With national membership numbers down, how are Potsdam service clubs doing?

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 5:10 PM EST
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - The Rotary Club, Kiwanis International, Lions Club, the Elks Lodge. Nationwide, these community service groups have seen a drop in membership.

We spoke with members of three groups in Potsdam to see how they’re faring.

Driving into Potsdam, the village sign shows many service groups that are active in the community. One of them is the Rotary Club.

Michael Griffin is the area governor of Rotary District 7040.

“We went down a little bit from before COVID until now and generally over the past ten years or so we’ve seen membership in the Potsdam club has been down as well,” he said.

Henry Walters was once on the board of directors for the Potsdam Kiwanis Club. It disbanded last September because it lost its membership but Walters would happily get it going again.

“I’d be the first in line to help them and I will get all the help I can from the international, from the regional and from the state Kiwanis clubs to come and help me reactive and we can re-establish the Potsdam Kiwanis Club how it used to be and how it should be,” he said.

The groups say declining membership is likely due to not being able to recruit a busier, younger generation.

However, the opposite is happening for the Potsdam Elk Lodge which currently has more than 900 active members.

Around since 1958, the Elks is active with fundraisers to provide educational scholarships.

Elks Lodge 2074 Secretary Jim Hassett believes Potsdam’s membership has a strong connection to the community it helps.

“Whatever it is we’re doing, it attracts attention and it attracts people to say we want to help do this or we want to be part of you,” he said.

Whether it’s the Elks, Rotary, or Kiwanis, service organizations are there to do good in the community. They just need more people to join.