2020 - 2021 Being a Lion isn’t only about serving; it’s also about having fun. With new clubs popping up, and old clubs taking a new look at how they Lion, there are all kinds of ways to design a fun and productive year of service. Here’s your guide to your best Lion year ever.2020JUNE JUNE 26-30 Hob nob with Lions from all over the world Singapore hosts the 103rd International Convention, which is the kickoff to the 2020-2021 Lion year. What better excuse to visit this exquisitely clean and modern city. TIP: Don’t litter in Singapore You could be put to work cleaning up the streets as punishment. Then again, that sounds like something Lions like to do anyway…July Install your new officers A new international president has taken the torch and your club has its own new leadership. Get the year going on the right foot with a warm welcome to the new recruits. The Bellefonte Lions from District 22-D in Delaware have a tradition of capturing the exact moment new officers are sworn in with a candid photo. Says Zone Chair Daniel Elkins, “They are so excited to take on their new roles that they want to share the moment with the world.”August Stay active Some clubs go “dark” during the summer months, when members are traveling or busy with kids home from school. However, other clubs see service activities as a way to keep members interested. “We work year-round,” says Anthony Colleluori, from the Jericho-Brookville Lions in New York. “We try to keep our schedules full so that one can jump right in. It’s also a great way to train new members. They get put right to work!” FUNDRAISING OPPPORTUNITY: Set up shop at the fair Sell hot dogs and corn at local fairs to raise funds for the coming year. Or, change things up and host a fruit and vegetable stand with produce sourced locally. Use the opportunity to encourage people to eat healthily and give away recipe cards that feature the produce you’re selling.SEPTEMBERSEPTEMBER 17-19 Pack your bags for the USA/Canada Leadership Forum Louisville, Kentucky, will host this year’s forum, where you can expect to find everything you need to hone your skills as a leader, while meeting some fellow Lions along the way. SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Back-to-School Bash Help kids get ready to go back to school. “Teaming your club with your local school is a proven winner for service,” says PDG Charles Short, of the Lafayette Lions in Indiana, who partnered with their local county to participate in “Backpack Splash,” an event for at-risk kids. Backpacks, shoes, pizza, immunizations, hearing screens, day care signups, haircuts, canned goods, family pictures, and Lions vision screenings were offered. Families lined up beginning at 9 a.m. for the event, which began at 1 p.m. Lions screened more than 200 kids in three hours. “The fact that entire families were present with many preschool kids made it an ideal chance to screen kids as young as a year old,” says Short. OctoberVISION AWARENESS MONTH Get creative October 1 is the deadline to purchase Peace Poster Contest kits from Club Supplies. “The Peace Poster Contest is a great way to get your foot in the door with your local schools,” says Richard Stevenson, president of the South Tucson Cyber Lions in Arizona. Last year, and for the past 17 years, Lions in District 307 A2, Indonesia, have sponsored an all-day, all-out drawing fest at a local mall. “First thing is, we make it about promoting Lions, not just a social activity,” says Past Council Chair Eveline Chandra. “Second thing is that these posters are original from the kids. No one can go inside the poster-making area,” she says. The students draw for five to six hours, with a 30-minute break for lunch. Other clubs in the region host similar events and, so far, they’ve had 12 merit winners, which they display in the same mall they were created in. OCTOBER 10 World Sight Day Take a cue from the Arima Santa Rosa Lions in Trinidad and don’t just schedule a vision screening for Vision Awareness Month. Partner with another club and train your members so you can be armed and ready to screen all year long. OCTOBER 15 White Cane Safety Day Arrange for a person who is blind to demonstrate the use of the white cane and its benefits with the community or your club. FUNDRAISING IDEA: Capitalize on the pumpkin craze If you’re in the U.S., it’s all about pumpkins this month. From lattes to donuts to, yes, pumpkin-flavored butter. Ely Lions in Nevada capitalize on the craze with their Annual Pumpkin Chunkin event, where members of the community can put their pumpkin-throwing skills to the test. Included in the contest is a special mascot’s division, where school or team mascots try out their throwing arms. It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year and a great way to get the Lion name out in the community. November DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH NOVEMBER 14 World Diabetes Day Be like the Amman Ayla Lions Club in Amman, Jordan, and light up historical sights and other landmarks in your community blue, host two diabetes screenings, give public educational seminars about nutrition, and raise money to buy insulin for children in need by selling insulin