The marvelous ginkgo tree can live for 1,000 years or more. It is an apt symbol of heritage, adaptability and utility–which is why I chose it as a symbol of my presidency. Lions, I have served as your international president for just one year. But I believe that in 2009-10 Lions worldwide have embraced my theme of Move to Grow and we’ve moved our association forward with great success and much hope for continued growth and success. Lions have planted ginkgo trees to strengthen and develop our association in many ways. We’ve served our communities with great energy and innovation, started new clubs and inducted new members, and showed the public who Lions are and why we’re absolutely vital. The number of new clubs is up 12.5 percent from last year, the best we’ve done in a dozen years. The latest figures show that our overall net growth is 24,079 members, compared to 17,058 the previous year. China has 113 new clubs and Africa has 46 new ones. The Global Membership Team and Lion leaders deserve a round of applause. Lions have stepped forward for leadership training, a prerequisite for any organization with grand goals. Nearly 450 Lions representing 302 districts graduated from the Senior Lions Leadership Institutes. Applications for this program exceeded program capacity by 26 percent. Additionally, 45 Regional Lions Leadership Institutes are being held this year and 3,800 Lions will be trained, a 36 percent jump from last year. Two initiatives I personally championed did very well. The Lions in Sight Campaign was held in January to raise awareness of Lions. Districts from every constitutional area participated and local media covered the events. The Global Youth Music Competition proved to be popular and representatives from each constitutional area will compete in Sydney at the international convention. The list of successes goes on. The Leo program was rebranded and rejuvenated. Our e-Clubhouse (a Web site template) grew to 2,300 sites. Lions Quest marked its 25th anniversary and expanded its presence; it now operates in 57 nations. This year Move to Grow has been a constant reality and an overarching guide to Lions. It’s been my great privilege to serve as your international president, and Margit and I are immensely grateful for the kindness and hospitality shown to us. We wish you well and, for the last time, express our deep appreciation and admiration for the invaluable service you give to your community. Eberhard J. Wirfs Lions Clubs International President
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