I’ll give this a shot as a 4th degree member of the K of C for 10+ years:
Yes, the K of C was founded for the support of widows & orphans. The insurance program in place currently has spawned from this original purpose. The current purpose is founded in the 4 degrees of the K of C - Charity, Unity, Fraternity & Patriotism.
Upon joining you will be asked to meet with an insurance agent, once. If you’re not interested it should not go any further. If you are interested, there are many highly competitive insurance programs available.
You can give as much time as you are able. Situations within people’s live change frequently. You may be able to participate a lot for a couple years, and then a situation will arise where you can’t participate at all. This is understandable, as we all have our lives outside the K of C to consider.
There is usually an annual dues payment, I think my council’s is around $35 per year currently. This will be the only money you wil be “required” to pay. There will be numerous fundraisers, social activities, etc. that may require additional expenditure; but these are never required.
You are considered a “full” member after receiving your 3rd degree. The degrees are ritualistic in nature, but not in a harmful way. They are based on religious tradition and teaching. the 4th degree is completely optional, and many members do not participate in this degree.
At the council level, it’s all about raising money for charity, helping staff parish activities, attending social functions run by the council, etc. There is typically a “General” meeting once a month on a weeknight where council business is discussed. there is a monthly officers’ meeting, where those elected to positions within the council meet & approve expenditures, discuss upcoming activities, etc. We also have a social night for members once a month where you can come down to the council hall, watch a sporting event, play cards, etc.
Now that I mentioned the council hall, I’ll talk about that. Not all K of C councils have a hall. Many do. The hall is not a part of the K of C. The K of C, based in New Haven, CT, is not affiliated with any council hall. The liability issues raised by owning real estate do not appeal to the K of C organization. That being the case, the halls are owned by “The Corporation”. The Corporation’s members are the members of the K of C council. The Corporation is an unaffiliated entity of the K of C.
The management of the hall is handled differently all over, but in this current economy, many halls are having trouble meeting expense demands, and are closing down due to this. It’s another whole discussion I’d be happy to go into at another time; but suffice is to say, a council which has a hall has another whole list of responsibilities that comes with it.
On a local council level there’s typically a bit of politics in play as to who is the Grand Knight, Deputy Grans Knight, Chancellor, Warden, etc. It’s generally called moving up through the chairs where a Warden becomes the Chancellor in the next election cycle, etc. The are other officer positions that can be held outside the “chairs”; and these are more appealing to those who don’t want to be extremely involved in the running of the council. Being a Grand Knight, Deputy GK, Chancellor, etc. can become very time consuming.
The council is governed by a District Deputy, who typically manages several councils as a representative of a county K of C organization. Our DD has 5 councils currently that he manages. He reports to the county chapter; and the county chapter is a part of the State K of C organization. Once we get to County & State positions, there’s all kinds of political activities going on with a lot of behind the scenes type action.
I’m not one for politics, and I shy away from anything having to do with anything above the “council” level. I was much more active 5 years ago than I am now, but I still participate as much as possible. I am always accepted by the members, and I consider most of the members good friends.
Just to mention, the 4th degree has it’s own structure within the county & state, and it has it’s whole political heirarchy outside the regular K of C as I described above. there again, you will be asked to help as much as possible with some things, but it’s not necessary. I think my 4th degree dues are around $15 per year currently.
To address a previous poster, there are no requirements for hours or donations or insurance members sign-ups, etc. There are goals set by New Haven for new members to be brought in & new insurance members to be signed up. If the goals are met, an award is given to the council. If the goals are not met, oh well…better luck next year. The manhours worked in council efforts is a part of a questionairre filled out by the Financial Secretary & filed with the K of C in New Haven. this is for informational purposes only, and is for public relations purposes more than anything else.
I find it rewarding for me, as I can pick and choose what I participate in, and I can choose to not participate in things that may be too expensive for me, may reqire too much of a time commitment, or may be something I don’t particularly care for.
Did I miss anything?