Well, the new Kiwanis Year is two weeks old, and so far, so good.
We had our Divisional Installation on September 22 at River Ridge and it was terrific – 75 in attendance and a good time was had by all. Governor-Elect Gary Gray (Santa Barbara) presided. LTG Katy Porter (Thousand Oaks) was deinstalled and was presented with the final “Heart of a Hero” award. We unveiled the remodeled Division Bell, which is now mounted on a wooden base with plaques that identify each prior Lieutenant Governor of Division 42. I’m proud to be in such good company. I think the bell likes it, too: its tone was
remarkably improved. We also installed Debbie Heaslip as LTG-Elect and are assured of a strong succession. We’ve installed new officers for 7 clubs and should finish up sometime in October. Our first DCM of 2019-2020 on October 10, went well and we enjoyed hearing from Kristie Akl of KidSTREAM. I and look forward to seeing you all again on November 14th, when Simi will be hosting and our speaker will be Cameron Schroeck, a skilled internet navigator and social media savant. There will be more music, more fun and useful continuing education.
I addressed my remarks at the installation to the challenge of declining membership, and this will be a continuing theme this year. Membership has been declining in this Division chiefly due to attrition of older members and the failure of our clubs, generally, to attract and hold new, younger members.
We know that GenXers and Millennials make good Kiwanians – the burgeoning membership of our Key Clubs and Circle K Clubs suggests that younger Kiwanians are just as devoted to community service as older Kiwanians. But they meet, interact and communicate differently in the course of their day. Frankly, thanks to modern communication tools, they move faster and with less “wasted” motion than prior generations. They don’t have time for regular, time-consuming physical meetings – they meet by internet video. They don’t do physical sign-up sheets – they sign up on-line. And they don’t use the phone except to send text messages.
On the other hand, they love service and enjoy sociable meetings as much as we do. Although there are generational differences, our shared love of children and service serve as a common language.
I’ve been doing my “early meetings” and have installed a few boards, and I believe the clubs of this division are independently discovering new meeting formats and new communication tools that enable them to “bridge the gap” between generations and integrate younger and older members.
We’ll be discussing some of those methods at this coming DCM and the ones that follow. Not all solutions are right for all clubs, and we need to hear from the clubs as to what they’ve tried, what has worked, and what hasn’t.
We’ll continue this dialogue next month.