New Member's Guide

Helping New Members find their way around

Primary Member’s Activities

Dinner Meetings
Recruiting new members
HomeFront Program
Family Fourth
Ice Cream Social
Clean a mile
Board of Directors
Inaugural dinner

X-Tree sales
Golf Outing
Wine Tastings
Memorial Day Parade
Waveny Senior Christmas Luncheon
Christmas dinner

X-Mas tree lot sales

This is the flagship event for the Exchange Club. In order to practice our motto, “Unity for Service,” we ask each member to be involved in this event in any way they can. The assignments are plentiful and quite varied: tree manager, wreath manager, merchandise manager, cashier, promotion, Santa Claus and four sales teams to reasonably cover an entire weekend of sales.
It takes an entire Club of about 130 members almost an entire month to make this happen. We order about 1,300+ trees (Balsams and Fraser firs), wreaths of assorted varieties both decorated and undecorated, and various Christmas merchandise.
We have also contracted with the North Pole to have Santa Claus with us for the December weekends so our children will have a place to make their requests. We decorate the small hut into Santa’s workshop thus transforming Kiwanis Park into a true Christmas village.
In addition, we supply wreaths for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to lay on veterans graves in New Canaan in the same tradition as occurs at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.
The planning for the sales usually starts in June /July. We usually place the order in August. This locks in the number of items we can sell


You should bring insulated work gloves as the trees are usually very cold as well as hat, warm jacket and footwear for a ground that might be cold and muddy. The work is outdoors and it can be cold and windy.

Setting up the Tree Lot Before Thanksgiving

We set up the lot the Saturday before thanksgiving. This where we assemble the racks for the trees, set up poles, bring in the Hedland Hut. Most of the materials is stored in a barn on someone’s properties.

Unloading the trucks the Friday after Thanksgiving

The trucks are scheduled to arrive in the morning of the Friday after Thanksgiving. There are usually two to three trailers stacked high with trees. We unload them in to piles by type and size of tree
The wreaths, rope, and bows are sorted and displayed in the passageways of the Kiwanis building.
All of the products are tagged so that the tag can be given to the cashier to ring it up correctly.

We start the sales that afternoon.

Weekend Sales

The club is broken into four teams (1 – 4). Each team works ½ day over the weekend (Saturday AM, Saturday PM, Sunday AM, Sunday PM). Each weekend the team works a different ½ day.
The last day the tree lot is manned is adjusted based on sales and weather, it will be no later than Christmas eve.
During the sales we help the customer pick the tree, we will cut the tree to length and cut off lower branches to fit in their tree stand.
We also will tie the tree to the roof of their car.
We also offer delivery services. Before COIVID-19 we would do install in the home.

Breaking down the tree lot after Christmas

When we break down the tree lot site, we rent a  U-Haul box truck, disassemble the A-frames that held the trees, box up all materials, clean up the lot, and move them to storage barn until next year.
The date that we break down will depend upon when the last day the tree lot is open. It will be no later than the Monday after Christmas.

Dinner Meetings

The dinners are held the first and third Tuesday of the month and at each of the dinners there is speaker.
Typically, the Friday before a dinner meeting the Exchange Express is emailed out providing information regarding the speaker and other events in the club
Dinner is included in the club dues, drinks are not included.
This is also an opportunity to recruit new members.

Recruiting new members

We need to be bring on 10 -12 new members a year to maintain the current size of the club.
If you have someone you would like to recruit, bring them to a dinner. There is a form to complete so we know who is being recruited,
They must attend to two meetings before going to the board for approval.

HomeFront Program

As part of our service to the community, The Exchange Club has worked with the Homefront organization each Spring. Members spend a day painting, helping with yard work and doing other repairs for someone in the community in need of assistance. Our Spring project gives members a chance to join one another and directly impact the quality of life of one of our neighbors.
When it is time to signup for the event you can use this link -> Click here to sign up

New Canaan Family Fourth

At this event, we assist the Town of New Canaan by helping to sell packaged ice cream bars and soda to attendees usually on the Fourth of July. We also help with the takedown and clean-up at the end of the event.
Typically the tent is maned in three shifts.
The members volunteering typically get free preferred parking.

