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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Kiwanis Cape May Celebrates 100 Years of Service

The Kiwanis Club of Cape May clubhouse as it appears today at 1041 Beach Ave.

By Herald Staff

For one hundred years, the Kiwanis Club of Cape May, a proud member of Kiwanis International, has been an enduring bastion of service, leaving an indelible mark on the beautiful area of Cape May.

Established on January 17, 1924, the club and Cape May have evolved in tandem.

From its humble beginnings, the Kiwanis Club of Cape May embarked on a mission to serve the community, with a focus on the well-being of children. A dedicated group of members have championed the improvement of the world, one child and one community at a time.

One notable chapter in the Kiwanis Club’s history is the transformation of an 1891 U.S. Lifesaving Station into a beachfront Kiwanis clubhouse. The mission of the Cold Spring U.S. Lifesaving Station #136 was to prevent the loss of life from shipwrecks along the Cape May coast and in 1939, the Kiwanis Club of Cape May purchased the abandoned building at auction for only $120.00. Since then, the Cape May Kiwanis Clubhouse has been a symbol of community service and a gathering place for Kiwanis members to plan and execute initiatives that touched the lives of countless residents, visitors, and especially, children.

Every evening from Memorial Day through Sept. 11, Kiwanians gather together a small group of young people to join them in lowering the flag at day’s end. They teach the children flag etiquette and how to properly fold it into its traditional triangular shape.

Over the decades, the Kiwanis Club has adapted to the changing needs of the community, and its enthusiastic, problem-solving, diverse members continue to volunteer on behalf of children and families. Major initiatives include food drives supporting local food banks and special programs for elementary school children, such as, the B.U.G. (Bring Up Grades) program, Toe by Toe Reading Tutoring, K Kids and Builders Clubs. The area high school Key Clubs and college level Circle K Clubs are integral components of the Kiwanis family, and they continue to promote active volunteerism.

The first Kiwanis $100.00 college scholarship was awarded in 1924 and, after 100 years, the Kiwanis Club of Cape May continues to award scholarships to honor outstanding high school seniors every Spring. Some other enjoyable Kiwanis community events also include, the Sunset Flag Ceremony, the 9/11 Patriotic Ceremony, Easter Egg Hunt, Yard Sale, Pet Parade, Bike Lights Safety Program, as well as, other activities.

The Kiwanis Club of Cape May now serves as a beacon of support, addressing hunger, promoting literacy, and providing a model of life-long community service.

The club’s literacy B.U.G. (elementary Bring Up Grades) program, tutoring program, and traditional scholarship program all encourage local students to graduate from high school, enter college with confidence, and help their communities.

As the Kiwanis Club of Cape May celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2024, members continue their commitment to creating opportunities for children to learn, dream, and succeed. As the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean, the Kiwanis Club of Cape May looks back with pride on one hundred years of genuine accomplishments and is grateful for the volunteerism of many past and present members, who have contributed to the quality of life in the Cape May area.

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