Ride for Sight A 100-mile Ride for Sight sponsored for the past 20 years by Cheyenne Sunrise Lions in Wyoming raised $10,000 in 2012 for sight-related activities. “It has seen some ups and downs in participation over the years, but the trend has definitely been upward,” says David Orr. The proceeds are designated for organizations including the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, Lions of Wyoming Foundation, LCIF, Leader Dogs for the Blind and the Lions of Wyoming Foundation. Funds also support the Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp in Casper and cover the cost of eye surgeries and eyeglasses. Each rider pays $45 and sponsorships from local businesses range from $50 to $2,000. Riders can purchase commemorative jerseys from Lions; each registered rider receives a free T-shirt, water bottle and goodie bag with items donated by local merchants. Orr says the ride is an annual success because of three important reasons—“community service, outdoor exercise and a family activity.” Lions provide four rest stops during the route that takes as many as 200 riders through the prairie of southeast Wyoming. “The route is 50 miles out and back,” Orr explains. “Riders may go 10 miles and turn around for a total of 20 miles or any combination up to the full 100 miles. About a quarter of the riders complete the entire 100- mile course. We provide ‘sag wagons’ for those who can’t complete the ride. Ham radio communications between rest stops and sag wagons are provided by a local ham radio club.” The services of a roving bike mechanic accompanied by a ham radio operator are donated by a local bicycle store, which also provides a free bike to be raffled. Walking to Fight Cancer Hammonton, New Jersey, came together as a community to raise money for the local cancer foundation. Sponsored by the Hammonton Lions Club, the walk held at a middle school track raised $14,000 in two hours. The money was raised through entry fees and sponsorships. “The club committed $1,000 to help sponsor the event, held in honor of several members who are cancer survivors and in memory of those members who lost their battle with this disease,” says Carol Orsi, who as president of the 72-member club last year chose the walk as her “president’s project.” The foundation helps cancer patients struggling to meet medical and other expenses during their treatment. “We asked the community to join us in honoring or remembering their own family members and friends as well as to support efforts to ease the financial burdens that cancer patients face,” she explains. The 125 walkers received a T-shirt and badge to wear as a survivor or in honor of the memory of a loved one. Members of the Hammonton Cancer Foundation distributed information about their organization to participants, and chair massages were offered with all proceeds going to the walk. Fishing Derby Reels ’Em In Big Lake Aurora Lions in Alaska are up for challenges: after all, they live in an area that has an average yearly snowfall of 60 inches. So it was no challenge to them to keep scads of children happily casting their lines during the club’s 6th annual fishing derby at the Montana Creek Campground. They did, however, have to send their club treasurer out to buy more prizes in Wasilla when they quickly realized that a record number of kids were competing. “We only had prizes for 100 kids, and we had a whopping turnout of 141 kids,” says President Ben Kleinenberg. Located 23 miles from Wasilla, Alaska’s sixth largest city, the 31-member club is one of two Lions clubs in Big Lake. Both the Aurora and Big Lake Lions clubs are strong supporters of Alaska’s Camp Abilities for youths with visual impairments. The $2,100 raised from the 2012 derby was matched by the Spenard Lions Club to fund a donation of $4,200 to Camp Abilities in Anchorage. Big Lake Aurora Lions began sponsoring a fishing derby six years ago to help raise money to send kids to camp. Held at the Montana Creek Campground, the derby is open to children under 16 and features categories for different age groups. The event does more than just generate funds for the camp. “It helps raise the participating kids’ awareness of the more challenged kids and their needs,” says Kleinenberg. The club matches each $15 entry fee with all money going to Camp Abilities. A 5-year-old boy won the derby by catching a 26-1/2 inch “humpy,” a pink salmon. Lions keep local kids busy, says Kleinenberg, who adds that the club already has several youthful fans. “One young man, Jesse, has been part of our group at all our events, and those sponsored by the Big Lake Lions as well. He is too young to be a Leo yet, but that hasn't stopped him. He's 10 and can't wait until he can join. Meanwhile, he is part of ‘the crew.’” Adds Kleinenberg, “We also had several kids sign up for the derby who compete in our winter [snowmobile] racing events for kids 3-to 10-years old called the Kitty Kat Races. It was good to see them wearing summer clothes since I normally see them all bundled up in layers with helmets on.” It’s a popular weekly winter activity, drawing a lot of families with only a $5 entry fee—and also a few moose who hang around the track and have to be shooed away by Lions.
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