Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 26, 2004
Fraternity at its best
Camrose council makes fun out of work
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
All work and no play was not exactly how Camrose council won the province-wide Knights of Columbus award for the fraternal council of the year in 2003.
While there was tremendous effort on the part of the executive and dozens of knights who took an active role in the council, Raymond Cyre says work was not everything.
"We had a lot of fun," said Cyre, grand knight of the Camrose council. "We hosted the state curling bonspiel last March as well as the state golf tournament last June."
The council actually started promoting the curling event two years prior. Members attended other state council events with a banner ensuring people knew about the sporting events well in advance. Being in attendance at all the state functions, whether they were sporting events or state conventions, the Camrose council made itself visible.
"Ultimately, other councils told us the curling and golfing events were some of the best they have been to," Cyre said.
Mix of young and old
A large council with 180 members, many of whom are seniors, the Camrose council is also experiencing a nice mix of youth emerging as leaders in the community. Cyre believes the younger crowd helps the council to grow and become stronger.
"We really promote the factor of family," he said. "With family functions such as a monthly pancake breakfast, we present social events throughout the year involving youth and Church. It is a way to involve the entire family. Our council also hosts a basketball free-throw competition that is very popular with the youth."
There are two Catholic schools in Camrose (elementary and junior/senior high) and for the last two years, the council has hosted a Shrove Tuesday pancake breakfast in each of the schools. About 15 members come out to each school, along with parents and teachers.
The Knights are currently involved with essay contests in the schools and they are helping to fund playground equipment for the elementary school. The council has agreed to provide 100 man-hours to build the equipment.
The junior high school, which will expand to include Grades 10-12 over the next three years, has considered building a chapel and the Knights will help not only with dollars donated, but with man-hours for construction if needed.
Knights have also volunteered to teach the junior high students how to curl.
"Seeing the Knights of Columbus in the schools increases our membership because kids have gone home and asked 'Dad, why aren't you a knight?' It really helps."
The Camrose council is always looking to promote the Knights and the intrinsic rewards available to a person when he partakes in serving his community in such a magnitude.
"The last four years, we have had more exposure in the community via the newspapers with pictures of what we are doing so the community knows who we are. I think that's where we get more of the fraternalism," Cyre said.
"That's what got me involved with the Knights five years ago, seeing their involvement in the Church but also in the community. I was looking for something I could do as far as volunteering for charity, which is the Knights' first basic principle.
"It has been tremendous for our families, membership and the unity within our council. The Knights are well recognized in our community now. It has been very meaningful for me. It has helped me grow in my faith. It has been overwhelming," Cyre said.
Deputy grand knight Barry Stotts has been with the Knights for 26 years. He will become grand knight in June.
Every year, Stotts experiences something that keeps him dedicated to Columbianism.
"The Knights are a great way to meet Catholic men and work with them for the Church and the community," Stotts said. "The fellowship and the feeling of service are two things that keep me going. There is always an opportunity to do more and to look at other projects.
"I think what we do is ministry and we have a lot of members in our community who do a lot of work. We are pretty lucky to have an organization like this."
Habitat for Humanity
One project anticipated this year in Camrose is helping Habitat for Humanity build a house. Council financial secretary Keith Elliot does not profess to be a proficient carpenter but he will still help out.
"I'm coming up to 25 years as a member. I joined to be with other guys like myself who felt the need to express their faith in different things," Elliot said.
A former grand knight of several councils, including Camrose, Elliot thought it important to be with men who shared the same moral values and principles as his own.
"When you are a young man, there are things you could be doing that aren't the best things to be doing. The things you do with the Knights of Columbus benefit you personally but also the council and the community. I think that's really great. It makes you feel really good to go out and do work for others. You walk away smiling at the end," he said.
"I'm the type of person who feels you should put back what you take out and the Knights of Columbus gives you an excellent opportunity to do so."