YOUR GUIDE TO THE GREAT WORK WE’RE DOING AROUND THE WORLD 1 OCEANIA NEW ZEALAND Fun Is Indigenous for Campers When in New Zealand, do as the Maori do. The 41 participants at a recent International Youth Camp in New Zealand swam, jet skied, climbed rocks, bowled, mini-golfed and enjoyed other youthful activities. But they also slept on a marae, prepared food for the hangi and mastered the kapa haka–all part of the culture of the Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. “We had an action-packed itinerary, and come rain or shine, managed to fit everything in,” says Stu Gray, camp director. “They were an amazing group of young adults and great ambassadors for their countries.” The youths came from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico and New Zealand. The eight Lions clubs that hosted the camp made sure the youths interacted and bonded. An opening ceremony included an ice breaker event. The Whakatane Sunshine Coast Lions then hosted a tea that introduced the campers to Maori culture and protocol. New Year’s Day included card games and movies. The youths shared their own culture through a Country of Origin concert. In between the outdoor fun and impromptu socializing the youths learned about the Maori. They spent a night on a marae, an area of cleared, rectangular land bordered with stones or wooden posts. They used a hangi, or earth oven, to cook dinner. And forget about the hokey pokey–they did the kapa haka, a mesmerizing Maori dance. 2 CENTRAL AMERICA COSTA RICA Christmas Comes Early in Costa Rica Living in a remote wooded spot in ramshackle homes and struggling to feed and clothe their children, several families in Costa Rica were visited by Lions and Leos bearing gifts. Santo Domingo Lions and Santo Domingo de Heredia Leos delivered food and toys to the families, who gratefully received the gifts and warmly thanked their benefactors. 3 EUROPE FRANCE The Art of Making a Living Lions in Dieppe, a French coastal city founded in the Middle Ages, have discovered that the past is a key to the securing of the future of working-class youths. The Dieppe Doyen Lions Club holds an all-day forum in which stone cutters, sculptors, glass workers, specialized roofers and other artisans involved in restoring and maintaining historic buildings showcase their talents. The artists demonstrate that the durable beauty of the ancient castles, churches and other structures of Europe is no accident. Last year at the forum a mosaic artist created a likeness of the Duchesse of Berry (a legendary figure who invented sea bathing), a glass expert restored a church’s stained glass window and a thatcher explained the intricacies involved in repairing a thatched roof. The artisans answer questions about their livelihood, and the Lions, who partner with tourist officials and other regional authorities on the forum, produce a colorful, 30-page brochure on opportunities as an artisan. Besides the artisans, students from technical high schools display their abilities with woodworking, ironwork and cabinetry. Attending the forum are students from area middle and high schools as well as local residents interested in preservation and restoration. The Art Heritage Career Forum has drawn more than 2,500 attendees in its nine-year history. A member of the Dieppe Doyen Lions Club who is the CEO of a company that restores historic buildings provides guidance for the project. “Our club pursues a simple ideal: encourage manual labor and show that local artisans are successful while supporting our heritage,” says Claude Landais, project coordinator. 4 EUROPE ITALY Barrels of Fun in Italian Town Roll out the barrel. Ring out the name of Lions. That’s the idea behind the zany barrel race held by the Garda Valtenesi Lions Club in Italy. Five-person teams run and roll a barrel, emblazoned with the Lions logo, along a 1.5-mile course through the city streets. The fun competition is about bragging rights: the winning team receives a colorful banner, proudly displayed either in the city hall of the first-place team or at the offices of the sponsoring sports company. “The aim of this project is to involve youth, sports companies, wine manufacturers and the community in general and to make Lions better known in their communities,” according to the Italian edition of LION Magazine. 5 AFRICA SOUTH AFRICA Plants Bloom in South Africa, Membership Grows Lions in Still Bay (Stilbaai in Afrikaans), a seaside village on the Western Cape of the Republic of South Africa, belong to a community prized as a popular tourist destination. Its population of around 6,000 swells during summer holiday season to nearly 40,000. The sunny seashore is hardly the only attraction—visitors flock to a rare “fynbos” park comprised of vegetation native to the area. Famed for its biodiversity, South Africa is the only place fynbos are found. The park has 173 different species of native plants (11 on the endangered list) on 3.5 acres. The plants are extraordinary in that they only grow in the alkaline soil found in the region. These plants are believed to have helped early humankind survive during the planet’s ice age that killed off early species and vegetation 180,000 years ago. Lions wanted all visitors to share in the beauty of this unique botanical wonder. They volunteered 120 hours of their labor and donated more than ZAR$35,000 (US$4,210) to create a wheelchair-accessible Braille trail, complete with a sensory garden and a small waterfall to provide the exhilarating sound of falling waters. The club spent another several hundred dollars purchasing benches and plants. Working with their hands to create something beautiful and useful during the two-month construction phase created plenty of attention in the community. “Our media coverage and the way Lions represent themselves in public also make a positive contribution,” says Lion Bettie Kastner. “We are seen serving.” A rope railing on the trail guides blind visitors, who are alerted to stop at one of the 20 items of interest by wooden knobs fitted on the rope. A short concrete pillar at each stopping point bears a small plaque that details each plant in both Braille and print. Plantings by Lions are both exceptionally fragrant and hardy enough to withstand touching by the blind as they feel different textures. The surge of publicity and good will for Still Bay Lions has continued after the trail’s official unveiling. “We were on the verge of closing down,” says Kastner. “The project ‘resurrected’ us. Since then we have nearly doubled our membership.”
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