Pleased to Meet and Meetings That Please Meetings have always played a central role in Lion life, providing the companionship and fun members value so much. From the start, Lion meetings have served as the launching pad for service projects ranging from helping people who are visually impaired to providing disaster relief. That focus on service has been a constant over the years, even as meetings have evolved with the times. In the association’s early days in the 1920s and 1930s, club meetings included practical jokes and a broad humor. Tail Twisters, those masters of disruptive fun, strode through meetings snipping off neckties or cracking waterfilled eggshells over members’ heads. After World War II, Lions expanded around the world and embraced many cultures, and by the 1980s women began joining the Lions. Some of the rough-and-tumble humor that marked the first decades was toned down as membership diversified. Today’s meetings are more streamlined and involve less horseplay, but they still feature plenty of singing, socializing, games and bits of silliness. Members of the Alum Creek Lions Club in West Virginia have opened every meeting since the club’s 1961 founding by singing, “Home on the Range.” The Chilliwack Stellers Jay Lions Club in British Columbia, Canada, raises funds at some meetings with a game that involves tossing the dollar coin known as a “Loonie” into a toilet seat set up on the floor. The Toledo Lions Club in Ohio meets. Meetings have remained an essential aspect of club life over the past century, helping Lions stay connected to one another and to the broader association. The Internet and members with tight schedules have had an effect on Lion meetings as well. Clubs can hold shorter meetings and provide routine information online. And some clubs convene online rather than in person. As Lions clubs have spread around the world, club meetings have evolved to reflect local customs and naturally have a slightly different flavor when conducted in Asia, Europe, South America or Australia. Lions clubs in Switzerland don’t do much singing, but in Japan and Indonesia they do. Hong Kong clubs sing traditional Lions songs, but their meetings also include Chinese blessings. Even in a world where free time is scarce, meetings remain central to the Lion community. Lions take time after a busy day at work to go to a Lions meeting because meetings provide a “feeling that they belong, that they are connected to something larger than themselves,” said William Berkowitz, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, in an interview with LION Magazine. Meetings may change more in the future, but their value to members won’t. Past International President Wayne Madden, who served from 2012 to 2013, told LION Magazine, “Being a Lion is so rewarding precisely because we serve alongside people we know and like and share similar values with.” Read all of the 100 Touchstone stories written for Lions’ centennial at Lions100.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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