On May 17, 1973, a group of mostly young business and professional men gathered at Shalimar Country Club to organize the Kiwanis Nuevo Club of Tempe. Most of the young men, some Vietnam Veterans, had come to Tempe as part of the city's overwhelming population boom in the last half of the 1960’s. It would be later 14 years down the road before the Kiwanis Nuevo Club would take in its first women members during the 1987-88 term of President Larry Mishler.
Sponsoring the new club was the Kiwanis Club of Tempe. It's said that this club got our name when one Joe Cahill, appointed to take notes at the charter meeting, hastily added the word "Nuevo" - Spanish for new - to a Kiwanis Club of Tempe engraved sheet of paper borrowed from the sponsoring club. Twenty five of those who attended the organizational meeting became charter members when the club was formally chartered. That charter night took place on Saturday, August 11, also at Shalimar.
First president of the new club was also the first man recruited to membership - lawyer John Herrick. As the Kiwanis Club year goes from October through September, Herrick had a longer term than most club presidents, serving from May 1973 through September 1974.
It took a while for the new club to get its wings and begin to fly in the arena of community service. But many of the traditions started in the club's early years are being continued, and expanded upon, by today's Kiwanis Nuevo Club. To mention just a few are our scholarship program, which started with fifteen $25 scholarships given to Tempe elementary district graduating eighth graders in 1978 when Don Cassano, later a Tempe City Council Member was Club President. May 2005 we gave one $3,000 scholarship for a graduating McClintock high school graduate, a $1,000 scholarship at Tempe Accelerated High School and sixteen $100 scholarships to Tempe and Kyrene eighth graders at seven middle schools and two parochial schools.
Our involvement with the Thew Elementary School, Escalante Community Center neighborhood grew out of a long-running Christmas Party for youngsters from that area started in 1975. It is now an active partnership with Thew School which this year saw us giving literacy bags for Christmas to every Thew student, a book to each child for his or her birthday, and just recently an appreciation luncheon for Thew's teachers. We also continue a classroom reading program and sponsored a Childs play performance for Thew students.
McClintock High School's Key Club, which Nuevo founded in 1980-81 while Dick Caley was our President, is still part of our particular 'Kiwanis Family' - along with a Key Club newly begun last year at Tempe Accelerated High School. Nuevo's involvement in providing water needs for the Arizona Special Olympics summer games is a project we completed for the 23rd year in May of 2005, and our longtime biggest fund-raising project, the parking we do for Arizona State University and Cardinals football games and special events at two bank parking lots, as an outgrowth of a project in David Logan's 1990-91 Presidential year. Longtime Nuevo Member Bill Kaukol got us use of a bank parking lot at Mill and University as a fundraiser for a Cardinals’ exhibition game that year.
The Kiwanis Nuevo Club of has done much more of course - past and present which is a big reason why this club still exists when so many other service clubs, begun in those early Tempe growing years, are no longer in existence.