First Vice District Governor Allen Swaim was our guest speaker this evening. He was representing our District Governor Mark Bateman. Because the district has gotten so large it is necessary for the Vice District Governors to assist in the annual visits to ensure that all clubs can be reached. Lion Allen has been a lion for over 20 years and lives in Wendell with his wife Amy and seven children.
He encouraged us by reminding us that we are the #1 Community Service and Humanitarian organization in the world. Not just that but we are larger than #2 through #10 combined! So we are far and away the largest organization in the world of our type. We should be very prooud of that and we should tell everyone we know and meet about that so they are aware as well! As we all know, we are one of the world’s best kept secrets. We need to change that! There is no end to the number of blind, visually impaired or communities out that can benefit from our service so we need to keep serving and keep growing to meet these needs. Rule #1 is “Win The War”! So we need to do whatever it takes.
Next he asked a question: What is your “Lions Moment”? He encouraged each of us to serve until we have our “Lions Moment” if we have not already had one. He shared his moment about fishing with “Blind John” many years ago. Blind John is a fellow attorney and happens to have the same birthday as Allen does. Blind John asked to go fishing so Allen took him one day. They caught a fish almost immediately and then John asked Allen a question: “What does it look like?”. I won’t give all of the details here but let’s just say Allen had a little fun with him first. But after that as he described what it looked like he realized that John was crying. The magitude of the impact that we can have on a blind person’s life is immeasureable. This experience is also one reason why he is so enthusiastic about our VIP Fishing Tournament every year.
Finally, he talked about membership a little bit. When he was at a Lions meeting recently he heard about some clubs in the west and mid-west that have several hundred members each. So he asked them what they were doing. They told him that the key was to tell people they meet about Lions and then invite them to a service projet. Not to a meeting but to a service projet. If people actually experience the act of service first they are much more likely to understand what we do and want to be a part of that. Then we can invite them to join after they have gotten a taste of what service is like. So he encouraged us to “Talk It Up!” and tell people about what we do and then invite them to join in our projects. Once they join the club we should give them a role and some responsibility as soon as possible.