In His Own Words: An Interview with Lion Steve Rodenbeck

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Steve Rodenbeck embodies the spirit of Special Olympics on and off the playing field. His leadership in his community, on the field, and in his workplace represents the power that Special Olympics athletes have to impact those around them.

A Special Olympics New Jersey Athlete for nearly 20 years, Steve has been involved in Special Olympics New Jersey’s flag football program since the inception of the sport in 2007. A proud member of Team New Jersey’s flag football team during the 2010 USA Games in Nebraska, USA, Steve lead his teammates to a bronze medal. Steve was also a member Team NJ during the 2014 USA Games, competing in unified volleyball. He and his teammates used that opportunity to advance to the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles as members of SO USA. They proudly represented the USA and NJ, taking fourth place. Steve also competes in floor hockey, basketball, and tennis.fallgames-172

Steve graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a 3.7 GPA, achieving a Phi Omega Epsilon Award for distinguished academic performance, in 2007. He works as a conference center coordinator and was recently recognized by his employer with an award given to employees for caught “doing right.”

In the community, Steve is an active member in a number of volunteer organizations. Volunteering as a Global Messenger for Special Olympics, he goes out on behalf of the organization to speak on a number of initiatives within the community. He is currently serving as Chairperson for the Athlete Congress, the governing body representing Special Olympics New Jersey athletes’ interest. Steve also is active with the Garden State Champions Lions Club, where he serves as President.

In this interview, Steve speaks about the importance of being a Lion.

What made you want to become a Lion?
I wanted to make a difference in the community and other people’s lives.

How as being a Lion made you a better athlete leader and community leader?
Being a Lion has taught me the value of teamwork within a group. Working on numerous service projects with the group has enabled me to assist members.  It’s all about making a difference in the community and other people’s lives.

What type of new skills has being a Lion taught you?
Leadership, teamwork, and communication is the key.

steven-rodenbeck_unified-volleyballHow would you increase volunteering with Lions in your community?
By working and communicating with other Lions Clubs in the area. This way, we can have our members plus members of the other Lions clubs working as one unit.  Remember, there is no “I” in team.

How do you envision athlete leaders learning more about leadership opportunities with Lions to help their communities?  What could our clubs do to help that?    

Athlete Leaders could take Leadership Seminar courses to expand their leadership skills. This way, this will teach them the value of hard work and dedication while leading a team effort. Also, the more that we are involved with service projects and fundraisers, the more that we will feel that we have made a positive impact in our community.

How do you see local Lions helping with awareness for your SO program?
The more that we as a Lions club get others Lions clubs to attended and participate in Special Olympics New Jersey events it would be a simple way for them to see and embrace our Special Olympics community.

What is your one message to other Clubs regarding athlete engagement?
Help support our great cause by volunteering in our many events. We have year-round sports training and competition September through June. Athletes love to meet new volunteers. Also, our Garden State Lions Club is always looking forward towards working as a unit and with other clubs as well.


Fighting Trachoma in Uganda

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Trachoma is the second leading cause of blindness in Uganda and the Karamoja region has the country’s highest infection rate. During World Sight Day celebrations last week, the Lions of Uganda and other partners, including the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and The Carter Center, showed their support for eliminating trachoma from Uganda by 2020.

Watch this video from NTV Uganda to learn more about the situation in Karamoja and to see how Lions are working to address it.


Support Lions’ Work to Save Sight

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Did you know that about 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide? Did you also know that as much as 80% of that is preventable? Of those 285 million, 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries.

These numbers are quite staggering. With Lions at its side, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is a leader in providing support for preventing avoidable blindness and restoring sight for people around the world. LCIF sight programs range from developing and improving eye care systems to providing sight-restoring surgeries and treatments to distributing medications to those most at-risk for eye diseases.

With a focus on building comprehensive and sustainable eye care systems, SightFirst provides funding for projects that deliver eye care services, build or strengthen eye care facilities, train professionals and build awareness about eye health in underserved communities.

You can support Lions’ work to save sight by making a personal gift to LCIF’s sight programs.

Donate to LCIF



#LionsBusTour Fall 2016 Recap

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From September 18 to October 1, 2016, the Lions Centennial Bus visited 20 states, Washington, D.C., and two Canadian provinces, promoting the Lions Centennial celebration. During the tour, IP Bob Corlew inducted new members, chartered clubs and participated in Lions projects.

View the Storify below or click here. (Use Firefox or Chrome as your browser for best viewing results.)


11 Ways to Recruit New Members

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Lions are dedicated to service. Our motto, “we serve,” says it all. Each new member impacts the lives of 70 people annually, so the more we invite the more we can serve.

Below are 11 recruitment resources your club can use to help invite for impact this October. From webinars to brochures, we have a variety of assets to help you get started!

1. Just Ask!

Imagine if every Lion asked just 1 person to join their club – think of how many people we could serve. All it takes is asking one family member, friend or neighbor. Download the Just Ask Guide today and see helpful tips to ask one!

2. Engage through Service

Lions around the world are preparing for our Worldwide Week of Service on October 10-16. Host a project in your community that addresses visual impairments, such as a vision screening. Be sure to have flyers, membership applications and brochures available for community members to learn more about Lions Clubs International.

3. Host a Membership Drive

PCC Ron Seybold recently told webinar listeners all about how his multiple district conducts membership drives. Listen to the whole webinar here, and find the resources he found useful below:

4. Review the “Ohio Plan”

Read our blog post about the Tri-Village Lions Club (13-F Ohio), and see how they grew their club by 60% and decreased the average member age by 15 years. If you want to learn even more about the Tri-Village Lions Clubs and hear specific examples of how they grew membership, listen to our webinar, “5 Ways to Boost Member Satisfaction

5. Keep Members Happy

The Tri-Village Lions Club didn’t just gain members by asking new members, they also kept the members they had happy. Everyone has a different reason for joining a club; make sure you’re nurturing your members. Review our Membership Satisfaction guide for more information.

6. Create a Campaign of “100 Reasons to be a Lion”

When you’ve talked to your members using the Membership Satisfaction guide and learned why they became a Lion, consider creating a list (as suggested in our Ways to Celebrate flyer) of 100 reasons to become a Lion. Share the list on your club webpage and social media. Here are a few reasons to become a Lion:

  • Help impact lives all over the world
  • Make an impact on your community
  • Meet new friends (and maybe your future spouse!)

7. Utilize Social Media

Let everyone know the great things your club has been up to by using social media to your advantage. Listen to the webinar put on by SMiLE and LCI’s marketing team to learn more, or view the infographic for a quick guide on how to increase your clubs social media engagement.

8. Utilize Traditional Media

Social media isn’t the only way to get your club noticed. When you’re hosting and event, or celebrating the success of another impactful event, consider publicizing in your local paper. Download our half-page ad to get started.

9. Celebrate 100 years!

Our 100th anniversary is a time to let the world know how much Lions have impacted the globe over the last 100 years. Look at our Lions 100 Toolbox to find posters, flyers and more ways to advertise your club, and our Centennial celebration!

10. Apply for a Membership Development Grant

Target marketing initiatives that focus on new areas of opportunity and utilize new marketing techniques to start new clubs and grow membership. Lions Clubs International offers Membership Development Grant opportunities to clubs all over the world.

11. Remember the Value of One

One new member can make a big difference. Listen to the marketing team’s webinar, “The Value of One” to hear how Lions are recruiting in their communities.


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