THE SPIRIT OF ALOHA TO PERMEATE HAWAII CONVENTION WELINA MAI KAKOU! That’s the expression Hawaiians use in warmly greeting a friend. Lions who attend the 98th International Convention June 26 to June 30 in Honolulu will no doubt feel very welcomed. The five days will feature renowned speakers, first-class entertainers, native music, dance and food, and, our course, the full-range of Lions’ convention traditions such as the grand parade, the swearing-in of the new international president and unexpected moments of solidarity between Lions of different cultures but with the same commitment to service and fellowship. Tim Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics, will give the keynote address at the first plenary session. Special Olympics serves 4.4 million Special Olympics athletes in 170 nations. Lions partner with Special Olympics to provide eye screenings and eyeglasses to Special Olympics athletes through the Opening Eyes program. Working with world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Shriver has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. “The most powerful hope of humankind is that we believe that everybody counts and everybody matters,” Shriver told Lions when he spoke at the 96th International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. The entertainment lineup in Honolulu is both diverse and superlative. Soft-rock star Kenny Loggins headlines the International Show. Also playing their hits will be Mickey Thomas from Jefferson Starship and Steve Augeri from Journey. Conveniently, the International Show, plenary sessions, exhibit booths and convention seminars all will take place at the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC). Each of the three plenary sessions also will feature entertainment. The preshow at the first plenary will be a lavish “Lion King” production. The second plenary will offer a Hawaiian show, and the third begins with an exuberant disco dance party. Dancing shoes are optional for attendees. While dishing out dollops of fun, the plenaries also are the “meat and potatoes” of the convention plate. International President Joe Preston of the United States will inform Lions of where the association is at in his farewell speech, and 2015-2016 President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Japan will let Lions know where we are headed in his inaugural address. The plenaries also provide Lions a comprehensive overview of our international service prowess. In the second plenary LCIF Chairperson Barry J. Palmer of Australia will detail the success of our Foundation in tackling worldwide maladies. As a natural setting, Hawaii can’t be topped. From the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast on Kauai to the fiery glow of Kilauea Crater on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii it’s non-stop beauty. Fortunately, the HCC is a worthy counterpart to the outdoor charms. The remarkable facility includes tinkling waterfalls, serene fish ponds and attractive courtyards. Lions, too, are encouraged to blend in: Hawaiian shirts are encouraged! Where Lions gather, service happens, and attendees can take part in the Lions Care 2015 project to benefit the Palama Settlement, a social service agency. Lions can donate toiletries, canned goods and socks at a collection area at the HCC. The HCC also will be a focal point for social media. Lions can post their photos on the Lions Selfie Wall. Lions from the S.M.i.L.E. team will be at the HCC to assist Lions who are uncertain on how to use popular social media tools. Another convention highlight is the announcement of the Peace Poster and Essay Contest winners. The contest winners are recognized during the first plenary session, and a presentation and reception are held later. The humility and joy evident in the young winners are memorable moments. The dozens of seminars at the convention run the gamut—from the latest information on popular Lions programs such as Lions Quest and Youth Exchange to tools and strategies to increasing membership and strengthening clubs. The seminars enable Lions to return to their clubs with knowledge and skills to take their club to a new level of service. This year’s tours are especially appealing. They include the Arizona Memorial and City Tour, A Tale of Two Palaces Tour, the Star Wild Dolphin Watch BBQ and Snorkel Tour, the Explore the Famous North Shore Adventure, the Natural Highlights of Oahu, the Diamond Head Crater Adventure, the Grand Circle Island with Dole Plantation Tour and the Waikiki Starlight Luau. Expect the Lions Clubs’ centennial to be part and parcel of the convention. Expect Hawaii to meet or exceed expectations. Expect the 2015 convention to be a big party, a pinnacle of fun and fellowship and a gathering of Lions like no other. Digital LION • Get a complete list of the convention’s seminars and tours at lionmagazine.org. • Lions Clubs founder Melvin Jones urges Lions to attend the convention in Chicago (June 1937 LION). Read his appeal at lionmagazine.org. • Watch a cool promotional video on the Hawaii convention at lionmagazine.org. Convention + Networking = Service Sure, it can get crowded at times at convention. But with crowds come chance encounters. And with chance encounters come service, at least among crowds of Lions. Caught in a bottleneck near an escalator at the international convention in Toronto last summer, Raija Rosenthal of Toronto made small talk with Dr. Charles B.R. Ibingira, a Kampala Central Lion in Uganda. Rosenthal, past president of the Toronto Finlandia Lions Club, quickly realized Ibingira served in a country with far fewer resources than his. “How can we help?” he asked. “There’s a tremendous need for eyeglasses,” responded Ibingira, a surgeon and dean of the School of Biomedical Sciences at Makerere University. Rosenthal did not hesitate. “Would 3,000 pairs help?” The upshot was that the Toronto Cathay Lions Club announced in January it would purchase 3,000 reading glasses and pay for their shipment to Uganda. Peter Andre of the Dyckesville Lions in Wisconsin also can attest to the value of networking at conventions. A past district governor, he met Shambhu Ghimire, then a district governor in Nepal, at the international convention in Hamburg in 2013. Last year Andre’s son-in-law, a native of Nepal, told him he and his wife were taking a vacation to his homeland. Andre decided to accompany them. But first he let his old pal Ghimire know that he could bring along his new eye screening camera. At a school in Nepal, Andre met up with three optometrists, assorted Lions and dignitaries and 257 children waiting to be screened. He gave the families the test results. The only problem—a big one—was revealed to him when he returned home. “I don’t think the children will ever get glasses,” his son-in-law told him. “Their parents can’t afford them.” So Andre secured glasses from the Wisconsin Lions Foundation with the exact prescriptions needed and shipped them to Ghimire for distribution. The best part is that Ghimire was so impressed with the screening that his club is looking to purchase three cameras of its own. –Jay Copp
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/The+Spirit+Of+Aloha/1951943/249736/article.html.