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Katoland Connection Co-Presidents Chuck Frost and Betty Hauch presided over a club meeting Friday. The 700-member organization serves as a reunion linchpin group to all who have attended schools within a 50-mile radius of Mankato.

Pat Christman
The Free Press

Katoland Connection keeps on ticking even though it’s had some lickings.

At the group’s breakfast meeting Friday, gray and balding heads bespoke the organization’s staying power.

“It’s a great place to get together and meet old friends,” 87-year-old club co-president Chuck Frost said of an organization originally formed as the Kato 30-40 Club in 1978.

The name was a reference to its membership — Mankato high school graduates from the 1930s and 1940s.

The name was changed to Katoland Connection in 1997 to include all classes and schools within a 50-mile radius of Mankato.

Its twice-yearly newsletters and reunion conventions every other year have served as conduits for members to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones. This year’s reunion convention is Sept. 24 at the Best Western.

Club Treasurer Sal Frederick said there was a time years ago when aging members were ready to fold the club before Frederick and others stepped in to reorganize and revitalize it.

“We changed all of the pitfalls that was with the original group, but like any organization, we’d like new blood to come in — I’m 84 now.”

But even though the club remains viable — “We’re not a bit worried,” Frederick said — its membership skews older.

“You just don’t get younger members until about their 50th high school reunion,” Frederick said.

It’s that age group, plus word of mouth, that the organization is placing its recruiting emphasis on now.

Meantime, the 700-member club continues to carry out a pragmatic function each year by serving as a clearinghouse for high school reunions in the Mankato area.

For information on Katoland Connection, call 388-2251 or 388-3587.

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