The Penticton Shrine Club was started in 1957 and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over that time to help pay for children’s hospitals and aid children with health problems in the community. Submitted photo

The Penticton Shrine Club was started in 1957 and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over that time to help pay for children’s hospitals and aid children with health problems in the community. Submitted photo

Shriners Club Variety Show helps make an impact on local children

Shriners Variety Show scheduled Dec. 10 at Cleland Community Theatre in Penticton

They aren’t just a group of guys wearing red-tasseled hats, riding in tiny cars and swinging fake swords around.

Ahead of the Shriners Variety Show, scheduled for Dec. 10 at Cleland Community Theatre, Jud Thompson and Ron Champken of the Penticton Shriners wanted to spread the word about the philanthropic organization.

“Everything we do is for the kids, our Shrine Kids, that’s what we call them. All the money we raise goes to fund 22 Shriners’ hospitals. Most of those are in the U.S. The closest is in Spokane but there is one in Montreal. That’s the only one in Canada,” Champken said. “A lot of people don’t realize that’s what we’re about.”

There are more than 350,000 Shriners throughout the world, with most located in North America. To become a Shriner one must first become a Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge. Once that is achieved, one can decide to become a Shriner or not.

“You have to be a Mason to be a Shriner but you don’t have to become a Shriner. Most of us really want to help children. We meet and go to meetings but we’re really interested in helping children,” Champken said.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a world-renowned network of pediatric medical facilities in many major cities in the U.S., one in Canada and one in Mexico. Not only do Shriners all over North America raise the funds to build and update those hospitals, they also pay the operating costs as well.

They do that by hosting things like the upcoming Variety Show.

Locally, there are at least seven children in the South Okanagan that are in the Shriners’ medical system. A child must meet certain medical criteria to become a patient. Ailments treated at Shriners hospitals include scoliosis, dislocated hips, club feet, head injuries, sports injuries to bones, muscles and tendons, brittle bone disease, cleft lip or palate, burn scars and a variety of neuromuscular diseases.

In recent days, Thompson was notified of one more child that will receive care from the area. Although he couldn’t speak specific to the ailment facing the child, he did say it was considered fatal and that wait times in B.C. were so long that possibly the child would have died before being seen.

“That isn’t to say anything bad about other places, but we are able to fill in the gaps. Our hospitals specifically treat children for certain things. It’s really focused and we’re able to be there when maybe others can’t and they know that,” Thompson said.

The Penticton Shriners are part of the Gizeh Shriners of B.C. and the Yukon with the headquarters located in Burnaby. All the Shriners work to raise funds in their individual temples and a pool of money is set aside for the community program, which is used to buy specialized equipment. Most recently the Penticton Shriners presented a family with $12,000 to buy a new electric wheelchair for a child.

“We also help pay for transportation costs, hotel rooms, any costs associated with the family travelling to the hospital through Shriners Care for Kids’ Transportation Program,” Thompson said. “We don’t just leave the families stranded. We want to lessen the burden and make things easier for them.”

Currently there are about 47 members in the Penticton Shriners, who come from surrounding Masonic Lodges. Both men acknowledge for years the Shriners and Masons seemed like secretive societies but they hope to change that.

“They think we are a secretive society but we aren’t really what it is is that we have a secret way of knowing each other when we’re out. There’s a secret handshake. We need to do a better job of getting the word out about what we do,” he said. ” A lot of people don’t know what we do.”

Although they are not allowed to “recruit” both men encouraged anyone interested in becoming a Mason and Shriner to contact the lodge in their community.

“Like every other group out there we are looking for members. You don’t have to be related to a Mason, but you do have to be a man. There’s an investigative committee that looks into anyone that wants to become a Mason. But we’re open to people joining and want them to join to continue this work,” Thompson said.

Throughout the year Shriners members put on events including the upcoming Variety Show as well as a car show and shine in Okanagan Falls. They also participate in seven parades in communities throughout the Okanagan. And this year they sold CDs and music apps at the Foreigner concert that came to Penticton recently.

Anyone wanting tickets to the Variety Show on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Cleland Theatre can buy them by calling 1-855-677-4562 or buy them at the door for $20. Donations are also being accepted so children can attend even if their family can’t afford tickets.

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

Most Read