More than 73 years ago, three Lions from Detroit, Mich. had a dream that they could build a school to train dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Lions from all over the world helped this dream come true. Over 14,500 people have left Leader Dog, walking proudly, safely and independently with a Leader Dog harness in their left hand full of Lion love in the form of a guide dog.
I write this fresh off the USA/Canada Forum training, and it’s hard to appreciate how fun and exciting a forum is unless you are there. Some 1,500 plus Lions packed the beautiful San Juan Convention Center. They roared with gusto when speakers rhetorically asked “Can we do it?” or “Are we up to the challenge?” The power of a crowd, of a group of people with a shared purpose, is inspiring. I am confident each Lion at the forum is now willing and able to serve more capably and enthusiastically.
World Sight Day is celebrated worldwide on Oct. 9. Lions International Officially marks Lions World Sight Day in Reykjavik, Iceland on Oct. 14.
Imagine you bring your child to a routine eye appointment and the doctor turns to you and says there is a problem with your child’s eyesight. Not just any problem; she is blind in one eye, known as “lazy eye.” This is a personal experience for myself and daughter. I was devastated. Being uninformed, I was worried how my child would be able to function, how would she be able to learn and function in school. Hence, the development of my passion for being a Lion and screening as many children as possible throughout the year.
For nearly 100 years, Lions have served their communities with dedication and contributed to the development and well-being of millions of people around the world. As we look toward our centennial celebration in 2017, Lions are encouraged to help reach the Centennial Service Challenge goal of serving 100 million people by December 2017 through participation in the Global Service Action Campaigns. Lions clubs locally and around the state will be participating in this program by sponsoring Leo clubs, holding vision screenings, collecting eye glasses, helping feed the hungry or cleaning up our parks. Each month we are challenged by the Lion’s president. Here’s a summary of our challenges.
Each year the Lions International Youth Camp and Lions International Exchange Program introduce young people to life in other cultures by helping them travel abroad. Each Youth Camp and Exchange program include an extended stay hosted by one of our many international clubs. The Youths are from 13 countries across Europe and the middle east; Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
One of the many passions of Lions District 49A is Camp K, which is a diabetes camp for youth ages 7-17 located in Cooper Landing. Lions clubs throughout Alaska are asked to provide a scholarship and “adopt” one youth to send to camp each year. We have also encouraged our Leos to participate in the program and support one of their peers living with diabetes. Each year Lions and Leos step up to the challenge to provide scholarships in the amount of $400 per youth.
Each year the Lions International Youth Camp and Lions International Exchange Program introduce young people to life in other cultures by helping them travel abroad. Each Youth Camp and Exchange program include an extended stay hosted by one of our many international clubs. The youths are from 13 countries across Europe and the Middle East: Italy, Belgium, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Lions across the area came out for Lions Days at Mountain View Lions Park on July 14th for Camp Abilities. There were about 85 Lions, campers, their families and volunteers showing up on a perfect day to be outside. We had seven past district governors and one current second vice district governor attend the event for a total of about 28 lions. This is one on the many projects that is very special to your local lions. The Spenard Lions Club donated $10,000 to the 2014 camp and challenged all other local Lions and volunteers to meet that challenge. Each of your local lions clubs do provide support to Camp Abilities in various ways from financial support, volunteering their time as the cooks or volunteering during camp. There is no charge for the campers to attend through the lion donations and fundraising. Each year the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions provide the campers on their final night with a dinner of pizza and ice cream sundaes. The experienced campers look forward to that treat each year.
“Caution Bears Working” was the theme this year. If you missed the Bear Paw Pageant last Thursday night, you missed a good time. There were 14 contestants showing us their style and creativity with costumes and skits related to an Alaskan theme.