Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 2014-05-13 12:54:18
A Lions’ Fountain of Youth Interclub Contest Brings Fun, Rejuvenation and Inspiration Lions in Wisconsin have someone to thank for helping them break out of their club comfort zones, gain fresh ideas and find renewed vitality. He’s been spotted crowd-surfing at concerts, providing companionship at chili dinners and even hanging out at LCI headquarters. Who is this Lions’ cheerleader and ambassador, taking District 27 D1 by storm? He’s known as Louie—Flat Louie, that is—but he’s really more of a “what” than a “who.” The Flat Louie project is based on a literacy activity called “Flat Stanley” that teachers have used as a learning tool for years. Students mail paper images of the children’s book character Flat Stanley, along with stories they write about his adventures, to pen pals around the world. Children connect with each other and learn about the world while engaging in this fun activity. When the District 27 D1 Global Membership and Leadership Teams were looking for a way to build club camaraderie and help Lions branch out beyond their own clubs, this seemed like an idea they could work with. “We basically took the Flat Stanley idea and created the Flat Louie contest to help encourage Lions to get to know and help support other clubs, have some fun and bring new ideas and energy back to their clubs,” says Jodi Burmester, District 27 D1 GMT coordinator. The contest is simple: each club receives its own personalized Flat Louie to take along to other clubs’ events and projects over a designated time period. Lions track their visits on log sheets and take photos documenting Flat Louie’s adventures. The clubs with the most events attended and most Flat Louie adventures shared by email or social media receive prizes during a ceremony at the district convention. “Flat Louie is promoted at cabinet and zone meetings, via emails to club officers and on the district Facebook page,” explains Burmester. The Token Creek Lions embraced the contest, winning the award for most adventures shared online. “We had fun bringing Louie with us and trying to get funny pictures of him. He danced at a blues fest and a studied to be a good Lion at a training. Participating in this contest made you feel like a kid again,” says Token Creek Lion Tara Vraniak, who will turn 50 in August. The Cuba City Lions also made the most of the contest, with Past District Governor Jerry Sherwin leading the club to win most events attended. “There is a whole Lionistic world out there that most Lions never see or experience. Flat Louie helped us expand our horizons and realize that being a Lion is more than just what we do within our individual clubs,” says Sherwin. Contest organizers are hoping that as the program continues, more clubs will catch on and take part. “The biggest challenge has been getting all the clubs to recognize the contest’s value. The determining factor for participation seems to be whether clubs have a member who takes ownership of promotion and tracking,” says Burmester. “We’ll continue to get the word out, answer questions and help Lions use tools like Facebook to strengthen the program. We Lions need a chance to come together more, open our eyes to new ways of doing things, and, most importantly, celebrate the service of all Lions.” Digital LION Find a flyer with Flat Louie contest rules, a sample log sheet and contact information for questions at www.lionmagazine.org. Also, find some creative ideas from the past that Lions undertook to energize members: • Colorado club uses a live duck to stimulate attendance (January 1950 LION). • Chicago club invokes the past to build camaraderie (July 1950).
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Club+Improvement+/1711374/209520/article.html.