Jay Copp 2014-09-10 23:07:54
Readers of the Chicago Tribune on June 8, 1917, learned that the Allies had swept 10 miles into German-held territory in Belgium. Other stories included the trial of a Chicago alderman accused of graft, the apparent suicide of an insurance tycoon on the city’s South Side and a report that one third of the men in Chicago who registered for the draft claimed no exemption for service. Through no fault of its own, the Tribune missed what turned out to be a major event on June 7–which took place just a few blocks from its newsrooms at the swank Hotel LaSalle in Chicago. There, in the East Room, Chicago businessman Melvin Jones convened representatives from 27 clubs from various parts of the nation. Some were called Lions Clubs of Indiana. Others included the Reciprocity Club, the Wheels and the Business and Professional Men of St. Paul. The plan was to form a new association dedicated to service. The representatives held a secret ballot. Ever savvy, Jones did some cloakroom campaigning and his name won out: the Association of Lions Clubs. His vision triumphed, too. Until then, businessmen’s clubs met, dined and traded business. Jones wanted strictly service, not self-service. Don’t pat one another on the back: do something for someone in the community. Lions will be hearing a lot about Jones–and Lions’ remarkable growth and history–the next three years. Launched at the 97th International Convention in Toronto in July, the centennial celebration has officially begun. Lions Clubs International (LCI) will produce and make available a treasure trove of material to help Lions appreciate their heritage. Lions, for their part, can celebrate. And serve. Befitting a centennial, the key number is 100: serve 100 million people. Lions are asked to improve vision care for 25 million people, relieve hunger for 25 million, help 25 million youths through education, literacy efforts or other ways and benefit 25 million people through planting trees and other environmental projects. This is a birthday celebration, so piece of cake, right? Well, not so fast. Clubs typically report to LCI that Lions serve 8 million people annually. So the Centennial Service Challenge is truly challenging. What will help is the challenge piggybacks on the Global Service Action Campaigns. For the past few years clubs already have been targeting youth, vision, hunger and the environment through Engaging Youth in August, Sharing the Vision in October, Relieving Hunger in December/January and Protecting the Environment in April. The centennial theme is Where There’s a Need, There’s a Lion. The occasion is far more than a feel-good event or focused solely on service. Lions leaders expect the extended birthday bash to energize and grow membership, attract new service partners, develop new service opportunities, raise awareness of Lions and envision the future. Next year, Lions will roll out a Centennial Membership Challenge. LCI has been putting pieces into place to ensure the goals are met and each club and Lion can take part in the celebration. There will be a centennial website and publications, toolboxes, an e-newsletter, a heritage blog and other social media directly tied to the anniversary. Trained heritage ambassadors will fan out to club and district meetings to speak on Lions’ history. The website is already up and running at lions100.org. It’s “one-stop shopping” for all things centennial. Included are FAQs and information on earning banner patches. Few Lions understand the depth, range and scope of Lions’ contributions to society. The centennial will help correct that. In the works are a story bank, a traveling exhibit and a documentary. The centennial will be a lever for Lions to reach out to their communities. Among the plans are a Lion for a Day for clubs to recognize those who share Lions’ values and a Global Service Challenge, similar to the recent World Lunch Relay (June LION). So Lions can put on their party hats and keep them on until the centennial concludes with a rollicking celebration at the 2017 convention in Chicago, where it all began. The roars you hear that week won’t be from the Lincoln Park Zoo. A Century of Service 1917 Melvin Jones and fellow Chicago businessmen found Lions Clubs to improve the community; the first convention takes place at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas. 1920 Lions clubs become international by chartering a club in Windsor, Canada. 1925 During the international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, Helen Keller charges Lions with becoming “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” 1930 Lion George Bonham paints a cane white with a wide red band to aid the visually impaired after he witnesses a blind man having trouble crossing the street. 1935 Amelia Earhart, an honorary member of the New York City Lions Club, completes a record-breaking nonstop flight from Los Angeles to the Lions Clubs International Convention in Mexico City. Lions donate a Talking Book machine to the Milwaukee Public Library allowing the blind to hear books. 1939 Members of the Detroit Uptown Lions Club turn an old Michigan farmhouse into a school to train dog guides for the visually impaired, helping to popularize guide dogs worldwide. 1944 The world’s first eye bank is created in New York City. Most eye banks today are Lions-sponsored. 1945 Lions assist in drafting the United Nations charter, starting a lasting bond with the United Nations. 1948 Only three years after having been torn apart by World War II, Europe sees its first Lions club in Stockholm, Sweden, and Geneva, Switzerland, follows suit just days later. A Lions club is formed in Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Kalaupapa is a leper colony, and all the charter members have Hansen’s disease (leprosy). 1954 After an international contest among Lions, an official motto is chosen– “We Serve” submitted by Lion D. A. Stevenson of Fonthill, Ontario, Canada. 1957 Lions launch youth programs including Leo Clubs. 1968 The Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is established. 1971 LCI moves to its fourth and final location in Oak Brook, Illinois, after decades in downtown Chicago. 1973 In February, the association welcomes its 1 millionth member. 1977 Lion Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, becomes president of the United States. 1987 The association allows women to become members. 1990 SightFirst is launched, raising more than $415 million dollars to help eradicate major causes of blindness. 2001 LCIF and Special Olympics partner on Opening Eyes, screening the vision of Special Olympics athletes. 2002 Lions charter two clubs in China, that nation’s first voluntary membership groups since the 1950s. 2003 Through SightFirst, Lions and The Carter Center record their 50 millionth river blindness treatment. 2004 Lions mobilize more than US$15 million for South Asia tsunami relief–the single largest disaster reconstruction project in LCIF’s history. 2010 LCIF partners with Bausch + Lomb to launch the Pediatric Cataract Initiative. 2011 LCIF awards its 10,000th grant– bringing the total amount awarded to US$708 million. Lions help administer the 148 millionth dose of Mectizan to treat river blindness. 2017 Lions will celebrate 100 years of service. A more complete timeline is at lions100.org. Digital LION Watch an interesting video on the centennial at lionmagazine.org. Read the commemorative booklet published for Lions Clubs’ golden anniversary in 1967. WHAT IS THE CENTENNIAL Service Challenge? 25 million people benefited YOUTH Special Goal : Provide 10 million youth with books & literacy Key Service Areas* : • Education Scholarships • Leo Club Sponsor • Sports/Music Instruments • School Supplies • Computers & Aids • Lions Quest • Peace Poster Contest • Youth Camps & Exchange VISION Special Goal : Provide 10 million children with eye care Key Service Areas* : • Vision Screenings • Low Vision Aids • Braille Education • Mobility/White Canes • Sight Restoring Surgery • Eye Banking • Eyeglass Recycling HUNGER Special Goal : benefited Provide 10 million people with ongoing food assistance Key Service Areas* : • Food Pantries • Soup Kitchens • Feeding Programs • Meal Delivery • Agricultural/Garden Projects ENVIRONMENT Special Goal : Plant 10 million trees Key Service Areas* : • Recycling Projects • Sanitation & Latrines • Solar Energy & Lights • Parks, Playgrounds & Green Spaces • Nature Cleanup Campaigns
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/The+Centennial+Celebration+Begins/1808303/224775/article.html.