This post isn’t a response to T.J.’s ideas. Since his post references service clubs, I saw an opportunity to bridge my love for fraternity with my love for these civic organizations. It also occurred to me that many current undergraduates and fraternity alumni don’t quite understand these organizations. I didn’t before I began working for one of them.
Bottom line: I believe that these organizations can provide the fraternity or sorority member with an outlet to express the values of his/her Greek organization after graduation.
As an example of what these clubs can offer, let me describe more fully one of them: Kiwanis. I belong to Kiwanis and work for Kiwanis, and so I can speak best to this kind of experience.
I guess the simplest way I’ve found to describe Kiwanis clubs (and service clubs in general) is to use the analogy of a road trip. If you are a person with a heart to serve (the target market of service clubs like Kiwanis), then you likely want to make the world a better place. That’s the destination of your life’s journey. It’s the point on the horizon that you’re trying to reach. The route to get there is service. That’s the name of the road.
Many people will try to walk that road alone. There is a heroic notion to the rugged individual walking an arduous path. Fine. But it’s a long journey fraught with exhaustion and frustration.
Like any journey, the service path is more easily traversed with a vehicle. That’s what Kiwanis clubs are – vehicles to take a person along the road of service to their destination, to their vision of a better world. It’s a vehicle large enough to accommodate lots of like-hearted people.
It’s not that Kiwanians are looking for a shortcut to get to their destination. They just know they can go further – that they can achieve more – when they take the journey in a vehicle with others. It’s also a heck of a lot more fun. It’s like a road trip. Members take turns driving based on their interests. When you are feeling down or tired, someone else can take the wheel. Laughter and fellowship make the journey easier. Isn’t that what we have learned from our fraternity experiences as well?
|Kiwanis Club of Lafayette (Louisiana) refurbishes a park.|
There is a great fraternal aspect to organizations like Kiwanis. Because we rally around a shared purpose – service – we are able to build deeper friendships.
If you came to my Kiwanis club meeting, you would feel fraternity. There is love for each other in the way we joke with, laugh with, encourage, recognize, and push each other. But now comes the caveat: my club experience may be very different than the Kiwanis club experience in your community. Each one – like each fraternity chapter – builds its own culture. The best way to know if it’s the club culture and environment you want to is to visit and spend time with the members.
Fast facts…Kiwanis is for men and women…service focus is children with programs that covers all ages…perhaps best known for sponsoring youth service clubs including Key Club (high school) and Circle K (college)…worldwide with clubs in over 80 nations…almost 100 years old.
Josh Orendi of Phired Up Productions wrote a great blog post about visiting a Kiwanis club, which you can read here.
I strongly urge you to consider a service club when the time is right for you. As members of fraternities and sororities, we are called to give the best of ourselves to the world we inhabit. I have found that an easy way to live out the values of my fraternity, and to answer the call of leadership, is to ride in a vehicle called Kiwanis. Simply put, I know that I can achieve more for this world in a Kiwanis club than I could alone.
Whatever your choice for how you express the values of your fraternity/sorority beyond campus, when it comes to giving generously of your talents, just keep two words in mind: never stop.
You can learn more about Kiwanis at www.kiwanis.org and I invite readers to give their own testimonials of the clubs and organizations they belong to in the comments section (I'm looking at you Masons, Rotarians, Lions, Optimists, Toastmasters, Jaycees, Junior Leaguers, and others.)