The club hosted the high-school Spookerama dance for the past 39 years.
Swift Current Kiwanis Past President Larry Johnson said it was a tough decision for the organization to discontinue the event for Grade 9 to 12 students.
“It was a very hard decision to make in regards to cancelling it, because it’s been such a good program for these39 years,” he noted. “It was very difficult. We discussed it at great length, as a matter of fact, probably for the last couple of years.”
The Spookerama dance for high-school students took place every year at the Palliser Pavilion at Kinetic Exhibition Park while the dance for middle-year students is held at the Lt. Colonel Clifton Centre.
The Spookerama dances were originally started in response to acts of vandalism that occurred in the community on Halloween.
“There was a fair bit of vandalism around town and we wanted to get the kids away from that scene, and give them a place to have a dance and gather as a group and eliminate as much of the vandalism around the community and it did,” he said. “It has been successful that way, but times change.”
The intention is to provide a safe place for students where they can have a fun and entertaining evening in an environment free of alcohol and drugs. There have been instances over the years where students were asked to leave the dance due to unacceptable behaviour.
In the case of the high-school dance there has been an ongoing issue with the behaviour of a few participants during the past 10 year or so. The annual attendance at the dance was around 250 students and only a small number did not behave.
“It's just a very few people,” he emphasized.
However, it has resulted in a situation where the club felt it cannot continue to host the event for the older students.
“We can’t afford to set ourselves into that position where our liability is going to be high if something happens,” he said.
The situation is different in the case of the dance for Grade 6 to 8 students, and the Spookerama for the middle years will again take place Oct. 31.
It is an important focus of the club’s activities to support initiatives that will benefit youth in the community, and that will still be the case.
“That will never end,” he said. “That is what the Kiwanis is about, our youth.”