<b>Roll Out the Welcome Wagon Recruit Lions by Welcoming New Families in Your Community</b> There’s something about the Texas town of McKinney that draws people in and makes them want to call it home. An average of 100 new families move in each month. New hospitals, shopping establishments and homes line the landscape of this Dallas-Fort Worth suburb. With the distinction of three times being named one of the fastest growing cities among those with a population of 50,000 by the U. S. Census Bureau, the Lions club in McKinney has both the challenge and the opportunity to reach out to all these new faces. The 65- member group represents a crosssection of society with various professions and a huge age range. Jim Halphen, a member of the group, moved to the area two years ago and joined the club last year. “My brother-in-law was in it and he seemed to be having a whole lot of fun. I thought I couldn’t let him do that by himself,” Halphen said. “Another secondary purpose was to get to meet some people in the area when we moved in and we figured that that would be a good way to do it.” Immediate Past President Danny Wolf said the club has a variety of avenues to reach out to recently added community members who may not be Familiar with the club. One of the strategies includes placing a brochure about the club in a packet provided by the Chamber of Commerce to new residents. “People are coming into McKinney so heavily that we provide these brochures on a monthly basis,” Wolf said. “The only thing we have to do is pay $5 [to print the brochures] and we have to go down once every six months to stuff the brochures.” Another tactic is to make sure the club is present at a variety of community functions that appeal to potential Lions in all walks of life. “We try to open up a booth for everything. We publicize it beforehand and we staff that booth throughout the event, whether it be one day, two days or whatever,” Wolf said. “Occasionally we use a gentleman from another club who wears a Lions outfit and that gets attention and draws people to the table.” Wolf said Lions ensure that no matter what the club is doing, someone is taking photos and writing a press release to send to the local news outlets. The club ends up sending out about 140 news releases per year, including releases for their visitors’ nights, which they host about every two months. Keeping an updated Web site with contact information for officers has aided their efforts as well. Lori Ellis joined the club last year after she opened her own business and had more time to get involved. “I got on the Web site and contacted the person in membership and said, ‘What do I do?’ ” Ellis said. “I really like the fact that we back up the simplest phrase there is, ‘We Serve’ and we do that.”
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