Kiwanis Monument

Kiwanis Monument – Oscoda, Michigan

I am back in California now, but before I return to blogging about life in the Sierra I wanted to share this Kiwanis monument located by Oscoda, MI. I have visited this monument previously with my family, but probably not since before college. In college I became a member of the Kiwanis, specifically the Circle K. Through Kiwanis and Circle K I met some amazing people, built some sweet snow statues, participated hundreds of hours of service, and found my boyfriend Curtis among my club members.

kiwanis monument (759x1024)

Kiwanis slogan "We Build"

The plaque reads:

“To plant a tree is to perform an act of faith – faith in the future. To plant a whole forest is more than an act of faith – it is a positive building for the future.

The Kiwanis project for the development of some unproductive land in Northeastern Michigan was conceived in 1928 by Harry D. Black of the Flint Club, the Michigan District Provided $19,400 with which more than two million pine seedlings were secured. The United States Forestry Service planted the seedlings on ten thousand acres.

The the Kiwanis motto, “We Build” was put into action. Erosion was replaced with conservation, ugliness with beauty, emptiness with increasing value, and uselessness with recreation opportunities for all.

The original marker built to identify the project was replaced with the present monument in 1960 by the Kiwanis Clubs of the Michigan District – “Rick” Wysong
This stone donated by the Saginaw clubs – 1961″

The motto, “We Build,” mentioned on this plaque was retired in 2005, but our club clung onto the logo repeating it after the Circle K Pledge. I think as a club at a science and engineering dominated school we liked the “We Build” motto because it seems much more substantial than the new “Live to Serve, Love to Serve.”  In my time at Circle K we built connections with our communities through random acts of leaf raking kindness, we built piles of trash bags filled with discarded litter, and we built leadership opportunities and friendships not based on not GPAs but compassion.

Circle K Pyramid

Jokingly during my time in Circle K we had made a snow statue of a pyramid with a large letter K on top, implying in a roundabout way that Aliens both built the pyramids and were Kiwanis members that worshiped service. Perhaps this giant K monument too was an inside joke?

Personal involvement aside, a large part of me loves this monument based purely on it’s random roadside attraction value. It’s almost deity like reverence of the large letter K placed on a tower, completed with overgrown bushes along the side of the road.  I enjoy how assertive the language is on the plaque, patting themselves on the back for replacing “ugliness with beauty.”  Plus since it is conveniently located just next to the Lumberman’s monument, it is easily paired with viewing of this more famous tourist stop. See the monument on google maps here.

Michigan! The trips back always seem too short. Luckily I got to see the Lilacs in bloom and enjoy some good midwestern weather during my trip. Until next time I guess I am will have to make do with the Sierra ;)

River Road in Michigan