Reflections of Ponoka: Ponoka Kinette Club … serving our community for 66 years

For more than a half a century, thousands of energetic young ladies who joined Kinette Clubs across Canada have been proudly working

Shown here are members of the 1969 Ponoka Kinette Club

Shown here are members of the 1969 Ponoka Kinette Club

For more than a half a century, thousands of energetic young ladies who joined Kinette Clubs across Canada have been proudly working, volunteering and fundraising together to fulfil the exciting ongoing mandate of Kin-Canada to serve their communities’ greatest needs. As part of the national organization, the Kinettes have worked hand-in-hand with the local Kinsmen and K-40 Clubs to complete countless amazing projects that have provided a proud legacy and benefited generations of citizens of all ages in cities, towns and municipalities across our nation, and there is no doubt that their keen spirit and efforts will carry on long into the future.

The Ponoka Kinette Club was formed on November 8, 1948 with 25 charter members attending the first meeting led by Lil Clark as the initial president. The first major project undertaken by the club was with the Female Ward at the Ponoka Mental Hospital, where the main objective was to integrate the patients into the normal stream of life by entertaining them at the homes of members or during regular meetings. This wonderful and much appreciated project was later extended to the male wards, with the members providing treats and entertainment once a month in the form of card parties, pot luck suppers, Christmas parties, bingos and on and on. In 1962, the Kinettes extended their dedicated efforts to the apparel shop at the hospital, where items were donated and the ladies helped the patients to select various items of clothes, a kindly project that carried on for 23 years.

In the spring of 1950, the club took charge of the community Cancer Drive and Tag Day, canvassing the Town of Ponoka in an annual Blitz Night that resulted in 21 years of continuous service and vital fundraising for the Canadian Cancer Society. The same year, they also canvassed Ponoka and districts for the Manitoba flood relief as well as the CNIB. Among the first major projects for the Ponoka Kinette Club was the completion and payment for the very popular first Tiny Tots Paddling Pool next to the Kinsmen Community Swimming Pool, as well as being extremely busy raising money to equip the kitchen cupboards and purchase drapes in the new Kinsmen Community Recreation Centre. Folks in and around Ponoka were very supportive and excited about ongoing Kinette fundraising family events such as rummage and soap sales, a fashion show, sewing contests and others that encouraged them to make kindly donations to the library, minor baseball, Guides and Brownies and the Hospital Auxiliary as well as purchasing items for the children’s ward at the Ponoka General Hospital, and providing hundreds of books and magazines for the hospital, Old Folk’s Home, and Nursing Home.

Milestones over the years

As well as assisting the Kinsmen with many of their very successful year-round local projects over the years, the Ponoka Kinettes have completed many community milestones of their own, of which they can be very proud. That long tradition of giving carries on to this day from an energetic group of busy, professional women who also strive to balance careers, families, school and other commitments. On occasional evening events, these illustrious ladies quite often outlasted their partners, but everyone always have lots of fun making it all happen.

*In 1956, the Kinette Club co-sponsored a performance of the University Choir in Ponoka, co-sponsored the gala Centennial Ball in 1967, and hosted fall fashion shows in 1969, 1970 and 1971. Some of the club presidents over those early years included Jean Thomson, Mary Jones, Marg Elliot, Doris McKelvey, Ilona Carter, Ruth MacLeod, Midge Culham, Doreen Ross, Gwen Heartwell, Audrey McLean, Barbara Bowden, Doreen Twa, Rosemary Johnston, Dorothy Berg, Helen Nielson, Connie Nelson, Marg Mickey, Georgia Cuell, Irene Thomas, Ruby Meyer, Joan Noble, Sylvia Corkery and this list goes on.

● In 1975-76, the proceeds of the first annual and very popular Kinette Skate-a-thon were donated to the new Kinsmen Community Swimming Pool, which also received an additional $45,000 from the ladies later in the year.

● In 1979, the club petitioned the Ponoka Town Council for the go-ahead to build a new Scout Hall in the Riverside district. Proceeds from their casino and stag nights were earmarked for the Ponoka Museum Society as well as the proposed Scout Hall. Other projects on the burner in 1979 was a feasibility study for the construction of three new ball diamonds in the community, as well as the possibility of a tennis court. In 1983, the Kinette Clubs became full partners of the Canadian Association of Kin-Canada, which, in 1991, became officially known as the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs of Canada.

● One of the most ambitious recent projects of the Ponoka Kinette and Kinsmen Clubs from 2000 and on has been the extensive and ongoing renovations and additions to the busy Aquaplex Swimming Pool.

The Ponoka Kinettes today

Our present very active Ponoka Kinette Club meets every second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Ponoka Kinsmen Recreation Centre. They can be contacted at P.O. Box 4032, Ponoka, Alberta T4J-1R5 or email: ponokakinetteclub@hotmail.com or call co-presidents Kim Flaman (403-704-1456) or Christina York (403-783-3894).

Their most recent community donations have benefited the school lunch program, Centennial Centre Christmas, the youth centre, the volunteer fire department, Ponoka Food Bank, Royal Canadian Legion, Santa’s Anonymous, Ponoka Community Christmas and the annual sponsorship of a graduation bursary at the Ponoka Composite High School. Ongoing projects include the Ponoka Splash Park, the new Firefighters Riverside playground, the garden makeover at the Ponoka General Hospital and Care Centre, fall cleaning at Ponoka Food Bank, a birthday celebration at Long Term Care and they always look forward to taking part (and singing)  in the annual Kinsmen Carol Festival in December. Of course, there will always be plans for more exciting community projects going into the future, and we congratulate the Ponoka Kinettes for close to 70 years of faithful and dedicated service and contributions to our town and districts.