After 72 years, the Kiwanis Club of McPherson will stop meeting. A scholarship program will live on, but the club will no longer meet or perform other service projects.
At one time there were six civic clubs serving McPherson — two of them meeting under the Kiwanis Club banner.
All six spoke out in 2014 about the difficulty of recruiting new members and keeping volunteer efforts moving forward. Since then, three will have disbanded when Kiwanis stops meeting this year.
In 2017 the McPherson Lions Club blinked — disbanding in 2017 after 90 years in existence. The Kiwanis Club, which turned 72 this year, is following suit.
Bob Carson, current president of the Kiwanis Club, has watched membership fall from nearly 80 in 2002 to 22 this year. As that happened, a morning club chose to stop meeting and the average age of members began to rise.
“We are getting old, I think our average age is 75,” Carson said. “We can’t get any younger people to join. We have even cut our dues in half to try and get people. Young people just don’t volunteer. We just got to where we can’t do our projects.”
In 2017 Lions Club representatives said much the same when announcing the disbandment of their club.
This year, Carson said, will be the last for Kiwanis Club meetings. A scholarship foundation will live on, but the rest of the functions of the Kiwanis Club in McPherson will stop.
“We have appreciated the community and the business people that have supported us through the years,” Carson said.
But there will no longer be can drives for kids, no pancake feed, no shoe or clothing drives for elementary school students.
The club placed existing funds into a foundation for a scholarship — with three scholarships being awarded to high school seniors each year.
The club had been meeting at The Well.
Currently still meeting in McPherson are the Optimist Club, Rotary Club and Shriners. A search at kiwanis.org showed one club remaining in McPherson County — a 30-member group in Lindsborg that meets at noon Thursdays at The Swedish Crown Restaurant Vasa room, 121 N. Main Street.
The story was first published Oct. 10 at mcphersonsentinel.com
Contact Chad Frey via email at email@example.com or on Facebook at @ChadFreyks