Touchstone Story–Scouting

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In the steadily pouring rain, a tent city near Missoula, Montana, kept its inhabitants mostly dry. Six field kitchens staffed by Army cooks kept them fed, and hospital tents stood ready for any illnesses or injuries.

But this was no army. The inhabitants were not soldiers—they were boys from the ages of 10 to 18, who had gathered to test their skills, make new friends and put on a show.

This was a Boy Scouts Camporee.

The Boy Scouts of America’s mission is to teach boys to become responsible young men. Scout Law states that “a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” It only makes sense that so many Scouts have grown up to become Lions.

“Scouts and Lions foster the same ideals,” said David Cox of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The Bridgewater Lions Club is one of many that have organized traditional pancake breakfasts, served up by local Boy Scout troops.

The Boy Scout Camporee outside of Missoula was held in 1939, but a scene from that rainy day could have taken place at any point over the past century. The Missoula Lions Club was on hand to sponsor the Scouts and support the circus show the Scouts put on as a fundraiser. Some Boy Scouts who become Lions serve as Scoutmasters, taking a direct hand in guiding the next generation of Scouts. By the early 1930s, the Berkeley Lions Club in California was sponsoring the first Boy Scout troop for blind boys. In 1950, three Lions led a troop made up entirely of Scouts who were blind, combining Lions’ long-running commitment to helping people who are visually impaired with their mentorship of Scouts.

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America likewise has a long history of support and cooperation with Lions. From sponsorship to joint fundraising efforts, Girls Scouts and Lions have worked together throughout the past century to “Do a Good Turn Daily,” as the official Girl Scouts slogan states. 

Lions clubs sponsor more scout troops in the United States than any other secular organization. Lions and youth scouting organizations share common goals, so it’s only natural that they’ve forged such a strong bond.

“Scouts learn leadership, but it ends after high school,” said David Cox. “That’s where Lions can step in.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings! 


Touchstone Story #37–Expanding to ISAAME

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In 1952, Lebanon became the 39th country to join Lions Clubs International. Sponsored by the Mexico City Lions Club, the Beirut Lions Club received its charter at a ceremony on Sept. 4 from international director Miguel Abed, a Mexican Lion with Lebanese heritage, and immediately began working on a project to construct a school for the city’s blind.

While the entry of a new country into the Lions family is always cause for celebration, this occasion also marked Lions expansion into new territory: the Middle East. Lions soon began to spread to other nations in the region and became known as ISAAME (India, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East), with Morocco, Jordan, and Algeria joining in 1953. As of 2015, approximately 20 percent of all Lions clubs resided within the ISAAME constitutional area.

The first Lions nation in the region, Lebanon, has maintained its enthusiasm for service through more than six decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, Lebanon went through a time of severe unrest, yet Lions endured and remained one of the only service organizations in operation during the war. When a Lebanese boy, Mustapha El Tawokji, won the first Lions International Peace Poster Contest in 1988-89, Lions in the country couldn’t have been more delighted.

“I was just a child who didn’t know the meaning of peace,” said El Tawokji. Years later, he still proudly recalls the scope of his achievement, “showing the world that someone from Lebanon, this small country that didn’t know anything about peace, could win this prize and put our country on the world map for peace.”

In December 2013, after thousands of people fled to Lebanon as civil war escalated in Syria, Lions in Norway and Lebanon connected over the Internet to organize support for the refugees Soon Lions from the two countries delivered a caravan of goods to the Arsal refugee camp where basic necessities were in short supply, making Lions the first foreign nongovernmental organization, other than the United Nations, to arrive at the camp.

In addition to bringing relief to refugees, clubs across Lebanon can be found planting trees, hosting health screenings, launching disease awareness campaigns, supporting child abuse prevention, donating hearing aids, providing care for the blind and funding cataract surgeries. It is this Lions spirit of service, international understanding and friendship that Lions in Lebanon and all over the ISAAME constitutional area will continue to bring to their region for years to come.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!

A Lion delivering supplies in Puerto Rico

Lions and LCIF Provide Relief to Hurricane-Stricken Puerto Rico

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In the wake of the worst natural disaster in Puerto Rico’s history, Lions are doing all they can to bring much-needed relief to the area. Lions in  Multiple District 51 are supporting their communities by distributing food. Districts 51-C, 51-E, and 51-O are each distributing food to more than 6,000 people per day in many different communities around the area with funding from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).

