In 1946, just after WWII ended, a group of dedicated North Ogden citizens recognized the need for a service club to promote greater involvement of citizens in community affairs. The stated purpose of Kiwanis was “Service to Youth, Community and Nation.”
A Kiwanis Club was chartered in September; 37 members began regular meetings and developed a number of service initiatives, many of which improved the infrastructure of the city. The club planted trees, built water fountains, and in general, helped when and where needed. They met in the basement of Wayne Barker’s Service Station, which was located near the Stump Springs in Lees Shopping Center. Barker maintained perfect attendance for 40 years and served as Club President in 1955-56. The charter President was J. Parley Spackman. The early club completed many worthy projects which were true to the organizations goals.
Most of the club members are men, but women have had a strong influence, with some becoming members and many wives helping with community projects such as Cherry Days Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Easter Egg Hunt, Yard Sales, Hope of America awards, and in assisting with regular meetings and fund-raising activities. In 1991-92, Virginia Kendall was the first and only woman to be Club President.
In the 21st Century, North Ogden Kiwanis Club still pursues the same goals that members did 74 years ago – it’s all about community service. They are still focused on youth and community service and channel their efforts into such projects as Hope of America, which awards sixth grade students for their good citizenship accomplishments. In the last decade, the club has donated literally tens of thousands of books to local elementary schools and has made donations of thousands of dollars to purchase electronic digital reading and learning materials.
For nearly 50 years, the club has cooked the Cherry Days pancake breakfast and served around 1200 people in less than three hours. Proceeds from this go directly to fund many youth projects. Local businesses and individuals have been generous in contributing financially to Kiwanis fund raising over the years. Donations have made serving the community easier and are greatly appreciated.
Kiwanis responds when needs are known, such as when school cafeteria personnel noticed a need to help some students with payment of lunches. Members are generous when Sub for Santa comes around; many students have been helped with special projects, such as a young woman who was pursuing Olympic Fencing and needed help. The list goes on and the response is most often positive for both giver and receiver.
Kiwanis members now meet at the Senior Center in North Ogden on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and anyone is welcome to join.
NOTES – Information was taken from Kiwanis Club History Updates written in 1986 and 2006. I have been a member since 2002 and provided some of the documentation from my experiences with the club.