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More than 30 years since women were allowed to join the Kiwanis Club, local members share their experiences

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 4:48 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne has been a part of the community for decades, and the organization itself, has been around for more than a century. It’s a volunteer organization that focuses on helping children and also the community. But if you don’t know much about its history, until the late 1980′s, it was an all-male organization.

“She called me one day and she said, I think I’m gonna join Kiwanis, and I said really? They don’t take women. She said, they have to now,” said one of the first female members of the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club, Terri Lorenzon.

“My business partner said you should join Kiwanis, and I said I’ve heard about this, I’m not doing that. At one point he convinced me to go, and we drove up Lincolnway and we got close to the Hitching Post, and I said uh no I’m not gonna do it never mind. So he said ok, turn around and go back, and about got back to the office, and I said yeah I need to do this, let’s do it. So we did that about four times honestly, and once I got in, I haven’t left,” said Dixie Roberts, who joined CKC in 1990.

“I was like Dixie, it’s like I’m not sure I wanna go there. But I also worked with Jimmy Visca who was a long time member and he would faithfully go to Kiwanis every Thursday, and one day Carl Wambold came by and said would you want to join, and I really didn’t have a reason not to,” said Debbie LaFaso, who joined in 1991.

Despite the ladies initial worries, all three said once they joined, they were welcomed into the club immediately.

“Once the club took in women, it was all over. I never even heard about it after that and it was very comfortable,” said Lorenzon.

Now more than 30 years later, many of the members are thankful for what the women members have done to make the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club what it is today.

“They add a lot to the club and it’s been a great addition to the club, I wouldn’t do without them,” said CKC member, Bob Curtis.

“Thank you all and not just you three but everything women have contributed to Kiwanis,” said CKC member, RC Mead.

For these ladies, it’s not just about the clubs and activities they’ve been able to be a part of, it’s the people that make up the CKC.

“It’s always been the people that are in the club and how important they are to how this club operates,” said Roberts.

The CKC is takes pride in being able to serve the Cheyenne community and is always looking for new members. For more information, you can head to its Facebook here.

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