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.
This month, we're speaking with Nabil Abu-ulba, this year's Club President. During his time with the club, he's experienced many memorable moments and has shared us some of those stories today.
How did you first hear about the Kinsmen?
When I started at True-Line Homes 5 years ago, my boss who is a retired Kinsmen member mentioned that I should go to a meeting to see what the Red Deer Kinsmen are all about. One of my co-workers was also a Kinsmen member at the time so he brought me as a guest to a meeting and the rest is history!
Why did you join and how long have you been a member?
I was looking to get more involved in the community and network and meet new people. After my first meeting, I knew I wanted to become a member. I have been a member for 5 years now and have held the role of Heritage and Fellowship, Dream Home Chairperson and am currently the Club President.
Has joining the club changed any aspect of your life?
Yes it has; the satisfaction of giving to people and organizations in need has changed everything for me. Giving back to others, even strangers, makes me more appreciative of all of the good things I have received in my life. I look at it as paying it forward because it is very rewarding and it gives me a more positive outlook on life. I have met a lot of great people while being involved with the club, made some new friends, expanded my network and have boosted my social skills.
Some of my most memorable experiences in life have come from being a Kinsmen member. The help and support we have contributed to people and organizations outweighs anything monetary I have received.
Tell us about one of your favourite moments during your time with the Kinsmen.
Last year, I was put in charge of chairing our annual Dream home campaign. Although it was a lot of work and very stressful at times, it felt extremely good to know that I helped raise money that then went to various charities and organizations in the community. One of my favourite moments was surprising the winners of last year’s Dream Home and 50/50 draw with the exciting news that they won!
After we drew the 2014 50/50 winner on New Years Eve, we called her and she was in complete shock; she didn't believe me when I told her she won. She handed the phone to her friend who then kept asking me if this was a joke. I told her to check the website and our Facebook and Twitter pages where she could see her name online as the winner. They put the phone down and checked and once they saw her name I heard a lot of cheering and screaming! They knew it was real!
After we drew the winner of the 2014 Dream Home on New Years Eve, we drove to his house and tried to surprise him with the good news, only to find out that he wasn't home. When we called him, he told us that he was girlfriends's house. I proceeded to tell him the amazing news and he was in disbelief. We invited him over to the Dream Home so he could let the news sink in while he was standing in his new home. He was still shaking from the good news when he arrived.
The Red Deer Kinsmen Club is made up of men from all walks of life, but how important do you think it is for younger guys to join the club? How could they benefit from becoming a member?
I think it is important for younger guys to join the club. Many years ago, the Kinsmen Club of Red Deer had over 50 active members, but now we're down to nearly half of that in 2015. The reason being is the older members are retiring and we don’t have enough younger guys joining the club to keep the numbers up. This year we had 6 new members join the club which is fantastic. We are always looking for new members, especially the younger generation, so we still have a club 20 years from now.
What would you say to someone who is unsure as to whether or not the Kinsmen Club is right for them?
The most common reason people don’t join the Kinsmen is they don’t have enough time. I always ask people whether or not they have enough time to go out for wings and a beverage with your friends once or twice a month. In most cases they say yes and I usually say “well then you have enough time!” We meet twice a month for 2 and a half hours in the evening so it’s not a huge time commitment. Our biggest commitment falls between October and December when all of our members must volunteer 10 hours of their time to sell tickets for our Dream Home Lottery. For the people who truly don’t have a lot of time to commit to the Kinsmen Club, they can apply to be an associate member. This means they don’t have to attend all of our meetings. They can help us out when they have the time and they get to be proud knowing that they're making a difference in the community.
What's one thing that you think more people should know about the Kinsmen?
We are a group of guys from all walks of life who have one common goal: to help the community and pay it forward however we can. The drive to better our community is what makes us a strong club.
Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
We are not only a service club but a group of guys who have become good friends and are always looking to meet new people. We all have the same drive to raise money and volunteer in the community. I’m very proud to be part of this organization and I’m excited to see what the future brings for our club!
To join our club and become a member, check out our Membership and fill out the appropriate sections. Also, make sure you're following us on Facebook and Twitter. We're just over 1 month away from the Dream Home Lottery; if you haven't bought your ticket, get yours today!