28 community based Lions Clubs of Southeastern Colorado have served their communities, the state, and the world with projects ranging from assisting the visually impaired to working with local youth, participating in medical missions, hosting environmental services, and disaster relief. In just the last few years we have screened over 9,000 children for vision and eye health problems (with an 11.3% rate of referral for ophthalmologist follow up) while also bringing in more than a quarter million dollars for wild fire victims. Our international foundation is top ranked by Charity Navigator. Join a club near you or start your own to find the joy in service to others!
We are at the beginning of another Lions year. This year we are faced with a choice, we can keep doing the same old things we have always done the way we have always done them, or we can make a change. Change is scary. Changes can lead to failures. Doing things the way we have always done them is comfortable. We know how to do things the same way our grandparents did them.
Are any of us driving the same car our grandparents drove? Are we still heating our homes with coal or cooking on the wood stove? (Okay, some of us still heat with wood and coal and we have been known to cook over a fire, but that is beside the point.) Why are we still running our Lions clubs the same way Melvin Jones ran his club?
Mind you, I am not suggesting that we abandon our founding principles. We are a service club. We serve our community without regard to race, religion or politics. Lions represent the best of the human spirit, willing to give of our time and money to make life a little better for our fellow human beings. I am suggesting that we take an honest look at where we are and where we want to be. What is working for our clubs and what is holding us back? We should never be so wedded to an idea that we cannot modify or abandon it if it is no longer working for our club.
We know how to lose members, we have done that very effectively for the last twenty years. What we do not seem to have figured out is how to keep the members we recruit. What value do we provide to our members and how do we compete with all of the other demands on their time?
We want to recruit younger members, so we seek out families with children to join our evening meetings. Then we let meetings run long and drag out past children’s bedtimes. Do we include the children in our club activities? Are they a respected part of the club? How many of us have a Lion Cub program? Are our activities family friendly? We often erect barriers to participation without even being aware of what we are doing.
We want to encourage the training and fellowship available at our conventions, workshops and training sessions. Then we are so afraid of technology that we require busy working people or folks with families to choose between attending their child’s sporting events and attending a workshop. What would happen if we used FaceBook live to allow a parent to sit in the stands at the soccer match and still take part in a training workshop?
We reduce the price of convention registration and then hold the convention in a venue which requires travel and several overnights in an expensive hotel. What would be the effect of having satellite locations where a feed of the keynote speeches, the speech contest and the International Director’s speech could be streamed in?
LCI rules require a “convention” for in-person voting. They do not define a “convention.” What would happen if we re-defined conventions to fit the lives we live in the 21st century? We may find Leos and Lion Cubs texting while they are attending workshops or listening to speakers. We may find that we are reaching beyond the physical venue and are touching lives beyond the walls which have defined our first 100 years.
Our multiple district electronic newsletter comes out quarterly, rendering it useless for much more than a compilation of history. What if we reimagined it into a living document which could be updated by one officer of each club in addition to an editor. Instead of being responsible to badger the contributors quarterly, the editor could actually spend time editing--spell and grammar checking, adding and arranging graphics and ensuring the content meets the standards LCI expects.
We give lip service to inter District co-operation. What have we done to promote training sessions, workshops and even fun events which involve all districts within the Multiple District? Are we actively encouraging communication between our committee chairs?
Our district will be trying something different this year. Committee and Zone chairmanships will be left unfilled until there is a candidate willing to put in some work. If there is no one willing to actually work, then the value of that position will be reevaluated in relation to the activities of the District. As I travel the district this year, I will be looking for new or different faces who have the passion for some of these positions but have never been approached before by leadership.
I am adopting the Proud Lion Program. Every new member that I personally induct will receive a special lapel pin. I will travel whenever possible to support clubs in any way I can.
We may fail. We may lose members. We may lose clubs. The only guarantee I can make is that if we continue to do things the way we’ve always done them we will fail, we will lose members and we will lose clubs.
Nothing will happen if we don’t take a risk and make a change.
“If not me, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? Change starts with you, right here right now.” Anon
Make a difference to one person every day, and remember:
Wave with your whole hand, smile with your whole face and love with your whole heart!
LCIF Empowering Service
Challenges around the world continue to expand. The Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) must continue to expand to meet the challenges. In order to provide greater service for today and in the future, LCIF is launching “Campaign 100: LCIF Empowering Service”. Campaign 100 is the most ambitious fundraising project in LCIF’s 50 year history. The goal is to raise $300 million in 3 years with the Campaign ending on June 30, 2021. If the goal is met, Lions will be able to serve over 200 million people. The funds will be used to increase worldwide service, fight diabetes and expand current causes (disaster relief, humanitarian needs, youth programs and vision projects). Big global issues need a big global effort. Campaign 100 provides the opportunity for individual Lions, Lions Clubs and Districts to come together to make a big global difference. Together, our gifts and donations to LCIF can make a brighter future for millions.
PCC Bob Selle
District 6-SE LCIF Coordinator
Check out this great video