Our History

The Kiwanis club in Ocala, Florida was chartered in April 1924 as a part of the growing Kiwanis International organization. Under the leadership of first president Louis Duval and with sixteen charter members, it began to seek ways to help children and families, and to find ways to assist others in the community. It was the second Kiwanis club in Florida having been preceded by five years by a club in Tampa.

Photo from 1950

1924The Kiwanis club in Ocala, Florida was chartered in April 1924 as a part of the growing Kiwanis International organization. Under the leadership of first president Louis Duval and with sixteen charter members, it began to seek ways to help children and families, and to find ways to assist others in the community. It was the second Kiwanis club in Florida having been preceded by five years by a club in Tampa.

1948 An old depression era ccc camp had been found in Ocala National Forest and the idea was formed that maybe it could be made into a camp for children, After much planning, negotiating, blood sweat and tears Camp Kiwanis was opened in 1948. Camp Kiwanis became the signature project for the Kiwanis Club of Ocala and has remained so ever since.

1958 The expense of maintaining and improving the camp was recognized as being to much for the club to handle without additional funds, PANCAKE DAY was born to provide those funds.

1978 Pancake Day had grown so popular that it had become difficult to keep up with demand using multiple ordinary Grills. Club member Ken Whitsett responded to the problem by inventing and building the Super Stacker, a slowly revolving grill manned by 4 persons that will perfectly fry unto 80 pancakes in one revolution. At capacity it can fry 750-800 pancakes per hour. The original machine has been well maintained and is still in use almost 40 years later.

2002 We established our first RIF (reading is Fundamental) project in one school. We gave a 

to every child in grades 5-7 in each of three separate visits throughout the school year.

2003-current The RIF program has been expanded to 7 schools and the grade level changed to K-2. We have added other programs to promote academic achievement such as BUGS (Bring Up Grades) and sponsoring Learning Trails. We have implemented the Terrific Kids program to promote good citizenship. And, we have begun several programs to promote childhood safety: Never Shake A Baby education, Giving away cribs to prevent co-sleeping deaths, giving away car seats for safe transportation, giving away bicycle helmets to minimize bicycle accident injuries, and Swimming lessons to prevent drowning. 

FEBRUARY 2015 Our Club Satellite was formed. The club satellite offers Kiwanis membership opportunities to those who wish to serve the community through Kiwanis but for any reason cannot regularly attend Friday luncheon meetings. The club satellite meets once a month at 6:00 PM at mimi’s Cafe on State Road 200. satellite members are full members of the Kiwanis Club of Ocala. They may have Satellite only projects but are expected to participate in major club projects such as Pancake Day, Sportsman’s Dinner, and annual Camp Kiwanis Clean up day, They can vote in club elections (but have to attend the annual business meeting to do so) can be elected to board meetings (have to be able to attend the noon board meeting one Wednesday a month) The club satellite regularly contributes to the Club’s ELIMINATE project and assembles hygiene kits for homeless children in our schools. Once a year they help clean up at the Boys and Girls Club,


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