Kiwanis Club

One of Kiwanis Club’s programs, K-Kids, is the largest service organization for elementary school students, with more than 1,200 clubs and 36,000 student members worldwide.

Supporting children is the mission of the Valley of the Sun Camelback Kiwanis Club. Whether they are sending children to Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, fundraising for college scholarships, or equipping low-income families with school supplies, the children of our state are at the center of everything they do.

Kiwanis International is a global, international service club initially started by Michigan businessmen in 1915. The organization was known as the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order of Brothers, but members changed the name a year later. “Kiwanis” is an American Indian expression meaning “we trade.”

In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “we build,” and it remained until 2005 when members decided to change it to “serving the children of the world.” At first, the organization focused on business networking until they decided to switch it up to focus on service to children.

Here in Arizona, The Valley of the Sun Camelback branch is one of many in the Valley. This specific one combines The Valley of the Sun Kiwanis and the Camelback Kiwanis clubs. In 2020, this merged two of the oldest and most well-known clubs in Phoenix. 

Every year, Kiwanis puts on the annual Sunstroke Open Golf Tournament. In their 26th annual tournament, they raised over $30,000.

Member Scott Holcomb said that the money raised from this golf tournament is put toward youth charities, school and programs, scholarships, and other endeavors that the club does throughout the year. One of the leading programs is the Memorial Scholarship Fund. 

The club awards up to five scholarships a year to students nearing their high school graduation and who plan to go to a trade school or university. 

“We try to identify good, hardworking students who otherwise might not be able to go to college,” Holcomb said. “A significant portion of the profits from the golf tournament go toward those scholarships.”

While the annual golf tournament has passed, the Valley of the Sun Camelback Kiwanis Club always looks for new members who want to make a difference. 

“We’re focused on helping the community and schools, and we’re always looking for people who need this resource and vehicle to serve the community with,” Holcomb said. “Being in a service club is hugely rewarding. It’s a big part of my life. Being a part of this club and being able to use it as a tool to change the lives of children and to fund their schools is amazing.”