Click here to sign up

Historical Society Ice Cream Social

Usually held the first Sunday in June. Over the years, we have been asked to assist the Historical Society to distribute ice cream to the attendees. Unlike our involvement in the Family Fourth Celebration, this effort requires us to wear aprons and scoop loose ice cream from large containers.

Click here to sign up

Clean Your Mile

The Exchange Club has traditionally been assigned Lapham Road from Route 106 to the Merritt Parkway bridge to clean each year. We meet at the Waveny pool parking lot for coffee and doughnuts, take a trash bag and proceed to clean up both sides of Lapham Road from trash thrown by the wayside.
This usually takes several hours of one day.

Click here to sign up

Board of Directors

Each year in June there are changes in the board of directors of both the foundation and the club.
The board has a:
  1. President
  2. President-elect – They run the tree lot
  3. Immediate past president
  4. Secretary
  5. Treasurer – Manages the finances
  6. External Communications – Does the website and press releases
  7. Member Communications – Send out Exchange Express
  8. Program chair – They get the speakers for our dinners
  9. Membership
  10. 6 non-titled directors

Inaugural Dinner

After the new board has taken office, there is a dinner where spouses are invited

Holiday Party

There is a holiday party where spouses are invited.

Golf Outing

In the fall, we organize our Golf Outing at the beautiful and challenging Country Club of New Canaan for a day of near-perfect golf. The day will begin at 11:00 a.m. with registration and a buffet lunch upon arrival. This is followed by a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. and 18 holes of golf with on-course refreshments. The day concludes with a cocktail reception, awards ceremony and an Exchange Club dinner meeting.

Wine Tasting

In the spring, the Exchange Club typically holds a social fundraiser to bring the community together in a fun environment. The evening may include live and silent auctions. In 2015, the Club leadership took part as guest bartenders at a local restaurant.


Grants and Donations – The fundraisers are the sole source of income for the Foundation. Applications for grants or donations are accepted during a three-month window in the first calendar quarter of the year. The Board of Directors of the Foundation determines the amount of money that is available for gifting.
A Grants and Donations Committee is formed and chaired by the Immediate Past President of the Club. The Committee conducts an in-depth review of the organizations applying for help and determines how the Foundation funds will be dispersed. Applicants are required to provide an overview and mission statement of the organization, description of the specific project for which funding is sought, current financial statements, and evidence of 501 (c) (3) status.

Memorial Day Parade

Americanism is a key pillar of the Exchange Club. We, as a Club, have been honored by the Town of New Canaan by being the only group to be allowed to distribute anything to the parade onlookers: small American flags. Each year, we distribute thousands of flags. We also have been honored to have a very favorable position in the parade’s line of march. With the exception of Town officials and military personnel, we are at the front of the parade.

Click here to sign up

Waveny Seniors Christmas Luncheon

We have been supporting this midday meal for the senior citizens of New Canaan for a number of years. Currently, we contract with Susan Goodman to cook the meal at Waveny House, which is then distributed by volunteer service groups. As part of this celebration, a high school choral group entertains and our Santa Claus takes a short visit from the Christmas village at Kiwanis Park to distribute some goodies.

Click here to sign up

Help for Kids (Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern Connecticut Inc.)

1979 — The National Exchange Club officially adopted the prevention of child abuse as its national project. The idea of exchanging ideas and information with like-minded individuals about how to better serve their communities and inspire communities to become better places to live was the driving force behind their adoption!
1989 — The Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern Connecticut Inc. was founded thanks to a large effort and collaboration between the Department of Children and Families, local agencies, law enforcement, courts, medical professionals, community members and the Exchange Clubs of CT!   The Exchange Club of New Canaan was one of founding clubs and has been one of it largest financial supporters.
1992 — Healthy Families America (HFA), a nationally-recognized, evidence-based home visiting program, is launched by Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA). Today, there are more than 580 HFA sites throughout the nation serving more than 73,000 families each year!
2018 — The Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center was officially changed to HELP for Kids. “HELP” in our name originated from the abbreviation of “Hope Educate Love and Protect.” The principal purpose of our organization is to stop the cycle of violence in families and to prevent child abuse and neglect, as well as strengthen families and create safe home environments to allow children to grow up, happy and safe with their families in their community!

For more about help for kids ->