Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Membership Can Flourish with Families It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday at the IHOP in Loganville, Georgia, and a gregarious group of adults of various ages has convened around a table. Along with them, children are eating dinner, drawing and sometimes joining in with the adults. When strangers approach the group to inquire who they are—which happens often—they gladly tell them all about the Loganville Legacy Lions and invite them, along with their families, to the next meeting or event. Chartered in summer 2011 with the goal of including women, families and children, the Loganville Legacy Lions Club is among a growing number of family-friendly clubs. This approach is working—they already have 91 members. But you don’t need to start a new club to get these results; Lions clubs can bring in new energy, ideas and vigor with some family-friendly fine-tuning. Timing is Everything The Loganville Legacy Lions know that not only meeting location, but meeting time is a key to success. With two choices for their monthly meetings—11:30 a.m. Friday or 6:30 p.m. Tuesday—members attend the meeting that works best for them. And it’s no coincidence that both meetings fall at meal times. “We found that we could increase attendance by giving our members a choice. Some even attend both! We share pictures and information with the whole club via email, our website or Facebook,” says Kim Moore. The 76-year-old East Dubuque Lions Club in Illinois also made some adjustments when it recently shifted to a more family-oriented focus. In addition to moving their meeting time to the 6:00 p.m. dinner hour, the Lions also streamlined their meetings. “We honed down our meeting time and tightened up the agenda, and we make sure to begin and end on time,” says Casey Klein. Family-Style Service When planning service projects, family-oriented clubs make room for everyone’s unique strengths, needs and interests. “I love that we can bring real community issues to the attention of our youth and work side-by-side to address them,” says Loganville Legacy Lion Cyndi Simmons. Moore adds, “To have a truly family-friendly club, we have to have volunteer opportunities that are versatile for all members. For instance, at events we try to pair up parents with others who have children so they can rotate supervision.” Having a crew of younger members also means that clubs that are aging, like the East Dubuque Lions, can benefit from youthful energy. Says Klein, “We’re a passionate group, but we’re getting older. Younger people can give our older members some relief and help keep our club strong.” Same Mission, New Strategies Becoming family-friendly requires members to be flexible, open-minded and lighthearted. “The overall attitude of ‘How do we make it work?’ as opposed to ‘Will it work?’ makes everything run better,” says Loganville Legacy Lion Chuck Bagley. This outlook also helps attract new members. “ ore people will join a club knowing that families can be involved, kids can come to meetings and events and couples can volunteer together,” says Moore. Recruiting families may be easier than you think. For the East Dubuque Lions, Klein explains that it just came naturally for existing members to invite family members. “It’s great that we now have fathers and daughters who are serving side-by-side.” But those new members aren’t always from the younger generation. Moore explains, “One of our families invited their 99-year-old mother to join so she could be involved with them—now that’s what I call ‘family-friendly’!” Did you know that families can receive a dues discount? Search for “Family Membership program” at www.lionsclubs.org to find out more.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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