Coun. Ben Geselbracht, acting mayor, left, joins Kinsmen Nanaimo’s Dale Johns and Kin Canada president Erin Thomson at a flag-raising ceremony Monday at Nanaimo City Hall. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Hundreds of Kin club members meeting in Nanaimo this week

Service club holding national convention Aug. 21-24

Hundreds of people united by a desire to give back to their communities are gathering in Nanaimo this week.

Kin Canada’s 99th annual national convention is being held in Nanaimo this week, Aug. 21-24, and more than 300 Kinsmen, Kinettes and Kin from across Canada are expected.

On Monday, the Kin Canada flag was raised outside Nanaimo City Hall in honour of Kinsmen and Kinettes Week in the City of Nanaimo. Coun. Ben Geselbracht, acting mayor, read out the proclamation on behalf of the Office of the Mayor.

“Kin Canada clubs are made up of dedicated volunteer members who raise money and give their time to serve the community’s greatest need,” noted a press release from Kin Canada. “It is not uncommon to see the Kin Canada logo on parks, playgrounds, pools, and in parades; a reflection of the vast impact this dedicated group of people has made on Canadian communities.”

The convention will begin with a flag-raising opening ceremony at the Bastion, and on Thursday, Kin club members will be out and about in support of local projects and will be at the Kinsmen ParticiPark, Literacy Central Vancouver Island, the Nanaimo Child Development Centre and elsewhere.

There will be a beach cleanup at Departure Bay’s Kin Hut and other members will visit seniors at Eden Gardens, volunteer at Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, build playhouses for Habitat for Humanity Mid Vancouver Island and prepare and serve a meal at the 7-10 Club. Members will also donate blood at a Canadian Blood Services clinic.

Organizing the large convention has been a collective effort that has been led by residents Cathy and Dale Johns, Nanaimo Kinsmen and Kinettes, and others.

“The Nanaimo clubs have stepped up as well as the other Island clubs. This national convention host bid was entered into as an ‘all-Island’ project and we’ve really seen everyone come together to put on a great event. It is our honour to welcome our fellow Kin to our beautiful Island and help celebrate Kin Canada’s 99th year,” said Cathy Johns, in the release.

She said efforts have been made by the Nanaimo Kinsmen and Kinettes, Port Alberni Kinsmen and Kinettes, Comox Kin, Campbell River Kinsmen, Ladysmith Kinsmen, Duncan Kinsmen and Kinettes, Lake Cowichan Kinsmen and Kinettes, Victoria Kinsmen, and the Juan de Fuca (Victoria) Kinettes.

Erin Thomson, national president, Kin Canada, told the News Bulletin that the club’s next strategic plan will be revealed at the convention, and there will be opportunity to celebrate “all the amazing things” Kin clubs from across the country have done over the past year.

“We have times where we share ideas, times that we share successes,” she said. “When we talk about possibilities that could be happening, someone is going to be telling you an idea and that sparks another idea. The whole point is to have those generative kind of conversations that allow us to realize our visions.”

Dale Johns said Kin members from across the country recognize that most of the projects can be done anywhere.

“They see something that interest them, they go back and they start doing it, so it spreads the service work throughout Canada and it builds on that,” he said.

Cathy Johns said she hopes people see Kinsmen and Kinettes out and about this week volunteering and ask questions, as Kin Canada is always looking for new members to become involved. As the club builds toward 100 years, Thomson said new members will be needed to start thinking about the next 100.

“We are truly setting ourself up to not just meet our centennial, but envision our way well past it,” she said.

For more information or to inquire about getting involved with Kin Canada, visit

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