Atlantic Tides – Botwood Kinsmen Club 1974 – 2019

Posted By on September 10, 2019

This year the Kinsmen Club is celebrating forty-five years of service work in Botwood and
surrounding communities. During this time the club has contributed over $3,000,000.00 to the
local, provincial and national economies.

In 1973, Phillip (Den) Billard, who had been a Kinsmen in Labrador, was living and working in
Botwood. He had enjoyed being a Kinsmen and decided to see if there was any interest in his
new hometown to start a club. Through his efforts he was able to convince a number of young
men to get involved and form a club. On January 22, 1974 the Botwood Kinsmen Club was
formed with a membership of 39 with Den serving as the first president.

In 1975, the Club entered into a rental agreement with the paper workers union Local 161 to
rent the union hall in Botwood for $ 1,000.00 per year. After setting up and furnishing a club
house the members started fulfilling the associations’ motto “serving the communities
greatest needs”. Projects were undertaken to raise money and make donations to various
groups and individuals in need. One of the first projects – the annual seniors’ party – started on
March 14, 1975. This event continues today as the Annual Seniors’ Christmas Party where the
Kinsmen provide a dinner and dance for 200 seniors. Also, this year marks the 40 th anniversary
of the annual joint meeting between the Botwood Kinsmen and the Botwood Lion Club.

During the 1980’s, the club completed a number of major undertakings. Construction of a St.
John Ambulance Garage, the first beeper system for the Botwood Fire Department, school bus
shelters and a P A System for the stadium – this was a joint project with the Botwood Lion Club
and the Royal Canadian Legion. In 1985, the Club decided to hold a Spring Zone Conference in
Springdale with the hope of sparking interest in that community to start a club. The efforts
paid off and the Kinsmen Club of Green Bay was formed in 1987.

In 1987, the Kin Family lost one of their own – Kin Ross Paul – following his death the Kinsmen,
along with the Paul Family, planned a softball tournament in his memory, to promote
fellowship in sport and to raise money for a scholarship for both Botwood Collegiate and for
Point Leamington Academy in Ross Paul’s hometown of Point Leamington. This turned into an
annual event and the fund is now self sustaining and provides an annual $ 500.00 scholarship
to a student from each high school.

During the 1990’s, the Club paid off the mortgage on the library in town and in appreciation it
was renamed the Botwood Kinsmen Public Library. The Club made major donations to the
Senior Citizens Club, Botwood Firemen, schools, Boys and Girls Club and many other groups
and individuals with medical needs.

In the late 1990’s like many service clubs, our membership declined, as well as, our major
fundraiser -Bingo. The number of members was down to just 15 and, for the first time, a Past
President was elected President for the second time. Raising the funds necessary to meet our
commitments was becoming a challenge. The Club can thank Kin John Loder for his research,
persuasion and, hard work to convince other Kinsmen and Rogers Cable to allow us to start a
TV Bingo.

This new format allowed the Club to raise even more money to make donations in Botwood
and surrounding areas. In the last 15 years the Club has made the following major donations:
Central Health Cancer Clinic $25,000.00
Botwood Firemen $28,000.00
Peterview Firemen $7,000.00
Boys and Girls Club $10,000.00
Botwood Playgrounds $25,000.00
Northern Arm Firemen $ 5,000.00
Search and Rescue $6,200.00
We have also donated tens of thousands of dollars to individuals with medical needs in
Botwood and surrounding communities. Also, the current 50+ Club building was given to them
by the Botwood Kinsmen.

In addition, every year, the Club donates $1.000.00 to each of MS, CF, Children’s Trust and
Ronald McDonald House. The following groups receive $750.00 – Boys and Girls Club, Sea
Cadets, Minor Hockey, Figure Skating, Botwood Kinsmen Public Library, Goodwill Centre,
Christmas Hampers and the Janeway Children’s Hospital – $700.00 scholarship (2 nd place
Grade 12) and $300.00 to the Point Leamington Library.

As stated earlier, the Botwood Kinsmen rented the building from Local 161 on the waterfront
for $1,000.00 per year. In 2002 the furnace needed to be replaced. The union and Kinsmen
agreed that the Kinsmen would pay for the replacement in exchange for an annual rental of
$1.00. This arrangement continued until 2014 when the Grand Falls-Windsor paper mill closed.
The membership of Local 161 continued their generosity to the people of Botwood and sold
the building to the Kinsmen Club for $1.00. Since then the Kinsmen have spent approximately
$150,000.00 on upgrades and improvements to the club house and it is now equipped as an
emergency center for the town. The Kin Center as it is called, is an asset to the Town of
Botwood and is actually held in trust by the Club for the community.

The Club has been involved on the Zone, District and National executives. Kin Den Billard
served as National Director for National P Len Simms. Kin Dennis Noseworthy was Governor
for District 7 (Atlantic Canada), and there have been 6 Deputy Governors – Roy Menchenton,
Ron Chafe, Dennis Noseworthy, Carson King, Wayne Ruttgaizer – and our current Deputy
Governor Harry Parsons. The Club is currently hosting Spring Zone for the Kin Year 2019-2020.

One of the main goals of the Kinsmen Association is fellowship and service, and the Club is
extremely good at achieving both goals. Fellowship is achieved in three ways. The first one is
through club socials with Kinsmen and their partners which involve a number of events –
dinner and dance nights, dinner and card games, and our annual steak and lobster night – the
last event of the Kin year. The second one is with family functions such as, bowling, swimming,
Christmas parties, etc. which involve parents, children and grandchildren. The third is through
service projects: bingo, Botwood Day, caterings, Winter Carnival, special events, and of course
executive and regular and dinner meetings.

Service work should be the main reason for anyone to join Kinsmen. People contribute to their
community as time and or desire dictate to each one. No one joins a service club to win
awards – they join to help people in their communities. However, it is also true that some go
above and beyond, and to thank them for their efforts the association has a Life Membership
Award. Over the years, the Club has presented life membership to a number of its members in
the Botwood Club. Dennis (Den) Billard, Ken Stuckless, Dave Peyton, Graham Hayter, Dennis
Noseworthy, Wilson Bridger and Augustus (Gus) Collins. There will surely be more
presentations to come in the future.

The Botwood Kinsmen Club is one of the top clubs in Canada and has done much to improve
the lives of many people in Botwood and surrounding communities since it was formed 45
years ago. Some members have been in the Club from day one and others have joined recently
– all working together to “support the communities greatest need”.