Thursday, April 30, 2015

LIONS Magazine: Lions Pack

There's a lot of resources out there to get information we need to be great Lions but what I like about the LIONS Magazine is the articles on what other clubs around the world are doing to serve their communities.

In this month's issue of the magazine, you will find a short article submitted by a member of the Mendenhall Flying Lions (Juneau) about one of their projects.  Click here, or flip to page 18 of the May issue to read Caring for Kids in Transition in Alaska.  This article is about our Lions Pack project where we provided items of necessity to children in the foster care system.  

We're also happy to report that the Ketchikan Lions Club took on this project as well and are helping foster care children in their town.

We Serve!
Lion Nancy Norton

32 Years Ago....

Thirty-two years ago, one of our Lion members took the plunge....  He helped charter our club, the Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions (MFLC).  Ever since he has been making a difference in the lives of many.  

Lion Neil Atkinson was born Columbus, Kansas but moved to Juneau in 1972.   He has held every position in the club and has chaired numerous committees.  He has held the following positions and received many distinguished awards at the District level as well:  

First served as club president 1995-96 
MFLC Lion of the Year 1987, 1988, 1989 
First served as Zone 7 Chair 1993-1995 
Region 2 Chair 1995-1996 
District Governor 49A 1997-1998
49A Secretary of the Year 2000-2001
MD 49 Council Chair 2001-2002

Lion Neil has attended International Conventions in Philadelphia; Birmingham, England; Denver; Indianapolis, and Osaka, Japan; and USA/Canada Lions Forums in Syracuse, Forth Worth, Reno, Milwaukee (2 times), Portland, and Anchorage.  

Lion Neil first heard of Lions in 1959 when his brothers and him "won" money for clothes from the Columbus Lions Club for school following their dad's death from diabetes.  As a paperboy, the Lions treated all paperboys to a Christmas dinner and a gift.  In 1967, Neil represented the Lions Club in the Lions band at their State Convention.  Lion Neil says, "my service here is to pay back a little of what that club did for me and my family."  

Lion Neil is always bringing new service ideas and projects to the club.  At present, he's spearheading Heavy Equipment Day in partnership with Rotary.  This will be our first joint venture.  He's also making arrangements for us to assist Swampy Acres (Juneau's "farm") in their Family Farm Day where we will help park attendees and help with the petting stations.  Course, you know Lion Neil for the annual Barbecue and Auction that benefited the American Diabetes Association where we have raised over $150,000 over the years.  And my favorite Lion Neil project -- our annual Light Flights that benefited the Children's Tumor Foundation and other projects.  

Lion Neil will take a break soon and head up the Taku River where he hides out for the summer.  A much deserved break.  We look forward to many more years of new service ideas and projects from Lion Neil!  

Thanks, Lion Neil, for all you've done over the years in our community, making it a better place to live.  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy Norton

Monday, April 27, 2015

MD49 Convention

Another convention over and done with.  Another year of catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Another year of challenges, hopes, and dreams.

Our Icebreaker was held at the Antique Car Museum.  Wow... talk about some vintage vehicles.  And I did not find a speck of dust on any of them!  I liked this green car as it had a place to hang your top hat on the roof.

