Clear Water Kiwanis Club has an interesting start. Prior to 1987, Kiwanis International was an all-male organization. In 1978/79, the Circle K club was formed at UWEC, and was sponsored by the Noon Club. Key Clubs (at the high school and college levels) were co-ed, but once a woman graduated, there were no Kiwanis clubs for a woman to join. A few members of the Circle K club after graduation formed a "Kiwanianne Club," which functioned not quite as an auxiliary of the main Kiwanis Club, but was similar.
In 1987, Kiwanis International changed their bylaws to allow women, breaking a 72-year men-only tradition. Once that occurred, members of the Kiwanianne Club chartered to become a regular Kiwanis club. In fact, over 3000 women joined Kiwanis clubs within a few months of the rule change. The Clear Water Kiwanis Club was organized in August, 1987. Sponsored by the Eau Claire Noon Club, 33 members were present to celebrate Charter Night, September 24, 1987. This large initial membership was due to a former Kiwanis Club being the foundation for Clear Water Kiwanis. All members of the club were women.
The focus of the early club has not changed much from the present club: programs, membership, growth and education, community service, youth services, spiritual aims, fundraising and publicity.
Today, Clear Water Kiwanis has about 40 members (all women). We welcome both men and women to our club, and our focus continues to be on social issues that affect children. Projects that we have worked on include collecting items for drug endangered children, fundraising for a handicapped-accessible playground for Reach, packing weekend kid's meals at Feed My People Food Bank, participating in literacy events around the community, and most recently, taking over leadership of the Doll and Pet Parade in 2017.
The strength of Clear Water Kiwanis is in the diversity of talents and interests of our members. We strive to make an impact on the lives of children in our community through our service, fundraising efforts and educational opportunities.
Clear Water Kiwanis, celebrating their 30-year club anniversary at the annual banquet, September 20, 2017.