Over the years, the Kinsmen have gained a reputation for providing assistance to Red Deer and the surrounding community as well as being a great opportunity for men to socialize and make lifelong friendships.
But who make up the Kinsmen? What are they like on a personal level? To answer these questions, we've created a new series called Member of the Month. Each month, we'll speak with one of the Kin to learn more about them and to highlight their accomplishments in relation to the Kinsmen's efforts.
To start things off, we've spoken to Leonard Sisco. As a longtime member of the Kinsmen and this year's Dream Home Chair, we wanted to ask him a few questions including how he became a member and his favourite parts about the club.
When did you first hear about the Kinsmen?
I heard about the club through my boss who is a retired Kinsmen. He was always getting involved with different projects in the community and encouraged everyone at work to join the club. I did some more research and contacted the club to see how I could become a member. Although there was a communication error on their end when I reached out to them, I spoke with my boss and explained to him what happened.
After that, I showed up to one of their meetings and introduced myself. The rest was history.
Why did join and how long have you been a member?
I’ve been a member for 9 and a half years. During my time with the Kinsmen, I've held a number of positions including Register, Membership Director, Club President, Vice President, District Deputy Governor, and Risk Manager.
(Leonard, left, is dressed to the nines at Grow Boys 2015)
Tell us a memorable moment during your time with the Kinsmen.
Several years ago, our Service Director was approached by a young family who needed our help. After speaking with her, we discovered that her oldest daughter had Cystic Fibrosis, a disorder that affects 4,000 Canadians each year. In order for her to receive treatment, she needed someone to pat her on the back from time to time in order to break down the buildup of mucus in her lungs. This was tough because the mom of the family was going through a divorce and had to work two jobs in order to provide for her children.
The mother was looking for a special vest that would do the compressions for her daughter. These vests can cost around $10,000 and between everything going on in her life, affording this pricey piece of equipment would be difficult. Thanks to the Kinsmen’s contribution, this little girl was able to receive the vest she desperately needed.
As much as I enjoy our annual events like the Dream Home Lottery, giving money to community projects is my favourite part about Kin Canada. Stories like these are the reason why I’ve been a member for so long. They’ve taught me that we can all work together and change lives.
Some people are aware of what the Kinsmen have done in the community, but what are some things that you guys do besides good works projects?
One of my favourite parts about this organization is how welcoming our fellow Kin Clubs are. I’ve been able to meet people from coast to coast thanks to the connections I’ve made through the club. It’s gotten to the point where I can proudly say I know at least a couple of Kin in many of the towns and cities across the country. When I go on vacation, I know that there’s a family across Canada that’ll help me out or introduce me to the Kin in their own club. In fact, a lot of our vacations have been Kin related.
Because our socializing events are generally decided by the members, our activities vary throughout the year. What’s great about these events is that we get to show people what the Kinsmen are all about while having fun.
What's one thing that many people don't know about the Kinsmen?
We're not satisfied with sitting down in front of the TV every day for the rest of our lives.
We want to get the most out of life any way we can, whether that means meeting new people or trying new things. Even though we all have our fair share of commitments, those who know how to schedule their days and develop positive habits are the ones that become successful. We’ve all got 24 hours, but I feel that many people are stuck in a constant cycle of being busy. While some of them get a lot done, they without getting the things that they want to accomplish.
I always look to our mayor Tara Veer, who is a close personal friend. Although she’s got got more responsibilities than the average person, she’s always got a smile on her face and wants to see people be the best version of themselves. If you want to work alongside a diverse team of men or women, Kin Clubs offer all kinds of opportunities to better themselves.
What would you tell something who is on the fence about joining the Kinsmen?
I’m a car salesmen, so people are always asking me about which vehicle is best for them. Over the years, I’ve learned that the the best ways to find out is to ask someone who currently owns the car you’re considering buying. Almost every owner will tell you what they think and they’ve got nothing to hide.
I like to use the same analogy when talking with potential Kin members. Whenever you see us in Red Deer or see any of our online activities, feel free to reach out and ask any questions that are on your mind. I’m confident that the fellow members have nothing but fantastic things to say about the Kinsmen.
We’ve got plenty of ways for members to get involved with the club. If you're looking to develop your leadership skills or you just want to make friends, Kin Clubs give you the platform to learn, develop, and implement your skills for the greater good. Amazing things are possible if you’re willing to put in the work required.
If you told me that I would become the President of my own club, I would've laughed at you. But because of the people I’ve met and the skills I've learned, it became possible.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
While there are many Kin Clubs throughout Canada, I could not be more proud of the members in our chapter. They are all unique and bring a diverse set of skills to our club. Even though they have prior commitments, they always find the time to meet up and work together to make the community a better place for everyone. I’m honoured to be associated with these men and they truly are heroes in my mind.
Stay tuned for next month's instalment where we will feature another member! In the meantime, make sure you stay up to date with everything going on with the Kinsmen by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Also, head over to our website and pick up a ticket for the Dream Home Lottery today!