CHICAGO: OUR KIND OF TOWN June 25, 2017. Memo from club president: Will the last Lion out of town please turn out the lights? See you in Chicago. OK, not every Lion will come to Chicago for the 100th International Convention June 30 to July 4. It just seems that way. Registrations are through the roof. Advance registration closes May 1, though registration can be done onsite. This will be no ordinary convention. Highlights include top-notch entertainment such as Chicago and the Beach Boys, major speakers such as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a memorable ceremony marking the centennial, an interactive historical exhibit, a festive parade on State Street in the heart of downtown and a full slate of outstanding seminars and tours of the city. This convention also will be notably more convenient, accessible and Lion-friendly. Everything—both the exhibit hall and the plenary session venue—will be at McCormick Place. The hall is open longer. Voting has been made easier. Delegates no longer need delegate forms if they can access MyLCI. Also, delegates can get certified and vote at the same time. Moreover, the plenary sessions have been streamlined. For example, instead of being part of the second plenary, slowing it down, the nomination speeches for directors have been moved to a business meeting on Saturday, the second day of the convention. More so than ever, the centennial convention will be Lion-centric. Hands-on service projects will be offered both onsite and at various spots in Chicago. Among the activities are cleaning a beach, gardening at an urban farm and packing items at a food bank. A $25 fee covers the cost of a commemorative T-shirt, transportation and refreshments. Lions also can take a guided tour of headquarters in suburban Oak Brook. Recently modernized and re-landscaped, headquarters includes the re-created office of Melvin Jones containing memorabilia such as the lion rug given to him by Winston Churchill, his briefcase and passport, the wall of presidents with portraits of the 100 international presidents and a powerful statue evoking both the toll of river blindness and the heroic efforts by Lions to curtail the disease. The tour cost including round-trip transportation and a commemorative souvenir is $35. Some Lions may wish to travel on their own to headquarters. Reservations are required to make sure all visitors can be accommodated. An independent tour costs $10 and includes a souvenir. Finally, the future of Lions will be unveiled as Lions leaders roll out the LCI Forward plan. Lions Clubs is evolving for the better, and convention attendees can learn firsthand what service will be emphasized and how clubs will be encouraged to enhance membership and operations. Another attraction of convention this year is the opportunity for Lions to share their wisdom and experience as Lions or even their personal talents. Modeled loosely after the popular Ted Talks, in which experts or highly placed people share their knowledge or insights, Lions Campfire sessions will allow Lions to talk about how they attracted new members, revamped club meetings or other topics of their own choosing. The talks will be 30 minutes at most with another 15 minutes for questions. Advance registration is required. The Lions Performance Stage in the exhibit hall will allow singers, dancers and musicians to share their talents with Lions worldwide. Among the performers registered so far are a brass band and a dance troupe. Bring your guitar, accordion or saxophone and entertain Lions with music they may have never heard! Another draw of convention will be a grand prize drawing, likely for a car or motorcycle, at the second plenary session. More details are forthcoming. The skyline and North Avenue Beach are two attractions of our centennial convention city. Convention is packed with things to do, but Lions also can tour Chicago and enjoy its world-class architecture, appreciate its rich musical heritage and learn more about its amazing history. Among the 11 tours are the Architectural River Cruise, the Jazz Blues and Beyond tour and the Gangster Tour, which includes the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Both Lions history and Chicago history will be featured in the Melvin Jones/Mount Hope Cemetery and South Side Highlights tour. The tour includes Jones’ refurbished gravesite and Hyde Park and Jackson Park, where former President Obama lived and where his presidential library will be. The South Side also will be crawling with Lions one night as tickets will be available to Lions for a White Sox game against the archrival Yankees, no less. As White Sox fans will attest, the South Side ballpark has better food than its North Side counterpart and the beer is cheaper as well. Alas, the world-champion (!) Cubs are out of town during convention, but the Cubs offer tours of Wrigley Field. But back to the convention itself—where Lions from around the world will gather in fellowship, celebrate the glorious past and help shape the next century of Lions. Besides Chicago and the Beach Boys, also performing will be the Charlie Daniels Band, Patti LaBelle, David Archuleta of “American Idol” fame, American English (a Beatles cover band), folk/country singer Anna Fermin, the high-energy Blues Brothers Revue, the inspiring African Children’s Choir and crooners Edward and Belinda Lee. Chicago has been in the news lately—for all the wrong reasons. Any big city has its risks, but Chicagoans know that serious crime is, sadly enough, concentrated in a few neighborhoods. As with any urban area, attendees should be aware of their surroundings, mindful of their valuables and put away their convention name badge when sightseeing. So, if you enjoy being a Lion and meeting Lions, Chicago this summer is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only appreciate the service accomplished by millions of Lions in 100 years but to take part in the opening days of the second century of Lions. It’s a chance to blaze new trails of service and set new standards for fellowship and fun. Visit lionsclubs.org or LCICon.org for complete information on the convention. Extra Digital Content Watch an exciting promotional video about Chicago and the convention. Get more information on our Centennial Convention at LCICon.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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