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The Knights of Columbus is, above all, a fraternity - a brotherhood of like-minded Catholic men and their families. Members aim to support one another in good times and bad and thereby strengthen the ideals of Catholic knighthood. Active participation in membership recruitment efforts, the degree ceremonials, and the social and athletic programs of a council enhances one's appreciation of what it means to be a Knight of Columbus.


As a fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus strives to maintain a strong, friendly and open atmosphere among its members and their families. To promote fraternalism, local councils work to make new Knights feel at home in the council family. Councils also sponsor "Recognition Nights" to honor outstanding members. In addition, local units select recipients for the "Knight of the Month" and "Knight of the Year" programs. Important dates in the lives of members, such as birthdays and anniversaries, are remembered. Council members regularly visit Knights and family members who are ill. Many councils publish member directories and newsletters. Many councils hold memorial Masses for deceased Knights and family members. Councils also sponsor Columbus Day and Knights of Columbus Founder's Day (March 29) programs. Along with promoting fraternalism among their members, councils also work with other fraternal groups in the community to provide social, athletic, service and similar programs.


The Knights of Columbus at the international level offers golf, bowling and softball tournaments for members. Individual councils sponsor clubs, teams, leagues, tournaments and other contests for members. Knights conduct sports clinics for youngsters. Councils sponsor teams in Little League, Junior Hockey, Babe Ruth, Pony League and other sports organizations for youngsters. In addition, local sports stars annually participate in council social and service events.


Knights of Columbus units regularly plan dances and other socials in connection with holidays and seasonal occasions. Councils also conduct open houses for members and their families. These events allow wives and children, as well as potential new Knights, to see the council's facilities and learn about what the Knights do. Councils often conduct degree exemplifications to welcome new members into the Order in conjunction with special celebrations.


As council members, Knights gain valuable leadership experience that they can bring with them to their careers or other areas of interest. Leadership opportunities, such as officer, program chairmen and committee positions, are open to all members. Men serving their council gain practical leadership experience and confidence through planning service programs and social activities, as well as conducting meetings and operating the council. The Supreme Council office provides a variety of handbooks and programming manuals to assist these council leaders in meeting their responsibilities.


Councils often invite speakers from various groups in the community to offer presentations to Knights. Demonstrations, exhibits, movies and talks by educators, artists, musicians and others are often part of council programs. Many councils sponsor Knights of Columbus glee clubs and choral groups to perform at K of C and Church functions. Members and their families exhibit and discuss their handiwork, crafts, hobbies and collections during council programs. Councils often sponsor trips to local museums, historical sites, concerts, plays and other activities.


Each year Knights and their families have the opportunity to attend conventions at both the state and international levels. At these meetings, delegates hear about the state of the organization, vote on resolutions, attend discussions and workshops on various topics, celebrate their faith together and socialize. Delegates from throughout the Order attend the Annual Supreme Council Meeting held at the beginning of August.


The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council office offers a series of videocassette productions to local units. These productions are available free of charge, except for shipping and handling. The videos cover membership recruitment procedures; promotional films on the many works of the Order; and instructional presentations on the duties and responsibilities of various Knights of Columbus leadership positions. These productions help educate members, potential members and other interested parties on the various aspects of the Knights of Columbus. All titles can be obtained by contacting the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Services.


Each year thousands of councils throughout the Order qualify for one or more of the awards given out by the Supreme Council for outstanding achievement in the areas of service programming, membership recruitment and retention and insurance promotion.

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