As I look back on this past year, I am overcome with gratitude. Serving as Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has given me so much to be thankful for, and I would like to take this opportunity to express that gratitude to each and every one of you.
Thank you, Lions, for your creative and meaningful work this year. The sheer volume of grant applications you have submitted to LCIF proves that we are expanding our humanitarian reach. We are only able to do this because of your unending dedication to service.
I would like to also thank our LCIF Board of Trustees, LCIF District and Multiple District Coordinators, district leaders and everyone who helped promote LCIF. You have done a great job raising awareness and increasing donations this year. Your work is vital to what we do.
Thank you for your generous support of LCIF. Because of you, we are treating the people we serve with dignity and working together in the spirit of harmony, all in the name of humanity.
Lastly, Joni and I want to thank the Lions of the world for your warm hospitality and your genuine friendship. You have welcomed us with open arms and shown us the true essence of Lionism.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Chairperson. It has been a great honor to represent you and LCIF, the greatest foundation in the world!
Together in Service,
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation
Why is Lions’ cherished emblem so recognizable and memorable?
One reason is that Lions are almost everywhere around the globe, and Lions proudly wear, display and apply the brand on nearly everything. The emblem resonates because it brings up timeless associations with the image of the lion itself—strength, courage, action and fidelity.
When the Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917, Lions displayed both their pride and their sense of humor in creating the first Lions emblem.
As for their pride, the lion in the emblem was based on a famous painting by the 19th century French artist Rosa Bonheur of a regal lion at rest in the wild. The painting’s title, Old Monarch, become the nickname for Lions’ earliest members and clubs.
As for their humor, the first emblem was also a pun. The emblem depicted the lion holding a club in its mouth with the word “international” emblazoned on the club. The play on the words” lion” and “club” and “international” was clever, but by 1919 Lions asked its members to come up with a more polished logo.
Flooded with submissions from Lions members who were also amateur artists, Lions decided to form a committee at the 1919 International Convention in Chicago to acquire a proper, professional logo. The committee turned to Maurice Blink, a Chicago commercial artist and founding member. Blink created a sketch of circle with an “L” in the center and two lions’ heads in profile looking in opposite directions.
The Lions board of directors approved Blink’s design in April 1920. Melvin Jones explained its meaning. The emblem, Jones said, “represents a lion facing the past with pride and the future with confidence, looking in all directions to render service.”
In the earliest full-color expressions of Blink’s design, the twin lions looked a lot more like real lions with wavy dark brown manes, glowing eyes, and ferociously sharp, white teeth. Over the years, the lions became less fierce as the logo was standardized to promote consistent use worldwide.
Refreshed and updated again in the early 21st century, the emblem will likely serve for many more decades to come. And why not? It works.
Lions have long been leaders in helping children with disabilities get in touch with nature—initially by making the fun of camping available to youth who are visually impaired and then by expanding the experience to campers with developmental and physical challenges of all kinds.
After Boston-area Lions opened the first U.S. camp for blind girls in 1931 in nearby New Hampshire, the Boston Daily Globe reported that while the camp looked like most summer camps, “it is not ‘just another camp.’ This camp is unique.”
At Lions-sponsored camps around the world, from the Republic of Georgia to New Zealand, campers with special needs do what all children do at camp: They swim, ride horses, go canoeing, create arts and crafts, fish, learn archery and take nature hikes. They meet other children with similar challenges. They grow more self-confident.
Some Lions camps are strictly recreational. Others provide campers with education and training, including instruction in daily living activities. Because of their disabilities, children attending Lions camps often need help with outdoor activities—and Lions work hard to make sure that help is available.
At Lions Bear Lake Camp in Lapeer, Michigan, USA, campers who use wheelchairs are able to strap on climbing ropes, and with the help of a buddy climber leave their chairs and work their way up a 40-foot vertical climbing wall. They return to earth via a zip line. The experience helps campers break free of self-limiting beliefs.
At the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, Texas, USA, campers with physical disabilities and challenging medical conditions ride horseback, shoot archery and are inspired to try many new activities. In such a setting, campers use spirit and enthusiasm to overcome obstacles. And at Lions-sponsored Camp Pacifica in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, children who are deaf or hearing-impaired enjoy dancing by feeling the vibrations of the music.
Lions encourage the “can-do” attitude at the Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp near Casper, Wyoming, USA. The Casper Lions Club founded the camp in 1926 to serve youth with visual impairments. The “can-do” attitude was put to the test a few years later when the camp moved to its present location. Lions and community volunteers bulldozed a road to the camp site on Casper Mountain, and then built dormitories, a cookhouse, staff quarters and a 500-gallon water tank.
