March 10, 2011

Service clubs thrive on competition

I admit, I had a twinge of schadenfreude when I read this headline, 'Kiwanis clubs clash over Bike-A-Thon.'  But then I read the article and felt a little bit of envy for the friendly rivalry that the two service clubs in Albert Lea, Minnesota share.

Bike-A-Thon takes riders on 100-
mile trip around Freborn County
The long-time rivalry between the Noon Kiwanis Club and the Daybreak Kiwanis Club centers around an annual 100-mile bike ride to benefit the American Cancer Society.  Every year, the presidents of the clubs make a friendly wager to recruit more riders to their teams, to garner more pledges and raise more money.

As they visit each other in the weeks leading up to the ride, their enthusiasm and word of mouth marketing entices more people to be involved. The prize to the winning Kiwanis Club is ownership of a traveling trophy. The benefits to the community are huge.

One of the greatest benefits of having active service clubs in a community is the organized group of volunteers they have at the ready for any community event. Of course some are more personal and members are more inclined to be involved, but in my experience, most service clubs will always try to do something when they are asked to help.

Activities like the Bike-A-Thon are perfect because all they ask for is time. Members choose if and how they want to participate. It is a bonus when the cause is such that it spurs an instant rivalry. Everyone benefits from the participants, to the organizers, to the ultimate beneficiaries.

If you are organizing an event, consider getting your local service clubs involved. You'll like the energy they bring to the table.

If you live in the Albert Lea, Minnesota area, please join a Kiwanis Bike-A-Thon team or make a pledge. Contact Kent Erlandson at 507.383.1840 to learn more. The 2011 Freeborn County Bike-A-Thon will take place on May 8.


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