JAPAN Flower Festival Blooms Despite Setbacks A club’s plan to showcase the glory of nature was nearly ruined by Mother Nature, but in the end Shido Lions were able to create a stunning field of flowers for residents to enjoy. For nine years Shido Lions in Sanuki City in the Kagawa Prefecture have held a successful Cosmos Picking Festival. Residents revel in the outdoors and take home free fresh flowers. The club cleverly capitalizes on the planting cycle: after rice is harvested in late summer, instead of letting the paddies lie fallow until the planting season in the spring, Lions plant cosmos seeds right after the harvest. But last year Typhoon Man-Yi struck the day after the planting, washing away the seeds. Determined to hold the festival as planned, Lions replanted. Then Typhoon Francisco brought torrential rains the day before the festival, forcing its cancellation. The festival was held a week later. As usual, Lions volunteered as parking wardens and served 1,000 plates of udon noodles, popular in Japan. And people headed home with baskets full of colorful, fragrant flowers. HONG KONG Club Frees Inmates’ Creativity A Lions club held a creative arts workshop and design competition for 60 young inmates at a prison dedicated to rehabilitation. The Hong Kong Pacific Lions Club sponsored the activity at Cape Collinson Correctional Institution, a minimum security institution in Chai Wan for male offenders between ages 14 and 21. “I hope the design work can prompt them to rethink their lives and strengthen their determination for rehabilitation,” says Raymond Choy, club president and a professional designer. Tse Sheung-wai, a prison administrator, says the main takeaway for the inmates was that “everyone can design their own life. … They can choose the best way to live if they are determined to do so.” SOUTH OF THE NORTH POLE Lions Come to Town– In Guise of Santa The holidays are a time of religious services–and service, at least for Lions. (Clockwise from upper left) Members of the Itoigawa Lions Club in Japan donned Santa costumes to present gifts to students with special needs at six schools. The presents included 70 dolls handmade by female Lions. Lions entertained the students with a dancing Santa doll in a sleigh, made by an architect-Lion. The gift giving was reciprocal: the children sang Christmas songs for their annual guests. Lions in Germany cleaned out closets and drawers after Christmas in partnering with PACKMEE to send clothes to the needy. Witney Lions in merry old England saved Christmas with an extravagant Christmas Fayre after the Scrooge-like town council canceled the town’s holiday fest for financial reasons. Huddersfield Lions in England showed more than a dash of holiday spirit by holding a Santa run. A horde of Santas worked off holiday cookies by running a mile; the club provided the suits. Tibro Lions in Sweden staged a Christmas market that featured a 20-foot-tall Santa and Sofiero Lions in Sweden sold Christmas trees.
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