Help with student scholarships and public washroom upgrades in Qualicum Beach are among the benefits that will be lost to the community in the coming months, as the local Kiwanis club suspends its activities.
Peter Tryon, Kiwanis Club of Parksville Qualicum president, said the shrinking club is taking a one-year hiatus to see if it can generate some membership.
In the past three years, Tryon said, membership in the club has dropped to 10 from 28. And without a membership of at least 15 people, he said, the club can’t access lotto grants.
“We cannot access any lotto grants for the people of Qualicum Beach and Parksville,” Tryon said. “We can’t get a lotto licence for anything higher than a Class D licence. We just don’t have enough manpower to do the things that we used to do.”
By not being able to access certain funding, Tryon said, the club won’t be able to help out the community like it usually does.
This would include giving out thousands of dollars in bursaries to high school students for post-secondary education.
“That’s going to be gone. So these kids won’t get their education partly paid for.”
Tryon also said the Town of Qualicum Beach asked Kiwanis to help with the washroom revitalization at the waterfront, but since the group can’t get the funding, it’s no longer able to help.
Of the 10 current volunteers, Tryon said, about six people are doing most of the work.
“Us six are tired,” Tryon said. “We can’t do it anymore. I mean, we’re not young. The ones who are doing most of the work are in their 80s. That’s not fair.”
But the problem is trying to find people to join the club.
“Membership in all clubs has declined immensely over the years. Our generation seems to be the last generation that is willing to step up to the plate,” said Tryon, adding both Rotary and Lions clubs have struggled with membership as well.
“The younger generation are willing to help but they don’t want to be tied down being a member of a club.”
Tryon said the biggest problem is people wondering what they get for their membership. Tryon said part of the membership money is going to support children around the world.
Between executive board meetings, Tryon said, the club would generally meet twice a month for an hour-and-a-half at the most.
For more information on the club, or membership, contact Tryon at 250-951-2727.