As I look back over my life and the 50-plus years of being in business for myself, I realize that some of the greatest blessings I have had include being a member of some really good civic clubs.
Let me be quick to add that, because of a number of valid reasons like health, travel, schedule and work, it is not possible for many people to be a part of a civic club.
The theme of most all civic clubs is “service” and giving back to help those less fortunate among us. Back in my younger years I was a member of the Little Rock Optimist Club, and their motto is “Friend of Youth.”
I can still remember the days of selling Christmas trees at the north end of War Memorial Stadium to raise money to help young people in our community.
When I moved to Conway in 1995, I joined the Conway Noon Lions Club after receiving a personal invitation from a close friend.
This club is made up of great people, and their mission is to help the blind and visually impaired. I served in this club and went through all the chairs for 20 years.
I later dropped out because of my travel schedule and demands on my time.
After founding the Conway Bookcase Project in 2005, I served as chairman for 15 years. I recently concluded that, due to my age, I had to find a group to take over and continue to provide bookcases and books to the children in low-income families who we were and are still serving.
Well, my prayer was answered by the Conway Kiwanis Club. Their motto is “Serving the Children of the World,” and this club voted to take over our project.
Since I wanted to stay involved, I joined this great club, which happens to be the largest club in our community. I might add that the club has many great members, some of whom are friends I have known for years.
There are additional benefits to being a member of a great civic club, such as wonderful fellowship with people who are kindred spirits, meeting weekly, and having some fantastic, motivational, and informative programs.
The Conway Kiwanis Club currently has a real need as part of the Arkansas-Missouri Kiwanis District. That need is with a Youth Camp located north of Russellville, Arkansas.
Here is a little background: This camp is known as the Beatrice Johnson Kiwanis Youth Kamp.
It came into being in 2008 when Beatrice Johnson of Johnson County, Arkansas, passed away and bequeathed 160 acres of beautiful land to the Missouri-Arkansas Kiwanis for the construction of a camp for children. A 501-C3 non-profit corporation was formed on Nov. 17, 2011.
I had never heard of this camp before joining Kiwanis but was fortunate to learn about it from Dr. Thom South, a fellow Kiwanian. I went with Dr. South, who is the board chairman of a 12-member board, to a Kiwanis meeting in Morrilton, where our District Gov. Carla O’Brien was speaking. We then went on to the camp.
The setting is in the mountains, and the land with trails is now developed and is truly beautiful. Construction is just beginning, but in time this camp is going to mean the world to children all across our area.
Being around nature and wildlife, and wholesome programs, really helps kids.
At the present time, we are already serving children through day camps and overnight scout camping. We also have tent pods for overnight camping, vault toilets and a pavilion. In time, the plan is to have permanent facilities to include restrooms, showers, a kitchen, cabins, a main lodge and activity areas.
If you can help, your gift would be tax-deductible, so please send checks payable to the Beatrice Johnson Foundation, P.O. Box 1998, Russellville, AR 72811.
You know, “little is much when God is in it.”
Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in the Log Cabin Democrat in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states.