Our History

Where we began…

In 1920, a year before the Helena Kiwanis Club was chartered, Charles H, Lincoln, a representative of Kiwanis International, visited Helena in a futile attempt to organize a club. The four who met with him were: Lester H, Loble, an attorney; Ernest L, Nelson, manager of a lumber company; Carl Bovard, an insurance man; and Dr, John Sutphen, a dentist. Advised that it took 35 members to start a club we in Helena gathered that many, after much effort, for a meeting in the Blue Room of the Placer Hotel. No one seemed to know what it was all about, including Mr. Lincoln. The meeting broke up without action.

The next year, 1921, in the spring, an organizer, Mr. George J. Atkinson, came to town and looked the four of us up – Nelson, Bovard, Sutphen, and Loble. Economic conditions were worse in 1921, over 100 bank failures in Montana. But, it did not deter us, and after a luncheon we advised him that given some time we would round up 35 members, the necessary number. We learned a little more about Kiwanis, but the thing that appealed to us was that it was an organization whose members quit work on the slightest provacation. We attended all fires, ambulance calls, and kindred events, always enthusiastically telling others that we were the Kiwanis Club.

By the fall of 1921 we had aroused enough in­terest in this mysterious club called Kiwanis that we enlisted the 35 members to start the club. The Charter Night celebration was at the Montana Club, September 19, 1921. Governor Joseph M. Dixon was the speaker of the evening. George Snell from Billings, governor of the Montana District and later, an International trustee, was the in­spiring installing officer. Dr. Charles J. Bresee, president of the Great Falls Club and a man of tremendous enthusiasm, came with the entire Great Falls Club. The evening was truly a gala event.

The six permanent Objects of Kiwanis International were approved by Kiwanis club delegates at the 1924 Convention in Denver, Colorado. Through the succeeding decades, they have remained unchanged. 

To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.

To encourage the daily living of the Goldern Rule in all human relationships.

To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards.

To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.

To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.

To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.