If you’re interested in learning more about North Royalton’s many service clubs, the activities they do and becoming a member, than you’re in luck.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 2 in Cafeteria 1 at North Royalton High School, representatives from various North Royalton service clubs will conduct an open house style event with meet-and-greet tables, refreshments, door prizes and the opportunity to discover more about each organization and how members embrace civic service. Clubs scheduled to be present include the Chamber of Commerce, Royalton Hills Lions Club, the Lions Club, the North Royalton Garden Club, the North Royalton Community Garden, Historical Society, Kiwanis, the North Royalton Community Band, the Rotary Club of North Royalton/Broadview Heights, the North Royalton Alumni Association, Holiday Lighting Committee and North Royalton Band, and CERT, to name a few.
The March 2 event is the product of an online survey conducted in 2018 and spearheaded by City Council President Larry Antoskiewicz and Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw. The online survey gauged respondents’ understanding, knowledge and interest in local service organizations.
“We learned from the survey that many residents just don’t know about the clubs we have in the community,” Langshaw said. “There was a good amount of all ages represented from teenagers to older adults who commented that they were interested in joining but didn’t know a lot about how. We learned residents want to be better educated and in the comments portion of the survey, many respondents wrote that we should hold a fair or an open house so they could learn more.”
Participation in local service clubs boasts many benefits, from making new friends to giving back to the community to meeting and working side-by-side with municipal government officials, who meet quarterly with the local service clubs. Membership and attracting a new wave of volunteers is vital, said Mayor Robert Stefanik.
“These clubs have all done such great work and I know lifestyles change and with this kind of world we live in now these service clubs can get lost in the shuffle. We’re really looking to re-energize them,” Stefanik said.
Pam Wetterau of the North Royalton Garden Club is in her fifth year as club president. While she acknowledges her incumbency with pride, Wetterau also points out that it may be a sign of not enough people taking interest in the club.
“It’s hard to appeal to younger people because they have so many ongoing concerns themselves; work commitments, family commitments with children and they are really squeezed for time, but if they are interested in volunteerism, we have to be attractive to them,” she said. “We need to know what their needs are and what they are looking for in a service organization. There is always a huge need in the community for service club members. We’re desperate for it; that opportunity to tell people. It’s just a matter of how do you get the message out.”
Geneva Prince, president of the Rotary Club of North Royalton/Broadview Heights and Sunshine Chairperson for the District, said the majority of local members are older than 50.
“Our goal is to get the younger generation involved in service clubs,” Prince said. “I know you’re busy, but we’re all busy, and everyone needs to give back to the community. Our door is always open to anyone. Come to a meeting and we’ll buy your breakfast. See what it’s all about, see how much we do and see what fun we have.”
“Although we have some 200 member businesses in the Chamber of Commerce, many more would join if they were aware of the many benefits available to them which can save their business a lot of money,” said Executive Director, Maria Magnelli. “Members enjoy the tangible benefits plus the priceless benefits of networking and making lasting friendships. Your Chamber membership also helps us give back to the community.”
In 2018, the Chamber of Commerce hosted the North Royalton Bicentennial Ball and pledged that any net proceeds would be donated to a worthy cause in our city. The cause chosen was the Royal Redeemer Food Pantry Partnership with Kiwanis and the City of North Royalton. The donation helped to assist 120 families with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, as well as provide extra non-perishable and care items.
Councilman Langshaw, a father in his 30s, is a member of the North Royalton Historical Society and the Kiwanis.
“I may join more clubs, and even I wasn’t aware of the many, many things our service clubs do, and I’m pretty active,” he joked. “Service clubs are really the heart of the community, doing everything from Easter egg hunts for our children to holiday lighting on our City Green to the Harvest Fest in the fall to local scholarships for our graduating seniors, and we want to do everything we can to help support them. It’s good for the next generation to be involved. People don’t realize there are many different levels of involvement and that it’s not just about attending a bunch of meetings. There are many fun activities that you and your family can volunteer in. You’re giving back to the community and making a difference.”
The community is encouraged to come to the Service Club Open House on March 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food and refreshments will be provided and there will be numerous raffle prizes. This is a great way to get to know these clubs, the lifeblood of our community, and the services they provide. Members from each club will be available to answer any questions you may have.
Contributing Writer