History

The Kiwanis Club of Lynchburg’s history is a proud record of service to the community, and to selected individuals, who without the club’s help, may have otherwise been unable to achieve such lofty goals in life.

One of the outstanding service committees of our club, throughout its history, has been the Education and Benevolent (E & B) fund. This fund was conceived by the early members through the deprivations of a young Campbell county High School student from Gladys. The young man lost one of his arms at a saw mill during the Christmas Holidays in 1920. His saw mill work had been secured to purchase necessities such as shoes to enable him to walk the eight or nine miles to his High School. After this tragic accident the young lad saw an immediate need to further his education by securing a college education. A friend of his, an Episcopal clergyman, sought in his behalf, the assistance of the Lynchburg Kiwanis Club. In 1922 the club organized the E & B fund and this young lad was one of the first recipients of an educational loan from the fund. During the first year, five loans were made to this lad and four other needy young people totaling $1,020.00.

Many innovative projects have been undertaken through the years: the annual carnival for patients at the Lynchburg Training School, the 4-H, 10-county Farm show in Lynchburg, the Lynchburg Travelogue, originally called the Kiwanis Travel and Adventure Series, High School level counseling at Lynchburg Area high schools, Planting of Cherry trees in Rivermont Park, promotion and financial support for the Blackwater Creek nature and Bicycle trail, and construction of permanent buildings at YMCA Camp Rochichi, YWCA Camp Ruthers, Boy Scout Camp Monocan, Girl Scout Camp Sacajawea, and Church Camp Kum-Ba-Yah, gives a feeling for the diversity of projects undertaken. Each of the projects was carefully selected to provide the maximum benefit to the community.

You may well ask, what have you done lately? We are proud to note the work of Kiwanis has continued up to the present with many additional projects. We finished a new equipment storage facility at Camp Kum-Ba-Yah. We have planted more trees in Riverside Park and we have worked, on several occasions, at fixing up Percival’s Island. We have moved into the city schools with two new programs assisting the youth of our city: Terrific Kids and Keep Cool in School (teaching conflict resolution skills). Our Teddy Bear Parade, started in 1985, entertained several hundreds of children and parents in 2007. We are planning to put an educational observation deck at the airport and to refurbish the caboose in Riverside Park to allow children to enjoy it today and in the future. We expect to strengthen the alliance we have forged with Elizabeth Early Learning Center and promote further constructive work.

In 1970 there were 5600 Kiwanis Clubs world wide located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East, with a total club enrollment of 275,000. Today, in 2002, Kiwanis has 8,200 clubs and over 500,000 members in more than 80 nations worldwide.