HISTORY OF THE
KIWANIS CLUB OF BRANDON
The Kiwanis Club of Brandon received its Charter from Kiwanis International on February 7, 1919. Brandon was the second club formed in Manitoba and the second club in what would become Western Canada District, an area that includes Kiwanis clubs from Thunder Bay, ON to Dawson Creek, BC.
Fellowship and adherence to the Objects of Kiwanis form the basis on which each and every Kiwanian aspires to in his or her daily life. The bond of fellowship is cemented by the fundraisers to support our community service projects, which have varied over the years. In 1919 the Kiwanis Club of Brandon built the largest cash register in the world, mounted it on a truck, and collected funds for the Kiwanis Thrift Stamp and War Savings Stamp drive. For many years the club sold baskets of apples, followed by cans of peanuts door-to-door to raise funds. It was a special time, when you knew your neighbour and your neighbour was expecting you.
At this writing, the club focuses on three major fundraisers. The first is our annual soapbox “Kar Derby” which proves to be an exciting day for everyone who attends, be they young drivers, parents, sponsors, judges or spectators. The second project is our annual bicycle auction. Thanks to an agreement with the Brandon Police Service, unclaimed bicycles plus a few donations, are gathered and stored until auction day. A professional auctioneer is hired while club members perform the remaining duties such as setting up the venue, issuing bidding cards, clerking and financial administration. The third major fundraiser is the delivery of event posters on behalf of the Keystone Center and the Provincial Exhibition Association in Brandon.
Our community service projects reflect the times we live in, and there is always a need. Over the years they include financial support for the Special Olympics, Canada Summer Games, the restoration of a community swimming pool and construction of a playground. We have given funds for specialized medical equipment, academic scholarships, musical accomplishments, a babysitting course, support to the local Navy League Cadet organization and the fiddler’s contest at the annual Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. We made a substantial donation to the Kiwanis International Worldwide project to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorder in the 1990’s. Most recently we contributed to another Kiwanis global initiative, Eliminate, which addresses the issue of neo-natal tetanus in the equatorial countries. In 1994 the Kiwanis Club of Brandon contributed $25,000 towards the construction of Westman Kiwanis Court, Inc., a social housing apartment complex especially designed for persons with disabilities.
To mark 100 years of service to our community, we are constructing a large, gazebo like pavilion in the park immediately adjacent to Rideau Street, for many years the site of our annual Kar Derby. Once completed, our centennial project will be gifted to the City of Brandon and will be used for years to come as a gathering place for weddings, socials, anniversaries, family reunions, picnics, meetings, or just a convenient location to enjoy some outdoor time in the shade.
A member’s time is not spent exclusively on club administration or fundraising activities. We meet for lunch each Tuesday at Brandon University to enjoy a good meal, fellowship and listen to a presentation by a guest speaker. Throughout the year, our social committee plans indoor and outdoor events to further enhance Kiwanis fellowship along with our spouses and guests.
Kiwanis encourages contact with each other through interclub visits. Besides our fellow club here in Brandon, we attempt, as often as possible, to meet and enjoy fellowship with Kiwanis clubs across the border in North Dakota.
As we near a century of service to our community, we are very cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead. Demographics and lifestyles have changed dramatically over the years, but there will always be a core group of dedicated persons and new members who possess the belief that there is something highly satisfying in doing something for others in need. That is the sustaining factor that ensures the life and vibrancy of our club.
If you want happiness for an hour, have a nap
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing
If you want happiness for a week, go on vacation
If you want happiness for a month, get married
If you want happiness for a year, spend your inheritance
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else!