BIG IMPACT WITH LIONS CLUB SERVICE PROJECTS KEEP SHARING Remember to donate to LCIF to keep our Foundation a strong and viable arm of assistance. WEAR YOUR PIN PROUDLY Wear a lapel pin to show others that you’re proud to be a Lion. If people ask about it, invite them to learn more by attending a club meeting with you. KEEP ROAD SIGNS IN TOP SHAPE If your club has erected promotional road signs, make sure they’re in good repair since they represent your club’s connection to the community. PHOTOS RECORD YOUR SERVICE Take photos of Lions “in action.” Show your community what Lions do by recording service activities and send these photos with project information to local media. Learning about Lions Children who attended story time at the public library in Bennington, Nebraska, were in for a treat when Lions Dee Micheel and Ken Dirksen, club president, came to visit. Micheel, a past District 38 O governor, read the book “If I Were a Lion” by Sarah Weeks. “We visited with the purpose of reading and sharing stories about lions and how these animals differ from human Lions,” she says. A librarian also read other books about lions to the kids, who had plenty of questions for the human Lions after the reading. Using kidfriendly paper plates and construction paper, the preschoolers made lion masks to top off their learning experience. Lions plan to continue educating Bennington’s youngsters about four-footed lions. Two weeks before Micheel and Dirksen visited, Lion Julie Dunn read the same book to another group at the library. The club voted to sponsor story time at the library for another year at a cost of $500 for materials. “The kids were excellent listeners,” Micheel says. They fielded several questions from curious youngsters. Several wanted to know where Micheel and Dirksen’s tails were hidden. Micheel easily explained that one. “We told them since we’re not animals, we don’t have tails.” Mystery solved. Flower Power SERVICE IDEA BRIGHTEN LIVES When daffodils pop up in a valley on Maryland’s Eastern Shore each spring, Lions aren’t far behind. For the last 48 years, members of the Cecilton Lions Club have harvested the valley’s yellow field of flowers to create cheerful bouquets for residents of nursing and retirement homes, hospitals and others who might need a thoughtful pick-me-up. Among other volunteers are members of the nearby Galena Lions Club, local 4-H Club and Scout troops. “As they’re picking daffodils down in the valley, others are in the barn assembling bouquets,” says Sudlersville Lion David Taylor, who is also a member of the American Daffodil Society. “They put sand, vermiculite and water in 32-ounce plastic deli cups, and add from 25 to 50 stems of daffodils along with floral filler. Anywhere from 775 to 1,000 bouquets are assembled in only four or five hours. We probably pick around 20,000 daffodils. Most organizations would use such a treasure for monetary gains, but not the Cecilton Lions Club.” Taylor says, “No one seems to know where the daffodils originated, but it’s believed that in the mid-1800s they were planted around a cemetery on the hill overlooking the valley. The entire floor of the forested valley is completely covered with yellow daffodils.” The daffodil-picking tradition started with the owner of a farm in the valley who was a Lion. “He enjoyed this golden treasure so much that he wanted to share what he had with others. The farm has since been sold but as part of the change of ownership, he requested that the new owner continue the tradition,” says Taylor. When the daffodils bloom, Lions and troops of volunteers are ready, wielding their shears to harvest a virtual field of sunshine. “After a long, cold winter, the daffodil rejuvenates the soul,” believes Taylor. When it comes to spreading cheer, “I can’t think of any better flower to give out.” Dirty Hands, Big Hearts The oldest building in Meriden, Connecticut, is the Solomon Goffe House, dating back to 1711 and now a museum. Meriden, a city of 60,000, is a place where tradition is cultivated. Lions, too, have their own traditions. Each year since the 1950s, the outgoing Meriden Lions Club president has chosen a project that benefits the community to mark his year in office. Projects have ranged from rehabbing parks and pools to creating walking trails. Two past presidents, Art Forcier and Ed Haberli, wanted to combine their $10,000 project stipends to maximize results. At the suggestion of Lion Mike Roberts, they chose to turn an old bathhouse belonging to the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association (QRWA) into a community education center. Located on the shores of the river and a pond, the QRWA provides educational, hands- on and recreational programs to promote conservation and cleanliness of local waterways. The prospect of rehabbing a 1,200-foot area in a rundown building that was currently being used to store watercraft didn’t faze any of the club’s 81 members. After all, explains Dave Swedock, “The Lions are renowned in Meriden for their ‘Dirty Hands’ projects. Many members are skilled tradesmen and contractors and offer their collective talents to complete projects.” Forcier, a Realtor, and Haberli, an electrical contractor, also had plenty of contacts to call upon for donated goods and services. Some grants were also made to the QRWA to help with costs. Had contractors been hired to do the job, Swedock says the cost would have been $100,000. “We had at least 15 full work parties, usually on Saturday mornings,” says Swedock. “Average work parties had a minimum of four to a maximum of 25 Lions and non-Lion volunteers with specific skills who volunteered their time. There were also some weeknight parties needed to complete tasks for the weekend crew. One night the power went out in the area, so Lions worked by generator until it ran out of gas and they were ‘forced’ to go home. “The camaraderie that existed between members was overwhelming at times. Long-lost Lions came out of the woodwork to get involved. Both young and old worked side-by-side. It made the Meriden Lions Club stronger and tighter.” QRWA President Ginny Chirsky says she was shocked when she first learned of Lions’ proposed scope for renovation. “This was far more than we could have hoped for, but I didn’t process any of it until the day I walked in the building and saw Lions everywhere—some were digging trenches in the floor, others were putting in duct work,” she recalls. Less than six months after Lions started, the project was completed. Community groups meet at the Lions Club Learning Center in the evening while programs are held during the day. “We probably serve at least 100 people a month,” estimates Executive Director Mary Mushinsky. “We thank Lions every day as we use this beautiful building.”
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