Selma Kiwanis Club will ‘cease to exist’ due to membership

Published 8:39 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Due to low membership and lost interest, the Selma chapter of Kiwanis International, a club dedicated to community service, will cease to exist.

Rufus Ford, president of the Selma chapter, said membership had been decreasing for several years because of the poor economy.

“All the clubs in Selma are experiencing a diminishing membership,” Ford said. The Kiwanis Club, we experienced it real hard because our club is mostly made up of local business leaders throughout the community.”

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Buddy Swift, owner of Swift Drug Co., joined the club in 1972 when there were more than 80 active members.

“We used to be a real active club,” Swift said. “I guess over the years our membership has aged though and we didn’t attract a lot of new members.”

At it’s largest, the club boasted more than 120 members, Swift said. However, only seven or eight members attended regular meetings as of recent.

Swift added he believes civic clubs have experienced lower membership on a national scale, and he doesn’t think this is a problem solely in Selma.

“I just don’t see a lot of interest in young members and young people wanting to be a part of a civic club,” he said.

One of the groups largest fundraisers, which they raised money for every year, was the Battle of Selma. Cahaba Mental Health, Reading is Fundamental and the YMCA are other organizations the club donated to as well, Swift said.

At their last meeting, Ford said the club gave all of its remaining money back to the community.

“We did a lot of community work in Selma,” Ford said. “There’s a group of people working now and trying to bring a more up to date appeal for the club.”

Ford said although the Kiwanis Club is leaving Selma, he expects it to be back and drawing in new members by the first of the year.

“I don’t ever really see the Kiwanis club leaving Selma or leaving our community,” Ford said. “I just see it changing its form of how it used to do things.”

Swift agreed, saying that some of his fondest memories were spent giving his time to the club.

“This club was a big part of my life and I’m absolutely sorry to see it go and not continue on,” Swift said. “I sure hope that it comes back.”