When mentioning the Flathead Valley Exchange Club, the question often arises, "What is that?" This post will hopefully answer that question.
The NW Montana's Exchange Club is a relatively new chapter of the National Exchange Club. The National organization has been in existence over 110 years. The "exchange" part of the name refers to their mission of exchanging ideas to make communities a better place to live. Specifically, these clubs service their communities by focusing on three pillars: Americanism, Youth and Community. In addition, they support a national project which is the prevention of child abuse. Each year, the exchange clubs support their area by serving the under-privileged, mentoring youths, supporting the military and more.
The Flathead Valley Exchange Club has only been in existence for a little over a year, and has already been making an impact on the community.
The club meets weekly, and at least once a month will hear from a different local non-profit about their mission and any challenges they may have. Together the non-profit and exchange club will then determine the best way to work together. That could result in the club performing some sort of volunteer work to help, or perhaps conducting a fund-raiser to assist. In addition, other events are held throughout the year and at the end of the year the Exchange Club will provide additional funding to well-deserving non-profit organizations.
So what kinds of activities does the Flathead Valley Exchange Club do? Here are some 2021 highlights, not in any specific order:
The most recent event was a very successful Glow Run which raised money for the Nate Chute foundation for suicide prevention. They worked in conjunction with the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors Young Professionals Network on the event, which ended with over 200 runners and walkers enjoying the evening fund raiser.
The Exchange Club also provided beer tender services at the SunRift Beer Company in September, raising tips and donations for local non-profits. They had also been at SunRift earlier in the year holding a networking event. Not only were these events successful fund-raisers, but they were also "fun"raisers!
In October, several members of the club helped clean up and cut up wood for the Veterans Community Response a local non-profit that supports combat veterans in their readjustment process. The firewood is provided free-of-charge to veterans in the area to heat their homes over the Montana winter.
Another October event had members of the Flathead Valley Exchange Club and local Keller-Williams team volunteering at The Warming Center, a group whose mission is to save lives and encourage dignity through low barrier access to a warm safe place to sleep for anyone in need throughout the coldest months of the year. The volunteers helped the Warming Center get ready for their grand opening at their new location. They assembled metal lockers, put together bunk-beds and cleaned all of the Warming Center's supplies. Over 200 people attended the subsequent grand opening!
In August, the Flathead Valley Exchange Club held their first annual Pancake Shootout (which means they will have to hold a second annual event!). Anyone who registered to participate started the day with a pancake and sausage breakfast, and then were able to shoot clay targets at the Flathead Valley Clay Target Club. A fun time was had by all!
Also in August, the Exchange Club volunteered at the North West Montana Veterans Stand Down and Food Pantry in Kalispell. The Food Pantry not only provides nutritional food to veterans, but also equips homeless and newly housed veteran households with clothing and furnishings. They conduct annual Stand Downs which provide veterans with haircuts, surplus clothing, food boxes, and services such as mental health resources, employment counseling, referrals to community resources and more.
In June, a networking event was held at Bias Brewing, with a $1 from every pint going towards the Flathead Valley Exchange Club - needless to say, all who attended had a blast!
Twice during the year, in April and June the Flathead Valley Exchange Club volunteered to pick up trash and keep the community of Kalispell beautiful.
In addition, the Exchange Club heard from the additional following non-profits at their meetings:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier County who works to save and change the lives of children and teens by providing safe, positive and engaging environments and programs
- DeliverFund, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking
- Dream Adaptive Recreation, a group with the mission of providing year-round outdoor adaptive recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
- Montana Youth Diabetes Alliance an organization which strives to fulfill the unmet needs of Montana's Type 1 diabetes community
- The Nurturing Center, a group whose mission is to provide supportive, respectful services that strengthen families, specifically focused on increasing the children who are raised in healthy, nurturing environments
- Youth Dynamics of Montana which provides mental and behavioral health services for Montana's kids and families
So what does the Flathead Valley Exchange Club have planned for the future? More of the same! 2022 will include getting to know more local non-profits, providing volunteering hours to help those organizations, and holding more fund raising events.
One of the big events coming up in 2022 will be the Flathead Valley Exchange Club's first Field of Honor® being held on Memorial Day weekend. With plans for 1,000 large flags, all including dedications to heroes, and 24 hour access for honoring them, this is shaping up to be a moving event. More information will be available shortly!
What can you do to help?
Are you interested in being a part of this amazing group? If yes, we would love for you to come to a weekly meeting and see what we're all about. We always welcome new energy, caring, and helping hands.
Contact Kat at 406-270-3667, or at email email@example.com for more information. You can also go to our website or Facebook page and reach out to any of the other Flathead Valley Exchange Club members.
Originally posted at thehousekat.com.