The Ladysmith Kinsmen have been a staple in this community since the club was formed in 1952. They’ve helped build the Kinsmen Shelter at Transfer Beach, storage for the Festival of Lights decorations, the playground at Brown Drive Park, over a dozen ramps for people with disabilities in town, and the playground at Transfer Beach.
The Kinsmen continued to give in 2019. Their project this year is raising funds to build public washrooms downtown. They’ve also done several hot dog sales to raise money for the Ladysmith Food Bank.
Jim Delcourt, president of the Ladysmith Kinsmen and the town’s ‘Hot Dog King’, said that this is all part of what the Kinsmen do for the community.
“We support all sorts of different minor sports; soccer, baseball, girl’s softball, football, we really support them. If somebody needs something like say a wheelchair ramp at their house we’ll fundraise. If people come to us for help we fundraise and do the work for things like that,” Delcourt said.
The Ladysmith Kinsmen are devoted to helping citizens of Ladysmith. Other than their duties to the national Kinsmen organization, all their work is done in the community.
Delcourt said the Kinsmen will continue fundraising for the downtown public washrooms in 2020. Their target is $80,000 and they are currently $25,000 shy of the goal. The Kinsmen started raising money for the washrooms at the end of 2018. The downtown public washroom project was the number one priority on a Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce survey, and number three on a LRCA survey addressing downtown needs.
The Kinsmen are also the main organizers of both the Ladysmith Days parade, and the Festival of Lights parade. This year they helped bring back the Ladysmith Days soap box derby, and hope to make Ladysmith the soap box derby leader on Vancouver Island.
“It takes a lot of work. We do it because it’s fun and it’s putting back into the town. Everybody loves the parades. Somebody’s got to do it, so we step up and do it,” Delcourt said.
Anybody interested in helping the Kinsmen in their projects is welcome to do so. The Kinsmen is primarily a men’s only organization. There are female clubs called the Kinettes. Ladysmith used to have a Kinette club, but the chapter folded due to a lack of membership.
Outside their work in Ladysmith community events, the Kinsmen donate to several charitable causes all year long.