Pamela Mohr 2016-04-19 05:20:21
USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum Service and Smiles in ‘Must See Omaha’ When you think of Omaha, your first thought may be “beef.” Omaha’s stockyards became famous in the 20th century as the world’s largest meatpacking district. Sure, beef is still big here, but there are now several Fortune 500 businesses and finance, tech and insurance companies headquartered in the greater Omaha metropolitan area. Omaha, which once served as the gateway to the American West, now will be a gateway to learning as an estimated 2,500 Lions attend the 40th annual USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum from Sept. 15 to 17. With the theme of Leadership for Service, the forum offers attendees the opportunity to not only learn exciting new ways to serve as a Lion, but they’ll also be able to actually serve as part of the Centennial Acts of Service. Three large projects are scheduled for “Hands On Saturday.” Lions can participate in KidSight screenings, make 100,000 meals to feed the hungry and recycle both eyeglasses and metals. “We want to better equip Lions to accomplish the goal of the Centennial Service Challenge—100 million acts of service. We’re dedicating a large part of the forum to giving Lions more tools to help serve those in need,” says Dr. Gary Anderson, forum chairperson. “Each attendee will be given a PAWS device to keep, which is an electronic ‘fob’ that accesses the Internet through Wi-Fi. It has an app that shows the convention center layout with all room locations. Every seminar handout is downloadable, and it can scan an exhibitor’s promo material and evaluations on all seminars and the whole forum.” Attendees can read all downloaded material on their synced phone, iPad or electronic device. Omaha’s riverfront provides beautiful views as well as recreational opportunities. Forum organizers call this city “Must See Omaha” because it’s so rich in history, culture and adventure. There are countless things to see and do. Walk across a swinging rope bridge suspended over a tropical rainforest at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium or step aboard historic train cars at the Durham Museum. Explore more than 100 acres of botanical beauty at the Lauritzen Gardens, where you’ll even see a majestic lion (the four-legged kind) fountain presiding over a pool of water. Discover 11,000 exquisite works of art inside the Joslyn Art Museum, one of Omaha’s premier attractions for more than 80 years. Admission is free for most exhibits and you can enjoy a spacious café, gift shop and outdoor sculpture gardens. Lions will be surrounded by public art. The 250,000- square-foot CenturyLink Center and arena where the forum is scheduled is hosting a $2 million, 40-piece art exhibit called “Illumina.” The center is connected to the AAA-rated “four diamond” Hilton Hotel, just one of the 11 designated forum hotels Lions can book through their online registration. Omaha’s central U. S. location, across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs, Iowa, is what makes it such a convenient city to visit. First it drew pioneers, and then tourists. In 1883, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody brought in more than 8,000 paying customers to see his famous Wild West Show. The city hosted the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, a World’s Fair that drew more than 2.6 million eager visitors, including U. S. President William F. McKinley, for the five months the exhibitions were open. Omaha, which once served as the gateway to the American West, now will be a gateway to learning as an estimated 2,500 Lions attend the 40th annual USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum. Omaha is definitely a city for foodies, with restaurants to please any palate and pocketbook. Of course you’ll enjoy top-notch burgers and steaks, but there are pizzerias, seafood and ethnic restaurants, and the usual fast food chains and homey pubs. Trip Advisor ranks vegan restaurant Modern Love No. 18 on the list of more than 1,200 Omaha eateries to visit. Try the homemade root beer sarsaparilla, so you can actually taste a little bit of the Old West. It’s what cowboys ordered in saloons when they weren’t sampling something stronger. And if you still crave a “cheeseburger,” try the lentil patty with smoky cashew cheese. If you like your burger topped with ham and a fried egg, try Dinker’s, a small neighborhood bar and grill open since 1965. Its Haystack is one of Midwest Living Magazine’s “best burger” winners, but there are plenty of different burgers and specials to try. Most of the menu’s meals are well under $10. Check out Omaha’s historic Old Market District for more great restaurants and shops. Sharpen Your Leadership Skills You can begin your forum experience on Thursday, Sept. 15, by participating in the annual Strides Walk for diabetes awareness at noon. Later that evening, enjoy the first of four compelling presentations. Billy Riggs, a world-class illusionist, interacts with his audience during his motivational, inspirational talk. Friday’s luncheon speaker is Jay Blake, a Barnstable-Yarmouth Lion in Massachusetts who was profiled in the July/August 2015 issue of LION Magazine. He lost his sight and sense of smell and taste when a tire exploded and now motivates people to “follow a dream,” which, not coincidentally, is the name of the race car he owns and works on as the pit crew’s chief mechanic. The Chevy Camaro hot rod will be on display throughout the forum in the exhibit hall. The highlight of Saturday’s luncheon is First Vice President Robert E. “Bob” Corlew, who’ll detail his theme and programs for Lions’ exciting and eagerly-anticipated Centennial Celebration during his 2016-17 presidential year. Saturday evening’s concluding banquet’s keynote speaker is Dick Abel, a retired Air Force brigadier general, who’ll emphasize all the ways in which leadership skills can improve every aspect of life. Seminar chairperson Terry Graham says that young Lions and Leos will find seminars and activities specifically geared toward them. “Seminars are dedicated to Lions of all levels,” he says of the more than 60 presentations. “You can learn how to effectively serve your club by recruiting new members, manage projects, and work with local and social media and form new partnerships.” Panel discussions are planned on Lions Quest, environmental projects, planning successful overseas mission trips, organizing and working with Leo clubs and initiating a KidSight screening program. Discover innovative approaches to recycling and attend the “Gizmos and Gadgets for Low Vision” seminar to learn about the latest advances in helpful products. GMT and GLT coordinators will share ideas on how to promote membership and goals. Attendees will also learn about legal and ethical issues, LCIF and how to use MyLCI to report on membership and service activities. Come to Omaha to find inspiration and motivation to meet the Centennial Service Challenge to serve 100 million people by June 2018—and learn how to lead Lions into the second century of service. Visit lionforum.org to register and learn more about what awaits you. Digital LION Watch a video on Omaha and the forum at lionmagazine.org.
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