After a 10-year hiatus, the Collingwood Kinsmen have resurrected and are here to stay.
Kinsmen and Kinettes came from all over Canada to celebrate the club’s Charter Night, which took place last night (Sept. 18) at the Nottawa Memorial Community Centre.
“No one can remember the last time a club was chartered. These nights are pretty rare,” said Brandon Ward, the director at large of the Stayner Kinsmen and half of the team behind last night’s success.
“Clubs across Canada… You see more of them going the way of the wind than popping up.”Ward said about 90 members came out for the evening, from clubs as far as Barrie, Kitchener/Waterloo, and Fort Erie, including the National President of Kin Canada, who came all the way from Halifax to help commemorate the occasion.
“I’m nervous and excited,” said Glen Card, who was appointed the Collingwood club president at the event last night. “It’s all pretty amazing.”
Card approached Ward with the idea in March. You can read more about that here.
Card moved to Collingwood with his family and was in search of a club to join. He had been a Kinsmen at three other clubs in the past and was disappointed to learn the club in Collingwood folded in 2008.
“I looked at the other organizations in town, but they weren’t the right fit,” said Card. “I liked the camaraderie of the interclubs. I want to be able to meet more people, see what other clubs are doing and how they are helping their communities.”
Ward got the Stayner club to sponsor the initiative, and Card began the mission of recruiting like-minded men as members.
“It’s been quite a battle… Well, no, I wouldn’t say a battle. It’s been a journey,” said Card.
Card reached out online and through Facebook, the newspaper and radio stations. They set up a table at a farmers' market earlier in the year to explain what the club was all about.
John Barrie happened to be at the farmers' market that day. Barrie had been a Kinsmen as a teenager growing up in Halifax. When he found out what Ward and Card were trying to do, he was all in. Barrie recruited his neighbour to join as a member as well.
“We’re here and we’re loving it. Collingwood is home now, and we want to help the community,” said Barrie.
The first Kinsmen Club was created after the First World War by Hal Rogers. Rogers was a veteran of the war and when he got home, he missed the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers. He started Kinsmen and by the Second World War, there were Kinsmen clubs across Canada. Campaigns were led to help communities survive the tough times.
The wives of the Kinsmen formed Kinette groups and helped with the efforts as well.
Monika McKean has been a member of the Kinette Club in Collingwood for almost 40 years.
“We were really sad to see the Collingwood Kinsmen go. They were an integral part of the community,” said McKean. “So, to see it being resurrected is pretty exciting for everybody.”
The Collingwood Kinsmen had 13 core members celebrating at the launch event, and members of the old club showed up to give their support. Card has a lot of ideas in the coming months, and he says he is always looking for more members and more ways to help the community.
“The more people who have the hands to help out, the better,” said Card.
Anyone interested in more information about joining a local Kinsmen Club can contact Card by email at email@example.com, or Brandon Ward the CF director for the Stayner Kinsmen by phone or text at 705-443-1461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.