On Monday night this last week, I spoke at the Kiwanis Club meeting here in Wisconsin Dells.  As I sat through the meeting, I thought about the history that I have had with this club, all the work that they do for their community and how there are these organizations in most of the cities throughout our country:  Working every day to create a better place to live for the people who live in these communities with them.

I feel that we forget that these clubs are there for us.  They are a great resource when times are tuff, or you need a few extra hands or you need help creating your own fundraiser.  Everywhere you go in our country, you can easily find a Kiwanis Club, Lion’s Club, Rotary Club, or some equivalent to them.  They are always there with open arms when you need them.  These clubs are what gave the definition of American Philanthropy.  They have even grown to a point where there are levels for people of all ages.  Using Kiwanis as an example, there is the Builders Club for elementary students, Key Club for high school students, Circle K for college students and Golden K for the elderly people who still want to give.  I have had the privilege of participating on almost every level of this monumental organization.

When I was at the Wisconsin Dells club this last Monday, one of the members made a comment about me joining finally.  In this particular club, my grandmother has been active for over eighteen years and I have been helping by her side since then.  I grew up knowing this group of adults and they were cheering me on when I was president of Key Club and then on to when I became president of my Circle K at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

This comment made me really think though about whether or not people in their twenties are actively looking for different organizations to spend their time with?  I don’t even think that it comes to their mind as something they should consider.  Once we become adults, we really do have an obligation to help out with the function of society.  It doesn’t have to be in an organization but being a part of such groups makes it easier to give and you have a good time making a difference with people around you.  With there being a lack of ambition from my generation, I wonder what the future of these amazing structural organizations are? 

I am confident thought that these philanthropic groups will survive.  They have survived for so long, that waiting for the next generation of members won’t be as difficult a task as it seems. 

I’m going to end this post with something Oprah said yesterday on her last show.  “Everybody has a calling and your real job in life is to figure that out and get about the business of doing it.”  Whatever that is in each of us, we need a platform that lets us do that.  As you settle down, or uproot and need change, or just want to meet a new group of wonderful, generous people, look into your communities and see if maybe an organization like the ones I listed can help you with that.  We will never know the capacity of what we can do in life if we don’t have the space to let ourselves free.