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.”
When natural disasters strike, Lions are there to offer help and support. In times of need, Lions rely on disaster relief grants and funds from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Emergency grants provide up to US$10,000 for districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.
In May 2016, LCIF awarded 9 emergency and disaster relief grants totaling US$80,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:
Thailand, District 310 E
US$10,000 for windstorm relief
Brazil, District LD 5
US$10,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, District 306 B1
US$5,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, District 306 C1
US$5,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, District 306 A1
US$5,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, District 306 B2
US$5,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, District 306 C2
US$5,000 for flood relief
Rep of Sri Lanka, MD 306
US$30,000 for flood relief
Rep of Bangladesh, District 315 B4
US$5,000 for cyclone relief
Remember, your charitable gift to LCIF enables compassionate humanitarian service around the world. Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.
Did you know two of the top five most visited websites are social media sites? In an average day, 4.5 billion likes are generated on Facebook! There’s no doubt that Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and other social media sites allow users to connect with a wide audience, but in a sea of posts, how can your club get noticed?
One Lion found success in a social media campaign. He managed to grow his club from 21 members to 63 members in just one year. How did Zone Chairperson Jerhavon Pearman do it?
According to Chairperson Pearman (District 18-I), the key to a thriving club is “the next generation.” Everyone wants to attract younger members and bring them into their clubs, but you need to get their attention, and nothing works for that like social media!
When the GGC Campus Lions Club, from Georgia Gwinnett College, first chartered they formed a Public Relations Committee of computer savvy members. The team worked together to create a Facebook and Instagram page for their club. Their main goal was to share with other campus members all the service projects they were doing to better the community. They also decided to pay for a Facebook advertisement. This helped them expand their social media reach. Their Facebook page was promoted on pages of different websites that helped get their name out there, and got people interested in their club.
Facebook ads can be done for free. These ads can get your page more views, likes, comments or shares. They allow you to add a website address as well, which can help drive traffic to your E Clubhouse site. Another feature is the ability to choose the audience you target. You just need to complete some form fields and you can target by location, age, gender, interests and more. GGC Campus Lions Club focused on location, aiming to attract people who were near them.
Another tactic the GGC Campus Lions Club used was to post statuses in different languages. Chairperson Pearman speaks and writes in six different languages and would create content in all of them to post on their Facebook page. This helped them reach an even larger demographic, and helped them get a diverse group of Lions together!
At the conclusion of the year, GGC Campus Lions Club gained 42 members, and Chairperson Pearman attributes the success to social media. He said, “Not only does it increase membership, but it creates this sense of proudness! You as a Lion, you are showing your pride and your natural character.”
Learn more about the GGC Campus Lions Club and other ways you can use social media to help you club by viewing our webinar, “5 Ways to Increase Your Clubs Social Media Engagement”.
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