History of Civitan

Civitan traces its origins back to March 17, 1917 when a group of businessmen in Birmingham, Alabama met to organize a new civic club. They chose as their motto: “Building of Good Citizenship.” Initially they focused on community needs and the Allied war effort of World War I. Dr. Courtney W. Shropshire is generally credited with founding Civitan International. He was selected as its first president on April 15, 1920. Civitan now has clubs in twenty foreign countries and most of the states of the U.S.A.

Civitan came to North and South Carolina in 1921-1922. Civitan International named this new group of clubs the Carolinas District. In 1947, South Carolina became a separate entity with fourteen clubs. This was a time of expansion for the new district.

Early in 1955, James L. Reid, secretary of the Columbia Club and also the field representative for Civitan International came to the Lancaster Civitan Club and with their help began to make contact with community leaders in Rock Hill. F. D. Marshall became the local catalyst and assisted in gathering twenty-five new members to Civitan.

Civitan International granted the Charter to the Rock Hill Civitan Club on April 15, 1955. The official charter ceremony was held at the Andrew Jackson Hotel Ballroom on Tuesday, April 26, 1955.

The Rock Hill Civitan has been active in responding to the needs of this community with projects that better the lives of the citizens with special needs, with projects that promote good citizenship, and foster the growing need of the youth in our community.

The very first major project of the Rock Hill Civitan Club was to assist School District 3 of the York County Schools. The district had the money to hire a Special Education teacher for the system but no funds to supply this class with equipment. The Rock Hill Civitan Club was approached with a list of needs and they went to work to acquire what was needed. By the beginning of the school year 1957-58, the class was equipped and ready to go.

We have not stopped to this day. Where there is a need, there will be the Rock Hill Civitan Club.

We became involved with Special Olympics at the local, state and international level with financial support and volunteer hours.

By the 1970’s Civitan International had introduced us to the Civitan International Foundation for scholarships and the Civitan International Research Center in Birmingham, Alabama. This center is involved with research in the prevention and treatment of retardation and developmental disabilities of all types.

Youth projects were developed around the need for sports teams through the city parks and recreation department.

It was not long before Mr. Ed Jones of Columbia introduced us to the Junior Civitan Clubs. This program trains young adults in goal setting, organization, communication skills, problem solving and self-discovery through community involvement. We sponsored the Rock Hill High School Civi-nette Club in 1972, Northwestern H.S. Girls in 84, Lewisville High School in 86 and again in 02, Castle Heights Middle in 89, Sullivan Middle in 89 and again in 99-00, Rawlinson Road Middle in 95, Northwestern Boys in 97 and last but not least– Indian Land High School in 01-02.

Other projects for the Rock Hill Civitan Club have included but are not restricted to: Clergy Appreciation, Scholarships and Grants, Camp ARC, Worthy Boys and Girls Camp, Children’s Attention Home, youth sports and many other hands on projects. All of these projects must be funded. We have three major fundraising each year: the sale of Claxton Fruitcake, the Civitan International Candy Box project, and our local Flag Display Program.

We have received numerous awards for our efforts and we are proud of each and every one.