Approximately 30,000 Lions from around the world joined together in Chicago for the 100th Lions International Convention. The 2017 Lions International Parade of Nations on State Street was a spectacular display of Lions’ cultural diversity! See the results of the parade below. Congrats to all the winners!
1 – MD A-1 – Hillbilly Truck
2 – MD 29, West Virginia
1 – MD 31, North Carolina – Pisgah High School Band
2 – MD 5M, MN/Manitoba/W. Ontario – East Central/Willow River Marching Band
3 – MD 25, Indiana – La Porte High School Marching Band
C. ALL STATE BANDS
1 – MD 30, Mississippi – Mississippi Lions All State Band
2 – MD 11/SD 10, Michigan – Lions of Michigan All State Band
3 – MD 111, Germany – Trachtenkapelle of Hoepfingen
D. PRECISION DEMONSTRATION UNITS
1 – China Council of Lions Clubs
2 – D 303, China (Including D303 Hong Kong/Macao)
E. UNIFORMED MARCHING DELEGATIONS
1 – MD B, Mexico
2 – MD 307, Indonesia
3 – MD 404, Nigeria
1 – MD 5, ND/SD/Saskatchewan – Waconia High School Marching Band
2 – MD 2, Texas – Joliet American Legion Band
PRECISION DEMONSTRATION UNIT
1 – MD 108, Italy
U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd Jr., the famed polar explorer and pioneer aviator, was an admirably loyal Lion. Early in the organization’s history, he made a pair of gallant gestures, signaling the day when Lion ideals would spread everywhere, even to the earth’s highest settled latitudes.
A member of the Washington, D.C., Lions Club, Byrd brought the club’s flag with him on May 9, 1926, on his historic flight over the North Pole with Floyd Bennett. He would pack the flag again in a successful but danger-fraught mission to fly over the South Pole on November 28, 1929. Byrd shared his Lions pride in a letter to delegates at the 1926 Lions Clubs International Convention in San Francisco. “We carried the Lions club flag with us to the top of the world and felt it was the greatest possible honor to do so,” he wrote.
The Lions flag was not firmly planted in Antarctic ice until 1959, as part of the International Geophysical Year, when a group of 16 scientists and support personnel at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station received their charter for the 59ers Lions Club. When the club became inactive, Antarctica again became the only continent without a Lions club.
Today’s southernmost active Lions are members of the Porvenir Club in the Chilean province of Tierra del Fuego. At the opposite end of the earth, the Barrow Lions Club serves small communities in Alaska’s North Slope, 320 miles above the Arctic Circle.
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!
All over the world, young people are forming lasting friendships and learning the value of volunteerism with a Lions program geared specifically for them: Leo Club. Whether they join the Alpha Leo Clubs (for ages 12-18) or the Omega Leo Clubs (for ages 18-30), young people are developing the skills to serve their communities. The results are nothing less than inspiring.
The Leo Club Curaçao organized a project to encourage school children to stop bullying. The Leo Club of High School Batu Pahat in Malaysia cycled 40 kilometers to raise awareness for alternative, environmentally friendly forms of transportation. In the Netherlands, the Leo Club Rotterdam sold clothing to raise money for an Easter breakfast for the homeless. The Leo Club Neapolis Nabeul in Tunisia donated goods to a local nursing home and spent time visiting with residents and raising spirits.
“You realize one act can change lives,” Kat Sandell, a Leo in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, said after collecting cold weather clothing for children in 2014.
Leo Club has had official, international recognition since 1967, but Lions’ auxiliary youth service clubs are almost as old as the association itself. As early as 1922, Lions in Fort Smith, Arkansas, had organized what they called a Junior Lions club in the town’s high school, focused on civic leadership. Within the first year, dozens of junior and senior high school students joined the club.
Over the years, other Lions clubs also hosted youth auxiliary clubs. In 1957 the seeds of a permanent youth program were planted in Abington, Pennsylvania, when Bill Graver asked his father and Glenside Lion Club member Jim Graver, “Why isn’t there a Lions-sponsored service club for young people?”
As coach of the Abington High School baseball team, Graver soon came to believe that forming a Lions youth club at the high school would encourage students to participate in community service. Graver and fellow Glenside Lion William Ernst presented the idea to their club, and the Lions decided to support the effort with the help of 35 eager students (mostly from the baseball team). On December 5, 1957, the first Leo club was formed. The club adopted the high school’s colors—maroon and gold—and created an acronym for Leo: leadership, equality, opportunity. The word equality was later changed to experience.
In 1964, the Lions of Pennsylvania District 14K sponsored the Leo club as an official district project. Clubs soon sprang up throughout Pennsylvania, as news of the Leo program spread. A few years later, a youth committee of Lions Clubs International studied the possibility of developing a youth club program. But the committee soon recognized there was no need to create something new. The Leos had already set a standard as efficient and effective youth clubs. By October 1967, the board of directors decided to implement Leo clubs on a global scale. Within two years, 918 clubs were operating in 48 countries.
By 2015, more than 5,700 school- and community-based Leo clubs are in 140 countries around the world. Through Leo Club, young people are changing their communities and building personal leadership skills that will last a lifetime.
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!
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Special Olympics.
The setting was remarkable. The impact, even more.
