Just a few short years ago, the Stevensville Civic Club was close to folding. There were only about 10 members and no one was showing up for meetings. In fact, there weren’t very many meetings being scheduled, due to lack of participation.
But now things appear to have changed. Younger members have been stepping up to carry on with the work of this venerable club. Liz Cook is the president this year, with Sean Doyle serving as vice president. Cook and Doyle took a good look at the past practices of the club and decided to change it up a bit. Since it was obvious that the citizens of today don’t care to attend boring monthly meetings, they decided that meeting quarterly was the way to go. They’re also making the meetings more fun by calling them “socials” and providing food and drinks. They also don’t focus on business but instead give an update on the club’s activities and tell people where they are most needed for volunteer opportunities. People can socialize and network with each other in a low-key, low-pressure environment.
The first social was held in March at Maddimo Makery on Main Street. About 20 people attended. The next one is planned for this Wednesday, July 7th at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall on Middle Burnt Fork Road. Moving the meetings around to various locations in the community is another way to make the gatherings more interesting, said Cook.
“You know, we have over 65 paid members this year,” said Cook. “I think the renewed interest is because we’re doing things. We have a major project and we’re getting things done.”
Having a major project that people can get behind is what makes a club meaningful, according to Joan Prather, who stepped up to serve as Civic Club president when the club was in danger of folding. Prather kept the club alive during the last two years that included the shutdown during Covid-19. Prather, the long-time former director of the Stevensville Main Street Association, has always maintained that without projects to keep members’ interest and involvement, the Civic Club would not draw new members or volunteers. Prather is currently chair of the club’s Splash Pad project, which is proving her assertion to be true.
The Stevensville Splash Pad is scheduled to be built at Lewis & Clark Park this summer. The Splash Pad will contain a variety of water features that kids of all ages can play in and enjoy at no cost. The Splash Pad will complement Bear Mountain Playground, another major park improvement that was funded and built by the community.
“We’ve been partnering with Project 59870 to raise money for this amazing project and it has been really popular,” said Cook.
The total project costs are projected to be about $145,000, said Cook. Over $100,000 has already been raised. The club held a pie auction during Western Heritage Days which brought in over $15,000. “That shows you,” said Cook, “just how popular this project is. We’re doing something really special for the kids that will still be around for our grandkids too.”
The Civic Club is also the organization that brings you the Creamery Picnic. This year is the 108th Picnic, which has only been cancelled twice, once for World War I, and for last year’s pandemic. This huge, two-day festival takes dozens of volunteers to put it on. Cook invites anyone interested to attend Wednesday’s social to learn more. If you can’t make it, you can contact Cook at 880-2007.
Stevensville Civic Club is on a roll.