Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 2013-03-12 07:40:07
Plant the Seeds of Service Cub Program Can Grow Clubs and Future Lions At the Cadillac Lions’ meetings, there’s something different about some of the attendees leading the pledge of allegiance, collecting tail twister fines and drawing the winning 50/50 ticket—they’re under 11 years old. Known as Cubs, the youngsters in this Michigan club have not only been an integral part of the club since 2009, they have helped the club grow and gain a new vibrancy. Thanks to the Cubs, the Lions have received positive attention in their community, increased fundraising and gained new members, sometimes a whole family at a time. The Cub program is LCI’s initiative to involve children ages 12 and under in Lions clubs. With no minimum number of Cubs and no cost to get started, it’s an easy investment to make for a club’s future. When Cadillac Lion Tim Anderson found out about the program, he knew he wanted to bring the concept to his club. “Instead of letting being a Lion take me away from my family, I brought my family into the Lions,” Anderson says. Within a few months the club had welcomed five Cubs, a number which has since doubled. To make the program successful Anderson knew that it needed to be more than just a name. “The whole idea had to be tangible. The first thing I did was design a Cub logo and T-shirt. Next, I wrote a simple induction script. The Cubs also receive a certificate, activities book, patch and incentives task sheet.” Anderson was confident the program was going to work was when his daughter was sworn in. “Rachael was beaming as she was met with a round of applause and handshakes from the Lions,” Anderson says. The Cadillac Cubs are immediately given age-appropriate responsibilities in which they take pride. During the less engaging times at meetings, the children grab books, crayons and puzzles out of a pre-filled tote bag with Lions rotating supervision of them. “Remember that these are children and sometimes they will get restless. But I’m sure we all have one or two Lions in our clubs that do the same thing once in a while, right?” jokes Anderson. Anderson helped launch a Cub program for the nearby White Cloud Lions, and Becky Strong has been one of the program’s champions. “As Cubs they can belong to something that does good for our community that they can see for themselves,” says Strong. Without the Cub program, Strong may not have become a Lion. “I work and attend school full-time so even though I believe in volunteering, I wanted to do it with an organization that would accept my children so we can spend time together,” explains Strong. Now, Strong is witnessing firsthand the improved self esteem, confidence and satisfaction in serving that her children are experiencing. Families like the Strongs and Andersons are revitalizing their clubs and creating a brighter future. “When we started the Cub program, 95 percent of our members were 55 or older, but now 50 percent are in their 40s or younger,” says Anderson. The Cub program is opening doors for new members, as well as for meaningful moments. When Anderson was contacted by a woman who wanted to join but would not be able to get childcare for her daughter for meetings, he told her about the Cub program. Anderson says, “She started to cry when she realized they could be Lions together. They became Lion and Cub at that night’s meeting.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Recruiting+Members/1342310/150315/article.html.