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Service clubs and the community

There are many reasons why smaller cities are so special to me. I grew up in a small town in Florida, about the size of Chowchilla, and I have many fond memories of that town and its people. It seems there was always something to do, and for a child that is important.

During the summer, all the schools were closed and the kids had three months of free time. Most kids I knew went to Vacation Bible School at their own churches, because at that time most people in our community went to church regularly. Our Civic Center was a very active place for kids and their families. Each summer, we took swimming lessons, and there were so many other activities available there for kids. We had fun learning arts & crafts, and there were both outside and inside sports at the Civic Center. One year there was a charm school for the girls, where I learned table manners (which I also learned at home), and how to fold a napkin and set a table in formal fashion.

While we were living there, my dad was in the Rotary Club, and each year they had events that the community could attend, even the kids. The Glee Club annually performed Handel’s “Messiah,” and there was always a great turnout for it. On the Fourth of July, much of the community gathered at Peace River Park for picnics and fireworks. Halloween was a big deal in that little community. There was an annual parade, and behind the last float, the kids (and some adults) would walk in the parade, which would end at the grounds of the Civic Center for a big Halloween carnival. Some of these activities were planned by the city so that the citizens could enjoy family fun times, but most of the events were planned and carried out by service clubs and churches.

Service clubs were really important in that community, as they are in many cities and towns now. In our city of Madera, we cherish our Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, and many other smaller organizations that serve our city and the needs of many other groups. They provide scholarships for students, housing for some, and sometimes support for other organizations, among other services.

It seems to me that the service clubs are a dying breed, and so I think we need to make extra efforts to encourage people to get involved with these clubs that not only provide much entertainment for the communities, but also deliver service and help where needed.

This year in our Pride special section, The Madera Tribune will draw attention to the service clubs and the benefits of these organizations in our community. If you learn about a club that aligns with your interests or passion, see what you can do to help. Whether it is an adult organization, such as Lion’s Club or Kiwanis, or an educational group like the Friends of the Madera County Library, or if it is a children’s organization like the Scouts or Campfire, there is a way you can get involved and provide service to your community. I guarantee you, there is a service club in Madera that needs you today.

My love to all,

— Nancy

• • •

A person must not think only of himself, but he must think of others as well.

— 1 Corinthians 10:24


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