On February 2nd, 2023, the Service Club Council held their annual banquet dinner at the ANAF Unit 342 in Cornwall.
The yearly event celebrates the great work that the 14-member service clubs do for our community, including sponsoring the Santa Clause Parade and distributing over 1,400 food hampers for the 2022 holiday season.
The Service Club Council banquet also marks the swearing in of the new President, with each President serving a one-year term on a rotating basis. For the 2023 year, Katie Burke replaces Daniel Youmelle as President of the Service Club Council. Tom Wallace assumes the position of Vice President, Terry Muir as Secretary, and Marvin Plumadore joins the council as Treasurer.
“This annual event is a real joy to attend because it brings together people from all the different service clubs. The Service Club Council is a way for the service clubs to know what other service clubs are doing, collaborate where they can, respect each other’s initiatives, and make sure that everything runs smoothly in the service club world,” explained Katie Burke.
Burke, who has been a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Cornwall for 25 years, said she likes to think there is a service club out there for everybody. It’s all about finding your service club and making your community a better place to live, whether for kids, seniors, or the general population.
“As you can see, these are enthusiastic people,” said Burke, referring to the lively room, “They don’t get long faces and say, ‘We can’t do it,’. There are solutions. We can do something, and we will do something.”
Burke also explained that getting involved with a service club doesn’t mean you need to become a member and attend all the meetings. Volunteers are needed and people can contribute to a service club as much as they see fit.
This year’s guest speaker of the evening was Executive Director of The Army Cadet League of Canada, Robert Gill.
During his speech, Gill shared the belief that to survive after the pandemic service clubs need to target two key demographics: new Canadians and millennials.
“It’s not well known but new Canadians actually have a tendency to not only volunteer more, but also donate more, and more frequently than multigenerational Canadians. One of the key reasons is simply: they want a better Canada,” he said, referring to a report by Imagine Canada, a nonprofit whose purpose is to support other nonprofits and charities across Canada.
Statistically, new Canadians make up 25% of the population, or 1 in 4 people. 1 in 5 Canadians are millennials.
“We have a lot of organizations going out and doing traditional fundraisers, you know, with a pot, trying to collect change. And you don’t know how many times I feel bad that I can’t give anything because I don’t have money on me,” said Gill, ‘But there are organizations that have stepped forward, for example the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign with tiptap. The Legion came out with something similar for the Poppy Campaign. Tim Horton’s Foundation now accepts debit/credit, etc. … We have to start innovating and attracting new demographics.”