Podcast: Exchange Club of New Canaan President George Benington



This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Exchange Club of New Canaan President George Benington about the service organization and its annual Christmas Tree and Wreath Sale. An important fundraiser benefitting local charities, it will run a little differentpodcly this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a link to the school district’s continuously updated COVID-19 operations guide. And here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Officials Seek Workable Site in Kiwanis Park for Proposed Open-Air Ice Rink

Town officials said Tuesday they’re trying to identify just where in Kiwanis Park would be the best place for a proposed open-air ice rink. 

A leading contender for a seasonal rink site in New Canaan that would be open to the public with an admission charge, Kiwanis is attractive in that it has sufficiently large areas, parking, access to bathrooms, running water and electricity, and structures that could house changing areas, snack bar and skate shop, members of the Parks & Recreation Commission have said. Yet a level area out front of the main pavilion traditionally has been used by a local service organization for a large chunk of the late-November-through-February trial season that Parks & Rec has floated. 

And early cost estimates to level out an area behind the pavilion and install a retaining wall there appear cost-prohibitive, a group of town officials and community volunteers said during a meeting of a Parks & Rec subcommittee. It’s also unclear whether installing the ice rink deeper into the park—on the far side of the swimming hole—would create a sufficiently attractive and workable facility, officials said during the Parks & Rec skating subcommittee meeting. While excavation, fill, retaining wall construction and other costs would push the total expense for an ice rink located between the rear of the pavilion and swimming hole to an estimated $200,000 to $250,000, creating a facility out front of the building, where the Exchange Club of New Canaan in past years has set up its approximately month-long Christmas tree sale would be far less money, official said. Rona Siegel, chair of Parks & Rec, asked whether the club had ever looked at setting up its sale in the Waveny Pool parking lot instead. 

“It’s ideal,” Siegel said at the meeting, held in a conference room at Town Hall.

Letter: ‘Thank You’ from the Exchange Club

We want to thank the New Canaan community and residents from nearby towns for buying Christmas trees & wreaths from our 50th annual fundraiser in Kiwanis Park. We were also pleased to see many adults and children attending our annual Lou Moreno Tree Lighting ceremony on December 2. The Exchange Club of New Canaan had a record year with 1,300 Christmas trees, 2,000 wreaths, plus roping and other seasonal merchandise sold. We netted nearly $100,000, which we’ll distribute to local non-profit and community organizations later this year. We could not have been successful without the help from many organizations including the Service League of Boys (SLOBs), the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Pivot Ministries, the Shepherds, the NC Recreation Department, the Chamber of Commerce, Old Faithful, First Selectman (and Exchange Club member) Kevin Moynihan, and Wisdom, our watchdog.

Exchange Club’s 50th Annual ‘Christmas Tree Sale’ Opens Friday at Kiwanis Park

One of New Canaan’s great holiday traditions kicks off Friday, Nov. 24 with the opening of the Christmas Tree sale at Kiwanis Park. Organized and run by the Exchange Club of New Canaan, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the sale, which raises funds for charitable organizations here in town and in nearby communities. “Thanks to the support and generosity of the people of New Canaan, we’ve been able to donate more than $1 million to over 30 local charities in the past 10 years alone, and the Christmas tree sale is by far our largest fundraising event,” Club President Charlie Holmes said in a press release. The tree lot in Kiwanis Park, on Old Norwalk Road, will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, starting Friday and running through Dec.

Q&A: Getting To Know the Exchange Club of New Canaan

In this installment of our Q&A series on New Canaan’s fabulous service organizations, we learn more about the Exchange Club—already known to scores of local families who purchase their Christmas trees at Kiwanis Park from the local group. Jeff Platt is the president-elect of the Exchange Club of New Canaan. New Canaanite: Is the Exchange Club of New Canaan part of a national or international organization? If so, please provide details of that organization, such as the year it started, its size and scope. The National Exchange Club is the oldest service organization in the country.