Traditional formats don't appeal to many prospective members

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

News that the Rescue and Battery Park Ruritan Club was dissolving due to declining membership is symptomatic of the challenge faced by many civic organizations — enticing young members to join and getting them to stay.

Every group has that problem, said Glen Schlickenmeyer, speaking for the Smithfield Ruritan Club.

“Our group is aging, like all of them are,” he said.

Jim Henderson with the Carrollton Ruritan Club was particularly excited over the prospect of a new 30-something member. Henderson, who is also with the Isle of Wight Citizens Association and the Carrollton Civic League, joked, “a young person is in their 50s.”

As for new members in their 20s, 30s or even 40s, “it’s a rarity,” Henderson said. 

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