Jay Copp 2015-10-14 20:30:51
Clubs capitalize on popular events, attractions and places to raise funds. Parading Our Pride in Service Everyone loves a parade—at least 400 million people do. That’s the typical worldwide viewing audience for the enchanting Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. The Lions Clubs International float, a parade staple since 1992, gets about 30 seconds of air time. Lions write the copy for the parade TV hosts, who usually stick closely to the script. “It’s a fantastic public relations program for Lions,” says Past District Governor Ross Adams, who has served on the Lions Float committee since 1995. The committee’s two dozen or so Lions from seven districts select a float theme to match the overall parade theme and oversee the donations from clubs and selling of shirts, pins, patches and even seats on the float to pay for the building of the 35-foot float. It’s no small task. Parade rules require that “every inch of the float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials such as leaves, seeds or bark.” California Lions and even visiting Lions begin constructing the float the first Saturday in December, and fresh flowers, kept in vials of water, are added after Christmas. A Memorable Memorial Day The three-hour National Memorial Day Parade in Washington in May included 10,000 participants, featured celebrities such as actor Gary Sinese, rock star Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and “American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson and drew a worldwide viewing audience on the Pentagon Channel. The parade also featured Lions. Many veterans among them, Lions have marched for the last seven years. The “sea of purple,” created by the crush of club banners, consisted of Lions from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. The Lions serve even while marching: they typically collect hundreds of eyeglasses along the route, says Past District Governor Woody Woodward of Virginia. Digital LION Watch a video of the Lions in the parade at lionmagazine.org. Glories of Nature Legendary conservationist John Muir once described Yosemite as “by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” Today it’s the frequent playground of the Yosemite Lions Club, which holds activities in majestic Yosemite National Park. The backdrop to the club’s Easter egg hunt is a thundering—and world-famous—waterfall. “It’s pretty special to be here—in the shadow of the Yosemite Falls,” says Brett Archer, a past president and general manager of the Ahwahnee Hotel in the park. Many of the club’s 20 members work for the National Park Service or at a venue within the park. “Yosemite is a community. We’re a community in a national park,” says Archer. The members are local, but the club’s projects, especially its golf tournament/pancake breakfast, draw Californians from hours away—for good reason. The Wawona Golf Course, the first and for years only golf course in a national park, blends seamlessly into the spectacular landscape. The club pulls in a good chunk of the Yosemite community with its annual barbecue. The late summer gathering is known as the Mosquito Festival, a celebration of the end of the mosquito season. Super Pancakes Last year was Super Bowl XLIX, and this year it will be Super Bowl 50. Faribault Lions in Minnesota won’t label their annual flapjack event in early February 2016 as Pancake and Sausage Breakfast 50. But they well could. And they could have designated their event last year on Feb. 1 as Pancake and Sausage Breakfast XLIX. For 49 years the club has held its breakfast on the same day as Super Bowl Sunday. The first year was pure coincidence. Then the club realized having a game day tradition makes it easy for people to remember it and incorporate it into their Super Bowl Sunday schedule. Lions typically serve 5,000 sausages and many more pancakes to 900 people and raise close to $5,000, says Past International Director Deb Wasserman, a member. Until last year, when he decided to pass the spatula, Ray Sanders, 87, chaired the fundraiser. So call him XLIIX Chair Ray. A Tradition Unlike Any Other Drive for show. Park for dough. You’ve probably know about the green jacket, the azaleas and Amen Corner. The Masters Golf Tournament is all about hallowed traditions. You can add Lions to that mix. For a quarter century the National Hills Lions Club has parked cars and buses for the Masters in April in Georgia. For $20, golf fans get to park in a lot a chip shot from the course. A Pep Boys and Jiffy Lube donate their lots to the club. In return, Lions monitor the lot for the businesses. Last year the club brought in $14,000, designated for a camp for the blind, guide and leader dogs and other causes, says Past District Governor Cecil Geddings. John Goodin, 2014-15 president of the National Hills Lions Club, directs a parker while Dr. Joe Griffin shows the price. A Long Day at a Long Run Taking part in the New York City Marathon requires endurance and stamina for hour after hour. And that’s just if you are handing out water and Gatorade—as Hollis Lions and Leos have done since 2009. Last November they served about 15,000 runners at mile eight in Brooklyn. Needing to quickly serve wave after wave of competitors, the Lions furiously filled cups as Leos, supple arms outstretched, handed them out to runners dashing by. Race day is a long one. Volunteers arrive at 5:30 a.m. for setup and don’t leave until around 2 p.m. after sweeping up discarded cups. Fuel for the Ride To describe the Ragbrai as a bike ride is to refer to the Super Bowl as a football game. The seven-day ride across Iowa, the world’s largest bike touring event, is a rolling celebration of two-wheeled fellowship. This past July the Ackley Geneva and Webster City Lions cooked pancakes for riders as they cycled through their towns. Cyclists often ride a bit before eating breakfast, and Ackley was the second town riders passed through one morning. “One guy ate four pancakes. Then he had three more,” says Ackley Geneva Lion Ken Reed. “These are nice-sized pancakes. I saw him later and asked if he wanted more. He said he already had five more.” Off to the Races in Michigan Six hundred miles separate Louisville, Kentucky, and Bark River, Michigan, but the excitement level reaches a fever pitch at the latter when the thoroughbreds rumble down the track in May at the Kentucky Derby in Churchill Downs. The Delta Menominee County Heart of the North Lions Club has thrown a lavish Kentucky Derby party for the last three years that includes dinner, dancing, mint juleps and a race raffle. Tickets are placed in a bucket with horses’ names. The all-women’s club with 38 members also holds a delightful hat contest. If the race doesn’t thrill you, chances are the hats will. Crowd Funding in New York How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise. The New York Japanese American Lions Club solicited donations at the famed concert venue for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Nearly 20 Lions and volunteers raised about $3,500 at the New York Chorus Festival. The club also shrewdly took advantage of the masses of people by having artists painting and selling works of art in Times Square; the artists donated their time and talents. Lions with donation boxes solicited funds as well. Everyone Loves This Parade When in or near New Orleans, do as everyone else does and hold a parade to celebrate Mardi Gras. The Pearl River Lions Club Parade has been a cherished tradition for more than 20 years. There are beads and bands, costumes and characters, a rolling, roaring river of good times, courtesy of the club and its 23 members. The Thrill of Cold, Hard Cash So, guess what a club named Speedway located near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana does to raise funds? Take a victory lap if you guessed parking cars. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway gives the Speedway Lions Club 20 acres to park cars and campers to raise money. Campers start to roll in four days before the Indy 500. The club parks cars for three other events, but the Indy 500 is its biggest activity.
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