Larry Chaudoir, a member of the Mandeville Lions Club in Louisiana, USA, said the Louisiana Lions Camp gives children with special needs a feeling of belonging. “Once they leave,” said Chaudoir, “they can’t wait until the next summer to do it all again.”
Follow the Leo Club Program on Snapchat for a behind the scenes look at convention. Start following now for a sneak peek of what to expect in Fukuoka.
Did you know you can Walk the World in the International Parade of Nations? Download the Charity Miles app, and select LCIF’s Sight for Kids as your charity of choice. LCIF will receive a donation for every mile logged. You can continue logging miles throughout the next year to raise money for Sight for Kids wherever you are in the world.
Join the #LCICon100 Twitter Challenge! Leos and Lions have the opportunity to be recognized in the Digital LION Magazine. Share all your convention photos on social media with hashtag #LCICon.
Don’t speak Japanese? No problem. Google Translate is your pocket-size interpreter. This must-have app will help you communicate with Leos and Lions at the Leo Social on Sunday, June 26th!
Math is hard. Use the Currency app to easily convert your home currency to Japanese Yen and stay under budget. Don’t worry – we have some free giveaways as well!
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to download the Lions Clubs 99th International Convention App. The app allows you to upload photos, get updates and connect with other attendees as well as view maps and schedules.
We look forward to seeing you in Fukuoka! Be sure to check out these events for Leos!
As Lions Clubs International has grown increasingly global, so has the range of problems members are tackling. Lions are playing a key role in the worldwide fight against measles and rubella—vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten the lives of millions of children in the world’s poorest regions.
Lions were drawn into the fight because measles remains one of the leading causes of death among young children despite the availability of a safe and inexpensive vaccine. Rubella can have serious effects on pregnant women and cause fetal death or congenital birth defects known as congenital rubella syndrome. The spread of the two diseases often can be prevented at the same time through the administration of a combined measles rubella vaccine.
Through the One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative, Lions have joined a sweeping effort to stamp out measles and rubella by helping to ensure that vast numbers of children in developing countries are vaccinated.
The Lions first entered the fight in 2010 when they joined the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global partnership formed in 2001 by the American Red Cross, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation. Lions Clubs International Foundation and Lions clubs around the world have thrown their support behind the effort to stamp out the diseases.
Lions-led activities are varied and include mobilizing tens of millions of dollars to support supplemental measles campaigns to vaccinate children, advocating for increased support for immunization systems during World Immunization Week, and providing hands-on social mobilization during measles vaccination campaigns to increase awareness and ensure that all children get vaccinated.
Lions are putting their organizational and education skills to work to help mobilize communities in making a difference. “Vaccines can’t save lives if children don’t receive them,” said Past District Governor Dr. Tebebe Yemane-Berhan, a member of the LCIF Steering Committee from Ethiopia.
An example is found in the African nation of Botswana, where local Lions helped the Ministry of Health conduct an intensive five-day measles vaccination campaign by going door-to-door in the town of Selebi-Phikwe. Lions talked “one-on-one with mothers on their doorsteps to make sure they understood the importance of the vaccinations,” according to Obakeng Kanthaga, who served in 2011 as president of Leo Clubs International District 412, overseeing 50 Leo clubs in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Farther north in Botswana, local Lions in Francistown sought to make sure vaccinations were understood as safe by organizing actors to stage dramatic shows demonstrating the vaccination process. Botswanan Lions also distributed T-shirts promoting the campaign and paid for 3,500 bright orange hats that identified the public health workers. They also paid for and distributed 10,000 posters and 100,000 flyers publicizing the vaccination campaign.
Lions’ service has paid off. In 2000, a year before the Measles and Rubella Initiative was created, more than 562,000 children worldwide died from complications related to measles. By 2013, the annual number of such deaths had fallen 74 percent to 145,700.
Lions stepped up their efforts to fight measles and rubella in mid-2013 by partnering with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership that funds immunization programs for the world’s poorest countries. As part of the Lions partnership with Gavi, Lions pledged to raise US$30 million to fund Gavi’s measles and rubella programs. Matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the British government will boost that total to $60 million.
The job isn’t finished. But according to Past International President Wayne Madden, who also served as the LCIF Chairperson in 2013-2014, Lions’ work with vaccine partners is “increasing access to immunization, strengthening communities and savings lives in the process.”
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