And look at the period clothing.  Wow.  So much bead work.  Wouldn't it be fun to go out on the town in one of these?
Okay, enough of the fashion show!  As at any convention, there was a lot of business to take care of.  Here's some of what we learned:
  • We are now 1.4 million plus Lions around the world!  We are STILL the largest volunteer service organization in the world!  Hear us ROAR!
  • But even though we have grown, our U.S. organization is on the decline....  We must figure out how to retain our members.  
  • MD 49 Convention 2016 will take place at the Coast International Inn in Anchorage next year. The theme will be "When you wish upon a star" and will encompass anything "Disney."  
  • Past International President Lion Barry Palmer has appealed members to step forward and donate to LCIF.  Where there is a need, there is a Lion.  Our Club donates $20 per member every year but is it possible we could donate more...?  Or donate from our own pocket book?  We will talk about this more in the near future.  
  • It's not too late to sign up for Forum.  It will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 17-19.  We were told it is a beautiful time of year to visit.  For you Lions who want to learn more, do more, step up, and be a leader, this is where you need to go.  Forum is all about intense training.  
  • Lion Esther West, the Multiple District's Chair for the Centennial Celebration announced that Lion Cory Bellows (from "B") and Lion Nancy Norton (from "A") will be their respective district's Centennial Celebration Chair.  
  • The Blood Bank's grant application was approved by LCI but they still need about $16,000 in the next six months.
  • Lion Mike Norton was nominated and elected as a member of the 49A Foundation.  
  • 1st VDG Mike Brown shared some of his plans as governor and stated that if clubs can achieve half of his goals by next November, he will take a pie in the face!  Ready, Set, Go!!  His theme will be "opening doors."  Click HERE for Josh's story.  
  • Our district is ahead by 52 members this year BUT just learned at convention that a brand new University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Club was approved by LCI, bringing in another 22 new members.  These kids will be our new leaders!  
  • To date, our district has screened 12,236 children with 2,357 referrals!  The Mendenhall Flying Lions portion of that is 1,089 children screened this year.  Awesome!  
We had limited training at this convention, but Lion Mike Norton was asked by the District Governor to do training for incoming Zone Chairs.  He gave a great presentation on how to be an awesome Zone Chair for incoming district governor, 1st Vice District Governor Mike Brown.    

If you want a good prime rib in Fairbanks, where would you go?  The Turtle Club, of course!  That is, if you want a 2" prime rib cooked to perfection....
Lions Donna and Bob Hurley, Neil Atkinson
You'll notice Lion Mike Norton isn't in many photos....  That's because as Zone Chair, you get to sit at a "special" table.  I'm looking forward to next year when he will be sitting with the rest of us.  We had three clubs from Southeast represented at convention this year!
Lions Cherie Klein (Ketchikan), Donna Hurley (MFLC), Janet and Ted Burke (Juneau Lions Club), Neil Atkinson (MFLC)
Lions Chere Klein (Ketchikan Lions) and Neil Atkinson (MFLC)
Lions Bob and Donna Hurley (Mendenhall Flying Lions)
Lions Janet and Ted Burke (Juneau Lions Club)
And, last, but certainly not least.... the Awards Banquet.  The Mendenhall Flying Lions received a patch in recognition of our completion of the four International  global campaigns as part of the Centennial Service Challenge!  Thank you for your participation in Engaging our Youth campaign where we included youth in litter pick up and involving our Boy Scout troop.  For Sharing the Vision, we have screened 1,089 children this Lion year!  And our participation in eyeglass recycling and the joint sight committee.  Thank you to everyone who has participated in one way or another!  The third global campaign is Relieving the Hunger and we participated in the Hoonah food drive, donated to the food bank and Helping Hands as well as participated in other food drives at the food bank.  The fourth campaign is Protecting our Environment. Our litter pick up qualified us for this patch.  

Our club also received the Secretary 100% award for getting all our reporting submitted and on time. 

Juneau brought home multiple awards.  Lion President Mike, once again, received Zone Chair of the Year for 49A!  As Zone Chair, he's the link between the four clubs in southeast and the district cabinet. In the last three years Lion Mike has received two Zone Chair of the Year and one Lion of the Year awards!  The Juneau Lions Club brought home Club of the Year for their hard work, dedication, and teamwork with Gold Medal Basketball Tournament!   And I brought home the trophy for Secretary of the Year for Multiple District 49A.
Zone Chair of the Year Lion Mike Norton, Secretary of the Year Lion Nancy Norton, and representing the Club of the Year, Lions Ted and Janet Burke
And one GOOD LOOKING GROUP OF LIONS!  Our final banquet.
Lions Bob Hurley, Neil Atkinson, and Donna Hurley (MFLC) and Lions Janet and Ted Burke (Juneau Lions) and Lions Nancy and Mike Norton in back (MFLC)
This convention had a little more down time than I would have liked, but it was all good.  Gave us more time to just sit and visit with other Lions we don't see often enough.

So, until next year.... ROAR!

We serve!
Lion Nancy Norton

Monday, April 20, 2015

Autism Awareness 2015

Our club was asked to participate in last weekend's 6th Annual Autism Awareness Walk and Carnival.  I didn't even know there WAS an autism awareness walk and carnival....  
This is one of Juneau's best kept secrets.  And one of the best events I've seen in a long while!  The work that went into this was incredible!  

