing and we’re going to go for another 100 years. All our members and the community are a part of this,” he said.

The group will be hosting a holiday celebration and invites the community to join them to learn more about the Escanaba Kiwanis Club. The event will take place at the Bonifas Fine Arts Center 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, This is a free event and includes a viewing of the beautiful Northern Exposure gallery exhibit, an appetizer buffet and refreshments.

Residents with questions about the Kiwanis Club or the holiday celebration should contact the Escanaba Kiwanis at eskykiwanis@gmail.com or call Patricia Rudden at 906-280-1789. No reservations are needed, and all are welcome to the club meetings and holiday celebration.

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