What is Kinsmen? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 July 2010 22:51

Kin Canada




Kin Canada, founded in 1920, is an all-Canadian service organization made up of active community volunteers.

Working together, Kinsmen and Kinettes are enhancing the quality of life in their communities by promoting service, fellowship, positive values and national pride.

Kin clubs support cystic fibrosis (CF) research and fund local projects across the country.

Celebrating the vision

Fun, leadership, personal development, pride in one’s community, importance of family, service work… caring about the world in which we live. These could be words taken from sociologists describing the shift in attitudes of the "me" generation to a more socially conscious society of the new millennium. These words, though, are the cornerstones, the aims and objectives of Kin Canada (Kinsmen & Kinettes clubs), phrases developed in 1920 and becoming relevant again 85 years later as the Association celebrates its 85th anniversary.

The combination of fun, service work and personal development has created a winning formula that has attracted thousands of young men and women who, today, comprise Kin clubs coast to coast.

Similar to many other successful organizations, one person’s dream and vision of the future are the driving force behind its success.

Harold Allin Rogers was that person. Born in London Ont., on Jan. 3, 1899, Rogers finished public school and went to work as a junior clerk with the Home Bank of Thorndale, Ont. He moved to Hamilton when his father took over the management of a wholesale plumbing and heating supply business. Soon, Hal Rogers found himself a member of the staff and prepared for a sales career.

Two months later, Rogers was on his way to Europe and the First World War, first enlisted as a member of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders and, once oversees, leaving for combat duty in France as a member of the 54th Kootenay Battalion. He described his war experiences in the 1987 book, Only in Canada, Kinsmen & Kinettes, written by Ken Coates and Fred McGuinness.

"I’d lived a parochial life before I joined up. When I was assigned to the Kootenay battalion, this was my first experience with young Canadians from the mountains, the Prairies, from Quebec and the Maritimes. I can never forget how we shared a common belief that what we were doing was supposed to make Canada a better and stronger nation. Sure, we went through Hell in the trenches, but what made it bearable was the comradeship, the feeling of working together that I received through my buddies."

Rogers fought at Vimy Ridge, Lens, Hill 70, and Ypres, was gassed at Passchendale and was wounded at Amien – the place he received a slice of schrapnel in one leg that he carried with him until his death.

Upon his return to Hamilton, Ont., he rejoined the plumbing supply firm, but being a relative newcomer to the city, had few friends his own age. This feeling was magnified by the loss of the fellowship and camaraderie shared with his army buddies.

In an effort to meet with young men his own age, he approached the local Rotary Club for membership. His application was rejected because another member of the club already filled the employment category of "plumbing wholesale." (At the time, Rotary allowed only one person per employment category). That member was Charles Rogers, Hal’s father.

More determined that ever, Rogers decided to form his own club. The initial steps are recalled in the 1979 book, The Cross and Square, written by Robert Tyre.

"I stopped a chap on the street and introduced myself. I had noticed him in church occasionally and he impressed me as someone who might take an interest in my plan for a club. He said his name was Harold Phillips. We shook hands. Then I went on to explain that I was a comparative stranger to the city and had been toying with the idea of starting a service club where young fellows could find companionship and participate in club programs. Phillips thought that was a good idea. He said he had been in the city a little over a year but knew very few people. We agreed that we’d each try to interest another young chap in the project and then get together for a talk. A week later, four of us met to discuss the scheme and an agreement was reached on going ahead with it. The following week, on that Saturday night in February, a dozen like-minded men sat down to dinner in the Namking Café in Hamilton and proceeded to organize the first club. That was the start of it."

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 March 2014 09:54