One Kiwanis Club, one Meridian: Okemos and Haslett Kiwanis Club are merging together as one

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One Kiwanis Club; One Meridian: Okemos and Haslett Kiwanis Clubs are merging together as one

The Kiwanis Club of Haslett meets up on Tuesday mornings at Blondie’s Barn to

Janise Packnet

The Kiwanis Club of Haslett meets at Blondie’s Barn on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. for their meetings. This banner hangs in the group area of the restaurant.

discuss the executive board agenda over breakfast, and on Oct. 25, they met to continue their talk about their merger with the Kiwanis Club of Okemos.

“The reason for the merger, we lost four of our members to passing away this past year. Then we had three more of our active members become disabled for health reasons,” said Terence Carroll, who is the former secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Okemos. “It was an awful amount of people to lose within a year and we looked at Haslett, and their membership is stable and we thought we’ll just merge.”

The Kiwanis Club is an international organization with more than 5,000 clubs in North America, according to the Kiwanis International website. This organization is all about supporting the children in their community. The Kiwanis Club, in both Okemos and Haslett, is dedicated to building children’s character and developing leadership skills and now they will do it as one big organization.

After the Okemos club decided it wanted to merge with its neighboring city the group presented a presentation at a meeting of Haslett’s, and according to Alanna Harvey, who is an executive board member for the Haslett Kiwanis Club, said everyone was in favor of the merge; the group welcomed them with open arms.

“I do like the new merger,” said Victor Samuelson, who is also a member of the Haslett  executive board. “What I like about it is it increases our membership so that means there are more members to do things. You get a different perspective from the Okemos members coming in, in terms of what they do in their community club and fresh ideas.”

There are now 36 members in the combined organization; 24 from the Haslett club and 12 from the Okemos club. It took about a month to six weeks for the group to complete the merger and although the agreement to come together was an easy decision the group is now running into the hard part of the merger.

“The hard part is just trying to understand how each club operated,” said Harvey, who has been a member of the Haslett Kiwanis Club for about seven years. “Each club sets themselves up differently for what works best for their club and community.”

Now the group — Kiwanis Club of Haslett-Okemos — is trying to blend the two process into a single process to make it a true merger. Since it is now one club, the group has to combine service projects and make sure their separate projects will not overlap with one another.

Prior to coming together, the two Kiwanis Clubs based in Meridian Township dabbled in separate projects involving their community. The Okemos club has their huge project where they partnered with the Ingham County Probate Court and held a Christmas party for the children in foster families.

The Haslett club has their fundraiser, Flags Over Meridian, where residents and local business owners pay $36 or the organization to put an American flag on their desired location during all of the flag holidays. All of the proceeds go to  different projects the clubs host for the community. Since they are now combined they are able to help with the individual projects and expand all over Meridian Township.

According to Harvey, it will probably take several more months to complete the blending process, but the group is up for the challenge.

“I think we are very passionate about giving back to the youth in our community. That’s really what we are all about, helping youth in our community,” said Harvey. “We realize youth is the future and we want to make sure that they can grow and become good leaders and citizens and that they feel a sense of giving back to the community and doing service as they age to adults.”

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