English

1997 - 2007 by Bob Claxton

Club History

 
1997-2007: A Dynamic Decade for the Kiwanis Club of Carrollton

During the past ten years, our club experienced notable growth and strengthened impact. For a time in the 1990's, club membership decreased. Some civic-minded Carrolltonians joined Golden K; we purged inactive members from the official roster; we neglected concerted promotion of membership growth. Then, with such persistent leaders as Tim Warren, Roy Bogue, and Richard Dixon, our club has reversed that trend and recruited many valuable new members of the community. Of the 175 Kiwanis clubs in Georgia, approximately 10% have over 100 members and our club is now a part of that esteemed minority. The club's board of directors authorized full funding for club presidents to participate in the international conventions. Two of the club presidents, Robert Graf and Jim Russell, have gone on to serve as Lieutenant Governors for Division 20, and '05 president, Tim Martin will serve in this capacity in 2008. Dan Lewis, '03 president, has served three terms as a District Chair. Thanks to the efforts of Sam Lenaeus and Neil Weathington, our club's weekly newsletter, the Kronicle, and yearly scrapbooks have won District recognition and the club has earned the "Distinguished Club" status on several occasions.

In the past decade, we have made an effort to get to know each other better. Early in the decade, Kronicles featured a description of an anonymous member, revealed at the weekly meeting. Later, the "Kiwanian of the Week" highlighted individual members. The Hixson Awards became a separate annual event to honor extraordinary contributions. By-products of Roy Bogue's membership initiative were frequent membership directory updates and very complete birthday and anniversary announcements. Under the technical expertise of Matthew Clay, we inaugurated a club website (acknowledged as the best in Georgia for a club our size) and weekly e-bulletins. Interclub chairs aimed to take groups to every other club in the Division each year. Long-term secretary Harris Johnson and longer serving treasurer Jim Carter provided continuity. Voluntary participation reached 90% of membership for our principal fund-raiser, the fall youth football bowl.

Service to the community is what Kiwanis is all about. Providing this service takes money and our club found new ways to raise needed funds. Grant funding was received from the Carroll EMC Foundation for assistance with the football bowl and the annual art and talent competition. A raffle was added to the promotion of the football tournament to supplement income from admissions, refreshment sales, and program advertisements. We also sold refreshments at spring track meets and the 4th of July fireworks. The sale of Christmas cards and ornaments added to revenues. During the 2005-2006 Kiwanis year, we started an in-house raffle at weekly meetings so that funds raised from the public would not be needed for club administration. We put such additional funds to good use.

The Carrollton Kiwanis Club has always had a special focus for helping young people. One very important new project in this regard was celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Initiated in 2003, Jack Bennett with a handful of Kiwanians, volunteered to read stories to at-risk children at Carrollton Elementary School. After the reading, the club members presented each student with a personally labeled gift book, and for most of the children, it was the first book they ever owned. Thanks to the follow-up of Allan Trapp, the project has since expanded to every elementary school in the county. With the completion of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, the Music Talent Showcase also expanded. Thanks to the direction of Scott McBride and Dan Lewis, the showcase now features both a music and visual arts competition with impressive scholarships for awards. This template for success has been adopted by many clubs in the District and it is one of the reasons why Carrollton has been selected as the host of the State competition since 2006. With help from Joe Palladino, our club sponsored a new Key Club-at Oak Mountain Academy. The club also supported the Live Oaks Shelter, a home for at-risk boys which fellow Kiwanian and Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley and his wife began. At the end of the decade, the club pledged a $25,000 donation over 5 years toward the completion of the University of West Georgia stadium.

The Kiwanis Club of Carrollton continues to support numerous on-going projects as well as responds to community needs. Jack Whitman and Jim Collins continue to lead volunteers each spring for the annual senior citizen cook-out and club herald, Fred Richards (who also doubled as Santa each year for the Christmas program), continues to emcee the assisted living pageants. We sponsored the Carrollton Aktion Club - the first Kiwanis club in the Southeast for mentally disabled adults. The club also purchased automatic external defibrillators for Carrollton and Central High Schools. We contributed toward the purchase of a synthetic milk producing machine known as the "soy cow" for children in Peru. The club has also made significant contributions to the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Auditory Education Center, and the Literacy Task Force.

Our club has the best "continuing education" system going - our weekly programs. We began the decade in the old Sunset Hills Country Clubhouse. When that building was razed and was being rebuilt, we met in the University of West Georgia Food Services Building. Among the memorable programs (out of 520): cartoonist David Boyd; newscaster Monica Kaufman Pierson; Coach Vince Dooley; Tim Dugan on hiking the Appalachian Trail; such elected officials of Georgia as Cathy Cox, Phil Gingrey, Tommy Irvin, and Michael Thurmond; Ordinary Heroes author Mac Martin; the Sharp Creek Singers; former NFL stars Tommy Nobis and Richard Todd; Kiwanis Bowl kick-off with the UWG Marching Band; Stu Yahm on his career in the recording business; former U.S. House Speaker (and former club member) Newt Gingrich; and the anticipation of hearing former Georgia house representative, Jack West.

Like the first 60 years, our club's success relies upon such drivers as leadership, programs, communication, community support, recruitment, committed volunteerism, and a focus on serving the children of our community and the world. Our contributions to the community are well documented and will serve as an inspiration to guide our organization for many decades to come.

Bob Claxton