Kiwanis Aktion Clubs Converge on Rochester

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Volunteers from across New York descended on Rochester to share their ideas at the Kiwanis Aktion Club statewide conference this October.  Lifestyles’ own Kiwanians were among the groups represented who talked about leadership, their club activities, and why they give their time.

“Kiwanis Aktion Club members serve their communities,” explained Eric Schwacke.  “We’re here to serve. What can I can say – it’s a family.”

“With all that the Aktion Club members do, it’s a great feeling,” said Dennis Gable, advisor to the Staten Island contingent. “I’m very happy to be a part of it and to be involved with Lifestyles Aktion Club.”

Lifestyles was represented by Eric Schwacke, William Bush, Michael Cilmi and new member Kenneth Tobin, along with staff advisors Paula and Edward Gregory.  

This year, the Lifestyles group collected toys for children, raised money at a 60’s dance to send people to Kamp Kiwanis, and gave clothes and holiday gifts to residents of Project Hospitality. Other Aktion Clubs at the conference included Ontario County, Newark, Waterloo, Brighton, Brockport, and Gates.  The state clubs also conducted bake sales, clothing drives, arts and craft supply collections, car washes, disaster relief packages, and more.

The Gregorys made the most of crossing 300-plus miles of the state. They guided the four young men to some of the highlights of Central New York, taking in Lake Ontario, the Rochester Museum of Science and the Corning Museum of Glass.

The Aktion Clubs are Kiwanis groups of people with disabilities volunteering to support others.  There are more than 500 Aktion Clubs with more than 12,000 members worldwide.

  • Article by Eddy Gregory with Eric Schwacke and Meredith Arout.
  • Photography: Eric Schwacke
  • Video: Michael Cilmi, reporter, Eddy Gregory, producer.

Kamp Kiwanis, an Upstate Summer Oasis

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At Kamp Kiwanis, campers can have fun against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. It is a place where people of all ages and abilities can be at one with nature.

During late August, campers from Lifestyles for the Disabled enjoyed campfires, arts and crafts, salsa dancing, swimming, fishing, games and more at the camp near Rome, New York.  The Kiwanians keep a full program for their guests with special themed days, which this year included a Welcome Luau, Fiesta, Harry Potter Day and Medieval Day.  

“I never fished in my life,” said camper Anthony Pabon. “It was a good experience, but at first I thought, ‘ I really don’t want to do this.’ The sun was beating down on you, and I didn’t think fishing was really my thing.

“It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be off a boat. But we were on land, fishing off a pier.  We used worms for bait. I didn’t catch a fish, but I enjoyed it even though it was hot and sticky.” he added.

The counselors come from all across the world, from England to Jamaica. They were energetic, fun, and they helped with the team aspect of activities.

“I liked their singing,” said camper Joseph Jones.

-This article was written by the Life-Wire News Service staff, with specific contributions by Meredith Arout, Anthony DiFato, Joseph Jones, Anthony Kefalinos, Dolores Palermo, Anthony Pabon, Joseph Padalino, and Samuel Stone with Kathryn Carse and Edward Gregory.

Photos by Meredith Arout, Anthony Pabon, Brian Best, Gregory Perosi, and William Bush for Life-Wire News Service.