Early-Riser News
News for week of Feb 24

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History (Kiwanis and Waukesha)

The people of Waukesha have always come together as members of organizations to help the community. Prominent and caring individuals have always made up their rosters and together they have helped to make Waukesha a better community. If there was a need, a service club was always there to help.

In the U.S., there have been many different clubs. One of the first was the Kiwanis club. The first club was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1915. And seven years later, the Waukesha Kiwanis Club was formed. Initially, the Kiwanis motto was, “We Trade” and today it has evolved into the more appropriate motto of “We Build”.

The club has always promoted building of community. With each activity, whether a service project or a fundraiser, the community has been the benefactor. Some of the clubs first undertakings were providing opportunities for underprivileged children, providing tonsillectomies and dental work for those who couldn’t afford it. Many times the club went so far as to pay hospital bills.

Over the years, the Waukesha Kiwanis Club has determined the needs of our community, and they provided the necessary manpower and resources to fulfill those needs... And helping those in need has always been their goal.

In 1927, the club led a campaign to build a new hotel, the Avalon. In 1928, they promoted a fundraiser to help build a new wing to Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Remarkably, the club raised $293,000 in eighty-five hours, a significant amount, even by today’s standards.

In the 1950’s, the club helped finance a swimming pool for Camp Waubeek, a summer camp for handicapped children. Each year Camp Waubeek continues to serve the children of Wisconsin, with continued support of all Wisconsin Kiwanis Clubs.

The Waukesha Kiwanis Club has endured over the years, largely because of foresight and a continued campaign to build new clubs. Each new club, created greater benefits to the community, greater benefits to the Waukesha area.

In 1926, the club established the first Kiwanis Club in Wauwatosa. In 1937, they helped charter the Oconomowoc Club, 1955, the Pewaukee Club was formed and again in 1960, the New Berlin Club. Over the years, many new clubs were formed with the help of the Waukesha Kiwanis Club. Because of their willingness to build, most of the Kiwanis Clubs in our area will always share a bond with the Waukesha Kiwanis Club. Today, the club goes by the name, the Waukesha Kiwanis Noon Club.

With great foresight the Noon club realized that our future ultimately lies in the hands of our children. Every project starts with a first step and with a first club they began the long honored tradition of building Circle K’s in our universities and Key Club’s in our high schools. They were the first in the Waukesha Area to realize the need to teach our children the importance of giving, sharing and helping through service to our community. They believed that by molding our youth through service they were building quality citizens and maybe more importantly they were building a source of solid citizens to strengthen their own club. Early on the club helped to establish values of community in our youth. They taught our children to be service minded, to help those in need, and they taught leadership. And in 1959, the noon club organized the first Circle K Club at Carroll College. In 1972, the Waukesha Noon Club helped to charter a Key Club at South High School.

We have sponsored several youth clubs throughout the years. Our strongest club is the Key Club at Waukesha West High School. We also have a Circle K club at University of Wisconsin at Waukesha. In past years we have ahd a Circle K Club at Carroll University and are hoping to get one going there again soon.

Today, the Noon Club is still working in the community, through its own efforts and through the efforts of its many sponsored clubs. Every project a sponsored club achieves, every service provided and every person helped is the fruit from the seeds from the efforts of the Waukesha Noon Club. Without their leadership, the Waukesha Kiwanis - Early Risers, as well as all, the other sister clubs, would not be.

Each Wednesday, the members of the Waukesha Kiwanis - Early Risers meet at 7:30 at the Easter Seals facility just south of Crites' Field to discuss the needs of the community and just enjoy each others' company.

Over the years our fundraising has taken on many forms including, the Annual Tree Sale in late April and Duck Derby Race on the Fox River. The monies we have raised have been used for such things as; sponsoring of D.A.R.E Program, Coats for Kids, our own award winning program to help get winter coats for kids who would otherwise do without. The club continues to show support to our community through work projects and/or donations to such groups as; The Waukesha Woman’s Center, the Salvation Army, the Food Pantry of Waukesha County and Habitat for Humanity. And the Waukesha Kiwanis – Early Risers continue the long seated vision of the Waukesha Kiwanis Club by sponsoring youth clubs at Carroll University, University of Wisconsin Waukesha and West High School. 

The people of Waukesha continue to serve the community in clubs such as the Waukesha Kiwanis – Early Riser or the Waukesha Noon Club. And over the years, people and projects have come and gone, but their goal remains the same, to serve the community, and “To Build”.

The history of Waukesha Noon Kiwanis was adapted from Kiwanis in Waukesha 1922 – 1972, published by Waukesha Kiwanis Club, May 1972.

Kiwanis and Waukesha was originally printed as the 3rd Place Winner in the 2004 Ivan Kaste Memorial Writing contest in The Waukesha Freeman.