Within the walls of the United Nations General Assembly Hall, it was easy to be awestruck by the immense nature of the venue, both in size and significance.
The Lions Day with the United Nations celebration in March 2017 brought together nearly a thousand civic and service leaders from throughout the world. Lions clubs members came from near and far to pledge their support to the global service framework for which Lions Clubs International is internationally recognized. United Nations and civil society leaders spoke to the urgency of supporting service as part of a shared commitment to addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The plight of refugees worldwide, especially youth, was paramount. It was for this reason that Lions Clubs International invited Mina Bahgat, a refugee from the Middle East currently residing in the Netherlands, to address attendees.
“I CAN, I WANT, I DO IT NOW!” exclaimed Mina as he explained the way in which Lions Clubs International and Special Olympics have empowered him to achieve his best – both on and off the ice rink. Mina is an active Special Olympics winter sports athletes and an avid short track speed skater. He has found a new life in Holland through sport and service.
The event concluded with an informative, influential panel of leaders from the international development and disability space, including Mina, to offer solutions to the myriad of challenges facing this most at-risk population on the move.
The momentum has been strong.
Lions clubs from across the world have helped provide supplies to refugee camps, services to urban reception centers, language services for new arrivals, and much more.
In May, a small, local inclusive sports match took part in Larnaca, Cyprus. Refugee youth teamed up with Special Olympics athletes to share a morning of Unified Floorball. Special Olympics athletes extended the invitation to the local reception center in an effort to expand Unified Sports, and to bring an added dimension to the growing Special Olympics – Lions Clubs International “Mission: Inclusion” partnership platform.
It was a juxtaposition of sorts: the excluded were including.
It was a reminder of the power that a simple invitation to play can have. It was also yet another example of the ways in which Lions Clubs International and the Lions Clubs International Foundation are empowering marginalized populations – of all abilities – to achieve their best and face a brighter future.
As young refugees played alongside their Special Olympics athlete counterparts, it was clear that the event and the passion behind it was a living testament of the Lions Day with the United Nations. Just as Lions had empowered Mina to stand at a podium exclusively reserved for global leaders, so too had they made possible a simple gesture of play to break the walls of exclusion and replace them with celebration.
Lions from all over the world are actively engaged in supporting refugees and migrants in their local communities, and Special Olympics athletes are proud to follow this example of service and solidarity. The Lions Day with the United Nations was not only a moment to shed increased attention on an urgent social issue, but it also served as a stimulant of sorts to ignite further action, more ideas and deeper partnerships for change.
“Lions throughout the world are committed to action, to help brighten the lives of those in need,” said Chancellor Bob Corlew, Lions Clubs International President. “It is for this reason that supporting refugees in our local communities is a natural fit for our association, but most importantly, for the passion that drives us to bring our ’We Serve’ motto to communities in need.”
Lions Clubs International is the world’s global leader in community service, and it is also a global leader in community change. From prestigious venues in New York City to a local sports facility in Larnaca, Cyprus, Lions Clubs International is leading the way – with action and purpose.
This strategic vision of Lions Clubs International is remarkable. Its impact, even more.
As a Lion, there are so many opportunities to learn and grow, so we can serve our communities in the best way possible. Who better to help Lions navigate through community service and leadership roles than other Lions?
WHAT: The Lions Certified Instructor Program (LCIP)
WHO: We’re looking for Lions who have experience as a trainers or educators!
WHY: Certified instructors who have passed our new program can help improve learning opportunities at LCI-directed institutes, DGE seminar and other training related events.
HOW: Click the link below for more details on the program, qualifications and how to apply!
Learn the benefits of becoming Lions faculty from Lions themselves. It’s a rewarding experience that allows you to learn more, grow your network, and expand your reach to communities around the globe!
“The connection made with the participants is the best part of being a faculty member. Seeing Lions grow in knowledge and skills making them stronger Lions, ultimately leads to better service for our communities. To see new Lions gain confidence and experience was powerful.
As Lions we always need to grow and continue to learn. Being a faculty member engages me to keep growing. There is always something to be learned at any training or learning experience.”
“The most valuable takeaway I experience from being a Lions Faculty includes understanding the different cultures, way of living, standard of educations, personal desire/ambition, and abilities of the participants.
It’s not a one-way street anymore; there’s great communications and appreciations amongst the faculties and participants.”
“Without a doubt what I love most about being part of the faculty, is to watch people evolve and become more self-assured from the moment they get there. They enter hesitant and unsure what to expect and they leave confident, motivated and inspired. Lions and Leos all have a desire to improve themselves, their clubs, the community and the world around them!
Every benefit that you give to the attendees is every benefit you receive back in return tenfold. Lions Clubs International has changed my life considerably. It has changed how I prepare and do business as well as my personal life. I benefit from every class I prepare for and do.”
“I love the adrenaline each institute generates in me. It is a real challenge to prepare the lessons, to think of how Lions might enjoy working or dealing with different topics and activities. It is fun to meet the other Faculty members, we have a great time together besides we learn a lot from each other.”
Becoming Lions faculty ensures that LCI has a strong trained team of Lions delivering a consistent curriculum throughout the Lions world. Experience as faculty has provided me and continues to develop my personal leadership, facilitation skills, and growth as a Lion leader.
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