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Kiwanis Kronicle: 100 Years of play!

Kiwanis=Kids. And speaking of kids, I miss my own kids terribly. It was an honor to raise five children and have them grow to be adults, but I sure miss having them at home.

One of our favorite family events was kickball games. We would spend hours outside running, laughing, trash-talking, and strategizing. I miss play time with my own kids, but Kiwanis lets me play with other kids. What a blessing. This column focuses on how we play in Kiwanis. Kiwanis-New Richmond is 100 years old this year and we are proud to play every day of every year.

Some Kiwanis clubs have Kiwanis "K-Kids" to foster young leaders in elementary school. The focus is to help elementary students stay healthy. Kiwanis-New Richmond does not currently have a Kiwanis K-Kids but if needs arise, it is an option. Many K-Kids promote improved nutrition, exercise and organized play. We are fortunate to already have a community filled with options for our children but Kiwanis can fill any void if needed.

At the middle school level many local Kiwanis Clubs offer Kiwanis "Builders Club." This club focuses on promoting meaningful connections and service learning opportunities for middle school students. Often times this leads to Key Club at the high school level.

Our Kiwanis family also includes "Aktion Club." Membership is open to any adult living with a disability who desires to become a leader in his or her community and wishes to provide service to others while having fun. Aktion Club provides an opportunity to build leadership and decision-making skills, as well as hold leadership roles in the club. Members experience meaningful community service activities. They learn by doing. They learn organization, teamwork and leadership. Most importantly, they learn that individuals working together can and do make a difference to the world around them. I recently watched an Aktion Club video and it was wonderful to see the smiles and laughter of people with varying abilities celebrating play in their community. Every child (and, indeed, every person) deserves to play. Kiwanis promotes play.

Even though we do not officially have a Kiwanis K-Kids, Builders Club, or Aktion Club, our Kiwanis-New Richmond Club supports many activities supporting play and can add these clubs if there is an interest. Kiwanis responds to the needs of the community we serve. Even our Viking fan Kiwanians wholeheartedly (or, at least semi-heartedly) approved sponsorship of the Packer Tailgate Tour on April 11. We were excited to have opportunities to play at the event (even with the snow and cold) so kids of all ages could enjoy the experience. Personally, this kid loved it. (Go Pack Go!)

For our older kids, April brings our annual Senior Honors Banquet and FFA Award. It is fun celebrating the success of our soon-to-graduate high school students and their parents. Kiwanis-New Richmond honors an outstanding FFA student with an engraved watch. Even in this age of technology, the traditional engraved watch award is a cherished symbol of honor. We will have more details about these events and students in May's Kiwanis Kronicle.

And speaking of play, please join us on April 20, for the Kiwanis Annual Easter Egg Hunt starting at 10:30 a.m. at Starr Elementary School. You can't help but play at an event like this and we are extremely proud to sponsor this event along with New Richmond Community Education. If you happen to be able to attend, ask a person in a bright blue apron about joining our group. This year we will be celebrating having fun through service and play for 100 years in our community.

If you have the privilege to be around kids, take some time and play some games with them. The old classics won't be forgotten if we share the joy. No offense to video games but nothing beats live, human interaction. Play, play, play and we all stay kids at heart, even when our own kids grow up. Kids Need Kiwanis: Kiwanis Needs You! We celebrate 100 years with pride.

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