Lions leaders in Multiple District 51 are currently making plans to provide further relief by accessing the ongoing needs of the communities. If you would like to help bring relief to those who need it most, consider donating to our disaster relief fund.

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Touchstone Story #84–Paperless Lions

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How many Lions are there around the world and what are they doing to serve others? Not long ago such questions required searching through piles of paperwork at Lions Clubs International headquarters. Today,, Lions’ online membership and service reporting system, has the answers with a mere mouse click or two. 

“Technology and our service [are] really the key to the success of this organization,” said Past International President Clement Kusiak, who served from 2004 to 2005.

The modernization of Lions records management accelerated with advances in digital technology in the early 21st century. At headquarters, the data gathering and processing functions moved to larger and more powerful mainframes, then to networked systems and ultimately to the Internet. In 2003, Lions launched the Web Monthly Membership Reporting, known as WWMR, which allowed online filing of club reports for the first time.

Over the next decade, Lions continued to upgrade and refine the WMMR program, and in 2012, Lions reintroduced it as MyLCI.

MyLCI is linked directly to the cloud and Lions’ club websites. Updates to club information on MyLCI are immediately reflected on club websites. Lions can quickly file reports, pay bills electronically and share the latest news without ever visiting a post office. But the improved technology does much more than reduce the time it takes to record membership and service numbers. It produces more accurate reports for donors and continues to reduce Lions’ carbon footprint by cutting down on the amount of paper forms and written correspondence.

Lions communication may one day be completely paperless. The digital version of LION Magazine already includes bonus materials not found in the physical edition. Videos and audio files inserted into the digital magazine provide readers with additional insights, stories and connections to Lions worldwide.

As technology—and access to it—improves, Lions will keep innovating to help Lions quickly share their great works of service.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!


Touchstone Story–Lions Quest

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Lions Quest began as one teenager’s passion to find a better way to prepare young people to handle life’s challenges. Today, it is one of the most widely used social and emotional learning programs in the world.

In 1975, 19-year-old Rick Little of Findlay, Ohio, USA, suffered severe back injuries in an auto accident. Immobilized for six months, Little found himself with a lot of time to contemplate why schools were doing so little to help youth develop the life skills and strength of character needed to succeed as adults. When his injuries healed, Little set out on a nationwide pursuit for answers, interviewing teenagers, teachers and experts in child and adolescent development.

After a struggle to find initial funding, Little established Quest International in 1977 with the help of a US$130,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to design and develop values-based curricula and drug-use prevention programs. Little went to work creating teaching tools easy to adapt across different cultures and educational systems.

The Lions got involved in 1984 when the Lions Clubs International Foundation made its first grant to Quest International, a grant that funded additional program development and expansion. Later that year, Lions Clubs International formed a working partnership with Quest International to launch a major drug prevention initiative called Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence, targeting middle-school grades 6 through 8. Lions clubs partnered with local school systems to implement the program at the community level.

Over the next 18 years, Lion’s partnership with Little’s organization grew in scope and impact. Lions introduced programs to serve students at all grade levels, from kindergarten through high school. Independent researchers gave the programs high marks for promoting positive behaviors and boosting academic performance.

In 2002, LCIF acquired formal ownership of the curriculum materials. Lions Quest soon became Lions’ signature youth development program worldwide. By 2015, Lions Quest had grown to include 36 languages in 85 countries reaching more than 13 million students.

Lions clubs around the world have been key to the success and expansion of Lions Quest, supporting the program through local funding, coordinating teacher training, co-hosting parent meetings, speaking to youth and undertaking joint service projects with students.

Lions Quest goes beyond academics to teach students how to make responsible decisions, set goals, be accountable for their actions, develop healthy relationships, resist peer pressure and engage in community service.

Teaching materials are continually updated to meet new challenges.

In Turkey, for example, public and private school teachers are using Lions Quest to confront bullying. Mine Guven, a professor of early childhood education at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, is conducting an evaluation of the effort.

“I got involved in the program because the training was so impressive to me,” Guven said. “The challenges are the same all around the world. By using Lions Quest we manage to have peaceful classrooms.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!


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