pens that have been recycled into writing utensils. RECRUIT: Chances are your club could use some fresh blood. One way to spread the word is by donning your Lions gear and volunteering at a non-Lions event. “I can’t even begin to count how many recruits my club has gotten by us being willing to go out and show other people what it means to be a Lion,” says Zone Chair Daniel Elkins, of the Bellafonte Lions in Delaware. Download recruitment materials from LIONSCLUBS.ORG and have them on hand everywhere you go. NOVEMBER 15 Tax forms due! This is how you keep your tax-exempt status, so don’t forget to file.DecemberDECEMBER 5 International Leo Day Grab your local Leos and plan a joint service event. No Leos in your area? Sponsor a club! Go to the local high school and make your pitch. Chandler Lions Club President and former Miss Arizona Isabel Ticlo believes in establishing one-on-one Leo-to-Lion connections as a way to get kids serving and keep them coming back as adults. How does she know this works? She was a Leo in high school. “It was like hanging out with friends for a good cause,” she says. SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Get crafty Many clubs plan meals and food drives around the winter holidays, but sometimes what parents really need is something to do with their children when school is out. The Sandwell Lions in England host craft sessions for kids at their local library. “You don’t have to be crafty,” says Sandwell Lion Melissa Murphy. “You can get instructions easily off the internet,” she says. Having the pictures of the final project stimulates ideas and gets them going. It’s “really easy stuff,” she says, but it’s also the kind of project that’s perfect for a small club looking for a meaningful way to give back. 2021January HUNGER AWARENESS MONTH SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Stage a pop-up soup kitchen You may have sworn off sweets and carbohydrates from holiday overindulgence, but many people in the world are still going hungry. Resist the urge to hit the service snooze button through January and find some hungry folks to feed. Grab 10 gallons of soup and a fold out table and head to an area where you know there are people in need. JANUARY 13 Melvin Jones’ Birthday Happy Birthday to the man who started it all! Melvin Jones didn’t just start a service club, he sparked a movement driven by kindness. February CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Go bald for a good cause Have anyone in your club who could use a good haircut or a close shave? It’s childhood cancer awareness month, so partner with an organization like Saint Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises funds for important research by shaving heads and faces. FUNDRAISING IDEA: Sinking Shack Live somewhere cold? Use it to your advantage. The Cadillac Lions in Michigan use the unpredictable Midwestern winters to stage their Sinking Shack fundraiser. They train a video camera on their club’s ice shack and take bets on when the Xs, painted on the shack’s side, will slip below the surface of the thawing Lake Cadillac. The club nets about US$1,500 to US$1,800 after prizes have been handed out. “But the PR is worth way more than we take in,” says Past District Governor Tim Anderson. The club even got some new members from the event. MarchMARCH 7 Take your seat at the world table Join Lions in New York at the 41st Annual Lions Day with the United Nations and be part of the global conversation about this year’s theme, “Protecting our Future: The Health of our Children.” MARCH 8 Celebrate women This International Women’s Day the focus is “Each for Equal.” Take a moment to recognize all the achievements of women and help advocate for a more gender-equal world. SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Help girls stay in school Give sanitary products to girls in need. In August of 2018, AlwaysTM – a popular brand of feminine hygiene products – released data that showed one out of every five girls in the United States misses school during their period. Missed days can lead students to falling behind and eventually dropping out. April ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS MONTH SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Team up and clean up Hold a beach cleanup and take bets on who can collect the most debris. In 2014, Lions cleaned up a beach off Tioman Island in Malaysia, and among the garbage was more than two pounds (nearly 1 kilogram) of cigarette butts! Caring for the environment together is a great way to bring people together and showcase the good work Lions do. APRIL 22 Earth Day Get the community out to join you in a cleanup event. APRIL 25 Lions Worldwide Induction Day All those Lions you’ve been working hard to recruit? It’s time to formally welcome them into your club. “In Puerto Rico, induction of a member tends to be a formal event. We want to make it special,” says International Director Jose Marrero. “We have their sponsors take an oath beside them as mentors of the new Lion. At the end we give the member a salute of three long roars then three short, fast roars.” This is also a great time to launch a membership campaign if you