Still here to serve …

Kiwanian Seth Schmidt gives some historical background of the Tracy Kiwanis Club at the September recruitment meeting. The Kiwanis group is one of many local organizations working to attract members so they can continue to support the community. Photo / Per Peterson

Local service clubs are trying to stay relevant, but some are finding it difficult with declining numbers

By Per Peterson

When the first Kiwanis Club in Tracy met in the fall of 1922, Tracy was a bustling town, eager to promote U.S. Highway 14, as well as Tracy’s first wading pool in Central Park, Kiwanian and local historian Seth Schmidt said at a recent Kiwanis Club meeting.

“The people who organized the first Kiwanis Club in town were what you would call the real ‘movers and shakers’ of Tracy,” Schmidt said. “They were doctors and lawyers, professional people, small business people.”

Schmidt’s presentation at that meeting was an introduction to prospective Kiwanis Club members, as the group is in the midst of a drive to boost membership. Schmidt extolled the virtues of the club, as he highlighted all that the club does to give back — from sponsoring Boy Scouts and Tracy’s first AFS student, to Easter egg hunts and tree planting at Swift Lake Park.

“Kiwanis has always been good about sponsoring different causes that just need a little bit of help,” Schmidt said.

Today, however, it seems to be groups like Kiwanis that need some help.

Kiwanis, like other service organizations in Tracy, have seen their numbers decline over the years. That, combined with an aging core of members, has those involved with these groups concerned about the future.

“We need to get young people involved, because they may have new and energizing ideas to bring to the table,” said Tracy Area Public Schools Supt. Chad Anderson, who perfectly fits the mold of a Kiwanian, as the organization is devoted to serving the children of the world. “Also, if we do not bring young people into the volunteer organizations they will eventually cease to exist, and that would be a great disservice to our children and community.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.