Learning Fun, Lions-Style Next question, please: Is there really a game show called “Lionopardy?” Yes, there is, with a Caribbean twist. Santa Cruz Lions in Trinidad and Tobago put their own spin on the popular TV show “Jeopardy” to educate and entertain children. Although their contest takes place in a Santa Cruz parish hall and not a studio, the excitement level still runs high. Students are eager to show off their knowledge to family members, friends and teachers in the audience. Lions serve as game show hosts. “The show’s a spin-off of another project, our Know Your Country quiz. We hosted that for 10 years and then we’ve been doing Lionopardy for the last three. The kids come from four schools, but next year we want to include even more,” says Shinelle Grant. Five students between the ages of 9 to 11 compete on four teams. “The game show is a much more exciting format for the kids. It’s fun, and we’ve had some real nail-biting finishes,” she explains. Each student receives a certificate and small cash prize as well as a book from Lions. Grant says the club invests about four months in its effort to develop a study booklet for participants. Two categories are “Trinibagoditions,” which asks children to name traditions in their country, and “Randonomics,” which asks standard math questions children are already learning in school. “We want to create and sustain a culture of lifelong learning,” Grant points out. “What we’re doing is reinventing the quiz into a fun experience for children and raising awareness about Lions and our community.” Up and Down and All Around It Goes Refurbished, repainted and repurposed, the old miniature train that Cheyenne Sunrise Lions operate is similar to that fabled little blue engine that thought it could chug its way over the steep mountaintop—and did. But in Wyoming, it’s not motivation that keeps this train moving. It’s Lions’ own ingenuity. “As parts become unavailable, we just develop new ones to take their place,” says Lion David Woods, one of the club’s several train engineers. The current engine and transmission are from a 1970 Ford Pinto. The three-car train was purchased by the club in 1984 after member John Harper, a past international director, discovered it languishing in storage after a drive-in movie theater closed. Its former role was ferrying families around the drive-in lot to a playground shortly after World War II until the mid-‘60s. Harper has a personal connection. “I was one of those children who rode the train,” he says. “When I suggested to the club that we buy it, members just opened up their wallets, and we bought it for $1,000.” What Lions can’t fix is usually repaired free of charge by an auto repair shop. The train still thrills riders at parades, Super Day in Lions Park, Frontier Days and other area events. It has even made occasional appearances at the state fair. Before Lions bought it, they’d spent hundreds of dollars yearly to build floats for community parades. Now they just drive the train. “We never charge for rides, and we operate virtually anywhere,” says Woods. The train’s been stored in several places, including at Harper’s house, but is currently housed in a deactivated nuclear missile silo that’s been decommissioned just outside of Cheyenne. The train’s cars are each embellished with the name of a Cheyenne Lions club. Even though Sunrise Lions own the train, they also promote the Noon and Evening Lions clubs. “We’re only different because of the times we meet,” says Woods. Lions Party Hearty for Others They call it a party, but what it really turns out to be is a whole lot of work. Illinois Lions in District 1 J don’t mind, though. They’re used to it. “We do this project every two years, although this time there were twice as many glasses as there have been in the past,” says South Elgin Lion Paul Groth. Several Midwestern snowstorms last year delayed previously scheduled work parties until the collection of glasses grew to 270,000. “We had less people than usual working that day, too, but we still got it done in four hours,” he adds. Lions from several clubs were joined by 31 volunteers, most of them high school students. They glasses, stored at the Lions of Illinois Foundation, are sent to another facility for sterilization and eventual use on eye missions in other countries. Special Kids, Special Day in California Californians Sue and Bob Olin know firsthand how hard parents and caregivers of special needs children work to provide a happy life. “Since there are four special needs kids in our extended family, we see the effort it takes to raise a special needs child,” says Bob, who with Sue is a member of the Lincoln Hills Lions Club. “It takes a lot just to be able to have a fun, relaxing time.” The Olins are resolute that families in California raising special needs children will at least enjoy one carefree day, thanks to Lions. In 1999, they initiated a Special Kids Day project in District 4-C3 as members of the Walnut Creek Host Lions Club. It’s now an annual district event. When the Olins moved to a new home in District 4 C5, they helped organize not only their new Lions club in 2010 but also Special Kids Day last year. The Olins found 149 other Lions ready to pitch in, along with Scouts and numerous other volunteers including bikers from a motorcycle club, a ukulele band, an Elvis performer and even cheerleaders from the Sacramento Kings basketball team. There were also horse rides, game booths, a fire engine and rescue squad, face painting and balloons. “We had so many volunteers, we couldn’t count them all,” Sue Olin says. Most of the food was donated, as well as crafting supplies for activities. One Lions club paid for a photo booth and others distributed goodie bags. The bikers carefully gave motorcycle rides to guests. “The bikers were the big hit of the day, with both the kids and Lions,” says Bob Olin. Everyone riding a motorcycle had their photos taken. “A little girl named Amanda had her picture taken and then went over to the arts-and-crafts area to make a picture frame. She decorated it, put her picture in it and came back and gave it to the biker who gave her a ride so he’d remember her,” he recalls. “There wasn’t a dry eye around when she did that.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Service/2391592/290053/article.html.