don’t have one already.MaySTRENGTHEN MEMBERSHIP MONTH Check in on your Lions Call up those members you haven’t seen in a while and give them some reasons to come back. “Don’t be afraid to ask members how they feel about their role in Lions,” says PDG Diane Smith, of the Woolwich Community Lions, in Ontario. “We used to have a Lion who called everyone the night before our meeting,” says Jo Ochoa of the Danville Lions, in California. “Those on the fence generally came. And they knew they’d be missed if they didn’t.” Get your club finances in order Consider an internal audit so the incoming treasurer can start with a neat and tidy treasury. RECRUIT: Take recruiting to the grassroots level and start trolling your neighborhood for potential members. When Ivan Hardman, of the Riverside Lions in Manitoba, first joined Lions they would get new members by cruising the neighborhood in pairs with some cold beverages. “When we saw someone mowing his lawn we would stop, and while one took over the lawn mowing, the other would share a beer and interest the person about the club and extract a promise to attend,” he says. Modernize this by bringing non-alcoholic drinks and stop for anyone who looks like they might need a hand. Get rid of the popular table Strengthening membership doesn’t only mean adding new members, but also keeping the ones you have happy. PDG Mercy Walters from the San Diego Forever Lions Club says, “We treat members like family.” She remembers one meeting at her club when she noted three new members sitting by themselves. She called out her members for being cliquey and ever since they’ve rotated seating at their monthly meetings to ensure everyone has a sense of belonging. JuneJUNE 1 Helen Keller Day You could say she made us who we are. At the 1925 International Convention, Keller asked Lions to become Knights of the Blind. Ever since, Lions have made vision their primary mission. JUNE 1 SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Make nature accessible Honor Helen Keller and turn a local nature path into a braille trail, with braille informational signs, guide ropes, and other physical aides to enable the visually impaired to experience the path unassisted. JUNE 7 Lions Clubs International Birthday On this day in 1917, the first Lions club organizational meeting was held in Chicago, Illinois. PUTTING THE FUN IN FUNDRAISERThe perfect dinner for introverts The Layfayette Lions Club in Indiana has figured out a way to leverage their community’s hermits. The “no-show” event is an agreement between the club and the community that they will NOT hold a fish fry. All you have to do is purchase a ticket to agree NOT to attend. “For a $40 donation, they can enjoy the peace and quiet of home cooking and we get to provide all the fun and services we do," says PDG Charles Short. “If they send us $40, we send them a 50-cent fish key chain. It’s a real bragging rights item!” Um, I think that’s called stealing… Hold on to your valuables if there’s a Russell and Area Lion from Manitoba loitering in the vicinity. One year, the Russell and Area Lions “acquired” items from each other without their knowledge. One member’s barbeque, one member’s favorite sports team jacket, one family’s strollers for their kids, etc. Each member then had to buy their items back. They even “borrowed” a neighboring club’s snowmobile for the event. It just so happened to be the snowmobile they used for their own spring fundraiser. “The look on the neighboring Lions club members faces when they realized this snowmobile was the one from their pond was priceless,” says Lion Willie Brown. At the end of the night, everyone gets their items back, but only after forking over some money. “Lots of laughs, a bit of money to a good cause…oh, did I tell you we have fun in Lions?” says Brown. You’ve goat to be kidding me The Ubly Lions in Ubly, Michigan, really know how to get each other’s goat. Their annual wine and cheese event had “fizzled out a bit,” says International Director and Ubly Lion Justin Faber. They were discussing alternatives when 80-year-old Lion Lola suggested a goat raffle. One dollar bought one ticket, or six tickets for $5. But who would want to win a goat, the other members asked. “No one!" she said cheerfully. “That’s why you put someone else’s name on it!” The club added an extra twist. For $5 you can purchase goat insurance, which will get you out of having to take the goat if your name is drawn, but it only works for one ticket. “I do caution you that you can’t just toss a goat in someone’s yard like you could 40 years ago,” says Faber. Good to note.BE SEENGood marketing and public relations helps foster community support and can even bring in new members.Actively promote your club and its programs using the Marketing and Communications Chairperson Guide here:LIONSCLUBS.ORG/MARKETING.Pool your old copies of LION Magazine and deliver them to local doctors' offices, libraries, and hospital waiting rooms. You never know who might pick one up and decide to join. And there’s nothing like new members to cap off your best Lion year ever.Download a cheat sheet with important events to plan events around. ILLUSTRATIONS BY SUNYA HINTZ.