Touchstone Story: Lions Want to Have Fun

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Having fun while doing good has been a Lions specialty from the beginning.

In the early 1920s, many U.S. clubs had pep committees charged with enlivening routine club meetings. Lions soon entrusted the merrymaking function to a single energetic and enthusiastic officer, known as the Tail Twister.

Students of Tail-Twisting lore will find rich veins of anecdote and remembrance among longtime Lions and also in Lions publications.

How did the name Tail Twister come about? The World’s Biggest Doers, a 1949 history of the Lions, described this origin story, as recounted by Lions founder Melvin Jones:

“One Sunday afternoon three or four of us were discussing this matter of putting pep into the meetings. One fellow who had been born on a farm said we needed to do what used to be done on the farm. When a cow refused to go through the gate, someone would grab her by the tail and twist. We all laughed, but one of the boys said, ‘Why isn’t that a good name–tail twister?’”

The fact that lions–real lions–also have tails gave the name another amusing twist.

Now optional for all Lions clubs, the role of Tail Twister had been an established office under charter bylaws for decades. But as a 1941 article in LION Magazine made clear: “Of all the officers in the club, he [the Tail Twister] has no rigid code, no well-defined plan of action. He must be a Lion of originality.”

Indeed, Tail Twisters have been remarkably creative in promoting fun and fellowship and boosting club treasuries by “twisting” small fines from members for minor breaches of club rules, such as not wearing a nametag or talking during a guest speaker’s presentation.

The fines system is both autocratic and democratic. No member can appeal a Tail Twister’s levy, and no member is above paying it.

“President Westfall Fined on Southern Trip,” ran a banner headline over a full-page story in the April 1927 issue of LION Magazine. While visiting the Columbia Lions Club in South Carolina, USA, International President William Westfall forgot his Lions pin when changing “from his train clothes to his speaking clothes.” An alert Tail Twister named Goldschmidt spotted Westfall’s bare lapels and fined him 10 cents, the going rate for such infractions in the 1920s.

Contests, quizzes, brainteasers, jokes, lighthearted songs and poems are time-tested tools of the tail-twisting trade. Today’s practitioners can find and share fresh material on several club websites and on a Tail Twister page on Facebook.

Concepts of humor do not always transfer across different cultures and times, and that has led to a gradual decline in the tail-twisting tradition as Lions have expanded around the world. But every day in countless other ways—from pancake breakfasts to picnics with needy kids to big parades at convention time—Lions still know how to have fun.

View the entire collection of Touchstone Stories at Lions100.org!

Leos reading to children with disabilities

Leos and Lions Come Together For Children with Special Needs

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April is Leo Club Awareness Month! To celebrate and recognize Leo clubs, the Lions Blog will feature stories about Leo service projects around the world. Today’s story features the Iloilo Host Premier Leo Club in Philippines. This Omega Leo Club celebrates its second anniversary this month. It was chartered in April 2014 by the Iloilo Host Lions Club.

Iloilo Host Premier Leos organized a service activity for children with special needs. Leos invited neighboring clubs to participate in the activity. Leos helped demonstrate proper hand-washing techniques as well as dental hygiene. During lunch, Leos also read stories to the children. In addition to partnering with other Leo clubs, the Iloilo Host Premier Leo Club invited its sponsoring Lions club to contribute to the project by donating food and vitamins for the children.

Lions and Leos serving together

“The key to a successful service project is teamwork. If you are planning to have a service project in your local community, you have to communicate with your sponsoring Lions Clubs for them to facilitate things that they could sponsor. At the same time, invite or coordinate with other Leo Clubs in your district. In this way, it will make the work easy to accomplish. Working together makes impossible turn possible.” – Leo Miles Armada of Iloilo Host Premier Leo Club

During Leo Club Awareness Month, Leos and Lions are encouraged to serve together and make a difference within their communities. Clubs that successfully collaborate together can apply for the Leo Lion Serving Together Banner Patch.

Children meditating and practicing yoga

Leos Serve Children with Dignity

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April is Leo Club Awareness Month! To celebrate and recognize Leo clubs, the Lions Blog will feature stories about Leo service projects around the world. Today’s story comes from the Ichalkaranji Leo Club in India. The Ichalkaranji Leo Club boasts 75 Leo club members and is sponsored by the Ichalkaranji Lions Club.

Children smiling

Every day, millions of children miss out on the joys of childhood. Through Spotlight on Children projects, Leo clubs can bring hope and laughter to vulnerable children.

During the month of January, the Ichalkaranji Leo Club organized a week long service project for vulnerable children living in a slum. The purpose of the project was to promote self-confidence through meditation, yoga and other activities. Together with the children, Leos also participated in recreational games and a magic show. Children who attended the camp also received a month supply of food grains to take home to their families. “The project was outstanding. The smiles on their faces were worth the effort,” said a Leo. The Ichalkaranji Leo Club continues to serve these children with follow up meetings every Saturday evening.

There are many opportunities for Leos to serve children and restore dignity. What will your Leo club do to bring hope to children in need?


Lions Respond to Earthquake in Japan

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Dear Lions,

A series of strong earthquakes and aftershocks have struck the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan over the past 72 hours, resulting in many fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and significant damage to buildings.

I know you join me in praying for the victims and families of this latest natural disaster.

Although the government and people of Japan are well-equipped to handle earthquake situations, Lions are standing by to provide whatever assistance is necessary. I am in close contact with Lions leaders in the region. They are meeting on Monday to determine whether an emergency grant is warranted and, if so, how it could best be used in this unfolding situation.

The generosity of Lions around the world enables us to respond when needed to disaster scenarios wherever they strike. This year alone LCIF has provided emergency grants in the amount of US$4.8 million. Emergency grants allow Lions on the scene to work with local governments and agencies as first respondents – providing food, water, clothing and other much needed supplies, as well as temporary housing.

No area of the world is immune to a natural disaster. But with 1.4 million members in over 200 countries or geographic areas, Lions are in a position to respond when necessary.


Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada

International President

Joe Preston

Chairperson, LCIF

Donate to LCIF


In the April LION Magazine…

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America’s Great Fair

In the April LION Magazine, Lions put on the king of fairs in Alabama, the bionic eye is a reality and the ancient sport of chariot racing still rumbles in Wyoming.

Also in this issue:

In the Digital LION, watch a video of the chariot races, view the latest LQ-Lions Quarterly and view the Higher Key Award recipients.

Visit lionmagazine.org to contact editors, view past issues and listen to the audio version of the magazine. Download the app to read the LION on your android tablet or iPad.

Like the LION on Facebook.


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