We had an "info" booth set up and were asked to be in charge of photo shoots.  
Here's Lion Mike Norton clowning around.  

A possible future District Governor....?  
Lion Hari Dev Khalsa looks vaguely familiar....

This event took place at the Nugget Mall and the entire hallway was filled with games and activities for kids!  
My favorite was the silent auction....  
If you missed it this year, be sure to attend next year. 
It's not only for a good cause, but it's a fun event.  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy Norton

Social media and The Malawi Project

Social media.... what more can we say?  It really CAN make a difference!

Last month I noticed a "SHARE" on Facebook regarding the Malawi Project and took it before our club as a possible project:    
    Malawi Needs Medicine Bottles
    We throw them away. They go to a landfill. After all, what can we use them for after the medicine is gone? It’s those empty medicine bottles. Still clean and new like the day they were born there should be something they can be used for.
    There is! You can boil water and clean off the labels and glue and send them to Malawi. So often in the small rural hospitals medicine is dispensed into small torn pieces of newspaper for transportation to village homes. Then where to put them? Where will they be safe? Where will they be out of reach of children? Where will they stay clean?
The Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions sent off their first box of 79 pill bottles last week to the headquarters in Indiana!  

Here's an update posted on their blog on April 8:  

It was a short post on the Malawi Project Facebook site,” observes a member of the Board of Directors. “Just a simple request for readers to send empty prescription bottles, and the Project would send them to hospitals in Malawi, Africa where they are in very short supply. We expected to receive a couple of thousand of them.” What no one knew was how many people had been saving those little vials for long periods of time, feeling there must be some value for them, but not knowing what it was. No one wanted to send them to the landfill.

After the post, people started sharing. In the first ten days the number of people reached surpassed 600,000. Then it exploded. In just 24 hours the number raced past 1,000,000. Two days later and we were at 2,000,000, and by the time the post was three weeks old it was approaching 5,000,000. Likes, comments and shares were over 200,000.

The race across Facebook has been followed by an equally impressive response from contributors. Empty containers have started pouring into the Indianapolis offices of the Project. In thirty days the total number of vials passed 20,000, and the volume increasing daily.

Keep saving those prescription pill containers everyone!  The address to send them to is:
The Malawi Project, Inc.
3314 Van Tassel Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240

Be sure to remove the labels and glue first.  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy Norton

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I heard the word Die....

When the doctor told me I had diabetes, I heard "die."  

Elias Antaya was 9 years old at the time.

Today he is a remarkable 17 year old.
Elias was our guest speaker at last night's regular meeting.  We had heard about Elias from Michelle Cassano at conference in November and finally got him on our agenda.  I don't know why we waited so long.

Elias told us his story.... how he noticed that he was all of a sudden thirsty and peeing more.  Most 9 year olds may not notice that this was not normal.  Tests showed he did, indeed, have Type 1 Diabetes.  What he learned was that he wasn't going to die.... he just wasn't going to grow up to be a professional ice cream tester!

He learned early on that he had to be his own advocate.  His life depended on it.  After all, you can't take a vacation from diabetes.  He carried candy with him at all times and a cell phone, which wasn't so common for a second grader to do.

Diabetes didn't change Elias.  He continued to play, to ski, hike, play the violin.  Just to name a few of his activities....

Family, friends and friends' parents learned to care for him when he was in their presence.  School nurses became part of his family.

Elias has attended Camp K twice now, when he was 11 and 12 years old.  He told of the remarkable experience he had being at a camp filled with other kids just like him.  He told how they sat around the camp fire eating "low carb smores" that tasted like cardboard, but he was with other kids just like him, experiencing the same things.  It was "different" being around others just like him.

Elias is an extremely healthy, well-adjusted, normal teenager.  I might add that he's at the top of that scale if not over it.  He carries a 3.75 GPA, is a violinist, is an entrepreneur (plays violin at events); he continues to ski, mountain bike, hike; he's a lifeguard for the City; he's a future college student. I wish I had a complete list of all of his accomplishments.

"Having diabetes does not stop me."  And we're glad of that, Elias.

We Serve!
Lion Nancy