Touchstone Story #85–Lions Day
What would happen if all the Lions clubs in a district hosted activities on the same day? That was the question on members’ minds when Multiple District 102 Switzerland-Liechtenstein established Lions Day in 2007. The one-day affair would occur every five years and would involve as many clubs as possible, raising funds for a single cause and bringing increased visibility to Lions Clubs International.
Lions suspected that the results would be remarkable.
On May 12, 2007, clubs across the district held fundraising activities to provide safe drinking water in developing nations. Out of 260 clubs in the district, all but three were able to participate. Lions could be seen everywhere—on the streets, in shopping malls and in the markets—reaching out to their neighbors. In just one day, the clubs raised 1.5 million euros, enough to finance 40 safe-water projects in Africa and Latin America. The inaugural Lions Day was a success.
For Lions Day on June 2, 2012, Lions conducted their activities under the slogan, “Lions for People.” This time, clubs would work on a project of their choice, but they were also asked to help raise awareness for Lions Clubs International by pursuing media coverage. “On Sunday, June 3, 2012, no one will be able to say in Switzerland, he had never heard or read anything about Lions,” said Robert Rettby, international director from 2013 to 2015 and chairman of the organizing committee for National Lions Day 2012. Once again, almost every club in Multiple District 102 participated. Ten thousand Lions and Leos hosted service activities and fundraisers. Lions volunteered at nursing homes, picked up trash and manned booths at markets and fairs. They hosted dinners, sporting events, games and performances to raise money for local charities. They spread the news about Lions’ commitment to service and how people could become a member.
The Lucerne-Reuss Lions Club collected used eyeglasses for the Lions Recycle for Sight program at a public square in Emmenbruecke. Meanwhile, Lions in Willisau collaborated with the city to build a pedestrian bridge over the Wigger River.
The media coverage of Lions Day 2012 went beyond expectations: 450 articles appeared throughout Switzerland. In a country of only 8 million people, such a media blitz was hard to miss. Multiple District 102 had more than achieved its objectives.
The next Lions Day is scheduled for June 10, 2017, to coincide with Lions Clubs International’s 100th anniversary celebration. Once again, Lions in Switzerland will be out in force, serving their communities and letting their neighbors know about the great work Lions are doing, locally and around the world.
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!