Pamela Mohr 0000-00-00 00:00:00
2012 USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum: Leadership in a World of Service Visiting Florida is a lot like going hunting for treasure. The difference is that in Florida, you’ll never come up empty-handed. In fact, Lions attending the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum from Sept. 13 to 15 in Tampa will hit the jackpot—taking home a wealth of knowledge, leadership skills and experience. Tampa Bay, discovered by Spanish explorers early in the 16th century, was once home to some of history’s most legendary buccaneers—including Captain Kidd, Jean Lafitte and the notorious José Gaspar. Cutthroat pirates weren’t the only hazard encountered by sailors on the high seas. The remains of sunken ships litter the Atlantic’s coastal waters, a testament to centuries of fierce hurricanes blowing through. Treasure hunters still mine the sea and sand for lost fortunes in gold, silver and gems. Forum Facts Much of Florida’s magic lies beyond the fabled sunny shores of Miami. See Tampa Bay’s gorgeous deep blue waters and feel those balmy breezes while you mingle with as many as 3,000 Lions from all over the United States and Canada at the 36th annual forum. Visit www.usacanadalionsforum.org for discounted early registration, and learn about pre- and post-travel opportunities, accommodations and events. You can also follow the forum on YouTube and Facebook. The Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center, is the designated headquarters hotel. Located along the scenic Channel Riverwalk in the trendy Channelside District, the hotel features more than 700 newly renovated rooms and suites, a spa and a rooftop pool. Several other hotels are located within easy walking distance of the convention center and there are also two RV parks approximately 12 miles away. The 600,000-square-foot, modern bayside convention center is where attendees will focus on “Leadership in a World of Service.” This theme is central to the many seminars, speakers and activities designed to heighten and sharpen the service experience for all Lions. Organizers have created new, unique seminars and opportunities to mingle and learn this year. “Lions will be entertained, inspired and educated,” vows Forum Chair Polly Voon, of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. “This is a great opportunity for self-improvement and enhancement of knowledge and leadership skills for greater service within Lions and beyond.” Redesigned opening and closing ceremonies are just part of the exciting new differences rolled out for 2012. Seminar Chair and Past International Director Dr. Beverly Roberts shares some other changes debuting at this year’s forum: “For the first time, attendees will have an opportunity to view a live webinar and how it works and even participate in some of them. In addition, there will be a live Internet-connected seminar on social media sites.” Participants will be able to choose several of the 65 seminars to attend, and enjoy lunch with 2012-13 International President Wayne Madden to learn about his presidential program. Four past international presidents will also share their experiences, and Lions will observe ways in which to conduct more meaningful and dynamic new member inductions and officer installations. The forum is the ideal setting to provide an open exchange of ideas, learn more about Lions Clubs International’s programs and goals and be motivated in a beautiful waterside setting. Most of the seminars are designed to be interactive, during which questions or comments will be addressed in a “round table” format. Three motivational speakers, including James Malinchak, who appeared on a 2011 episode of ABC’s “Undercover Millionaire” television show; Steve Fulmer, called a “human strategist;” and Mary Feeley, a motivational humorist; are on the program for the meal events as well as breakout seminars. Lions Leadership Forum Fun in the Sun This is a family-friendly, value-packed venue where spouses are free to attend seminars with Lions. In fact, there’s even a seminar on the family membership program. Tampa, ranked three years ago as America’s fifth-best outdoor city, is a perfect springboard to other attractions and sights. The Florida Aquarium (www.flaquarium.org) is located in the Tampa Channel District where the Port of Tampa, the state’s largest seaport, is based. With over 20,000 species of aquatic plants and animals, visitors can spend the day viewing inhabitants of the 250,000-square-foot aquarium, or paying a visit to the SS American Victory, adjacent to the aquarium. The former World War II ship is now a museum. With more than 900,000 people annually embarking on cruises from ships leaving the Port of Tampa, transportation is key to navigating the downtown area. An electric streetcar system moves people easily between downtown, channelside and the historic Ybor City area, a 2.7-mile stretch. Tickets are sold at the Tampa Bay Convention Center, the Marriott Waterside Hotel’s concierge desk and other outlets around the city. If you want to embrace your inner pirate, visit Gaspar’s Grotto on bustling 7th Avenue, easily navigated from the convention center’s central location. Be adventurous with your food choices wherever you go. Try some spicy paella at one of the area’s many Cuban and Spanish restaurants, or if you prefer, dine at one of the numerous bistros that dot the waterside. Fresh seafood is obviously a good choice with abundant daily catches and “raw bars” serving just-caught oysters, clams or mussels. You can start your day out with a hearty American-style breakfast (with a side of Canadian bacon, of course) or have a cup of café con leche and a bite of Cuban bread. Restaurants range in price from budget to budget-busting, so you’re sure to find whatever you want—from American cuisine to Vietnamese—in the Tampa Bay area. If it’s shopping you want, there are several big retail and outlet malls, quaint shops and boutiques. And in Ybor City, you’ll find plenty of cigar shops. The cigar industry was a booming business there in the 1890s and it’s still the place to find a fine handrolled stogie. Check out the King Corona Cigar Factory on East 7th Avenue—part cigar shop, social club, bar, coffee shop and, yes, barbershop—an eclectic atmosphere, for sure, but one that’s enormously popular with both locals and tourists. Florida boasts that it has more theme parks and attractions than any other state. It’s probably true. Besides Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Center and Busch Gardens (handily located in Tampa), it’s tough to choose where to go first. The Gulf of Mexico is only 45 minutes away, but if the only attraction you want to see is the 18th hole, Florida is a golfer’s paradise. With courses designed by golf greats Arnold Palmer and Chi Chi Rodriguez, plus more than 50 in the Tampa Bay region alone, all you need to bring are your clubs and your best game. Tampa is a great place to begin your Florida treasure hunt after spending three exhilarating and action-packed days at the 2012 USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum. Maybe you’ll even see the ghost of pirate José Gaspar, who’s rumored to occasionally haunt his favorite lair. Lions will have a gem of a good time—and it’s [almost] certain that no one will be forced to walk the plank.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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