January 2015 District Governors Message

As Lions of District 24-A, we enter the New Year with a sense of optimism and renewed energy. We have accomplished so much so far this year and need a few new Service projects to help us work of those extra pounds we gained from our Club Holiday Parties!

I created a cabinet position this year to increase the participation of Lions in Special Olympic events across our district. Lions Wilma has risen to the challenge and done a great job coordinating activities. It’s sometime hard to get service activities of the ground in the cold months of January and February. Wilma has sent details of several Special Olympics games-Be sure to encourage members of your Clubs to participate. It’s as simple as showing up to cheer on the athletes or help out with Sight and Hearing Screenings.   Special Olympic Events are a great way to serve those less fortunate and get the word out that Lions Clubs are involved and active in the community. Don’t forget to bring membership pamphlets, etc.!

Many Lions Clubs participated in Food Drives over the Holiday Season. I applaud those efforts that are so desperately needed. “Almost 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry tonight, 200 million of them children.” (USAID). Lions have an opportunity to show the strength of our worldwide network during a special service action campaign, “Relieving the Hunger”. I encourage Lions to continue these initiatives throughout the year in District 24-A and worldwide through your contributions to Lions Clubs International Foundation.

But too be sure, spring will be here before we know it. If you recall, District 24-A Lions are planning a new environmental project-to clean up Bull Run. Our historic waterway could use our attention, to keep it clean and clear for generations to come. If you have not heard about this initiative and need more information please be sure to contact our Environmental Chair, Don Leas, for details on how you Club can help-out.

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December District Governor’s Message

The Holiday season is upon us and we are busy with fruit sales, food drives and wreath laying. Because Lions don’t forget those less fortunate or those who serve no matter the time of year. We also remember our absent friends… Lions who have passed but are not forgotten. We honor your legacy of service by re-dedicating ourselves to helping others and building up Clubs and District 24-A for the future .

As we raise a glass at holiday gatherings to toast each other and our successful projects we may reflect on the following: we are better together, we lend each other strength and are indeed a PRIDE. A pride consisting of many generations each with strengths to contribute. Our more “mature” members to provide wisdom and guard our cherished traditions. Our younger members and Leo clubs will refresh our meetings and projects to keep us relevant as we move ever forward.

Speaking of new projects, we just completed the first ever Thanksgiving meal service at Quantico Marine Corps base.  MRIs are dismal fare for Marines on duty at Thanksgiving. Lions stepped up with our Home for the Holidays initiative. Starting a new project is always challenging but District Lions together made this project a reality. Who knows? Maybe other Lions near other military bases can do the same thing.  Remember to keep open minds when Members have new ideas for projects.

Another Lion was inspired to honor our fallen heroes with wreaths at Quantico National Cemetery. What inspires YOU?!!!

In our boots and scarves it is hard to imagine Spring will ever arrive but arrive it will. And District 24-A Lions will be out working on our Environmental project to clean up Bull Run which flows through our District.  Not to soon to start talking to you Club about how you will participate.

Remember to invite non-lions to all of you holiday gatherings, talk to them about who we are and what we do. Don’t forget to ASK them to join.

Anne and I and the rest of your leadership team wish you all a safe and HAPPY Holidays!

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November District Governor’s Message

Thank You!

Thanks to all Lions, Leos and guests that attended our Fall Conference last month.  Your participation made it a great success.  I hope everyone had fun and learned something new that you can bring back to your clubs to make them and our District more informed.  We want to know what you liked and disliked about the conference.  And we want to know from the Lions who did not attend, what can we do so you attend in the future.  Please complete the survey on the District web site and return it Lion Jane Stoll.

I want to thank Lion Jane Stoll and her committee from Aquia Evening, Aquia Harbour Host, Greater Falls Run, and Stafford County Lions Clubs.  They did a tremendous job setting up the conference, the speakers, the meals, the decorations, and I could go on.  Suffice to say they ran everything with efficiency and creativity.

I want to congratulate Lion Jim Chesley from the Clifton Lions Club and Lion Randy Mills from the Springfield-Franconia Host Lions Club for receiving the Presidential Certificate of Appreciation.  This is the 4th highest award that someone can receive from Lions Clubs International.  They are both well deserving of the award for all the hard work they perform for their clubs and community.  I also want to congratulate Lion Tom Kenavan for receiving a Leadership Medal.  It is the 3rd highest award from LCI.  He received it because of his work last year as Zone Chair and the positive net growth in membership in the Zone.

One third of the Lions year is over.  The clubs and individual Lions have accomplished much.  We have completed almost 1,000 events, screened the vision of almost 4,000 people, collected over 15,000 eyeglasses, and donated over $51,000.  We will have many more events and projects to complete.  I hope you keep up on the list of events, here in the Lion Reporter and on the Facebook pages, to see just some of them.

Just to name a few events coming up…

On Saturday, December 6th, we will be helping the Sergeant Mac Foundation placing  wreaths on over 9,000 graves at Quantico National Cemetery.  In January, February and March, there are Special Olympic events scheduled throughout the district.  And finally – Home for the Holidays where we will host and serve meals to active duty Marines at the Quantico Marine Corp Base.  Please consider supporting these district events.

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October DG Message

Most Lions enjoy receiving and trading Lions pins. Why? Because it encapsulates what it means to be a Lion: pride in our Service, pride in our Clubs and pride in what we give back to our communities. I am no different and was thrilled with the prospect of designing my Governor pins this year. The pin I designed for the 24-A Fall Conference shows a Lion going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. A comical nod to my Western New York origins and the challenge of being a Lions District Governor, sure. But I meant so much more by the design of this pin. I am a great believer in the POWER of service. It compels you to move forward through obstacles and make those often challenging leaps of faith that can lead to great things. Whether it be a new service project or an individual decision to take on a new leadership position, the 24-A leadership team is here to support you.

Fall Pin

District 24-A has several new initiative this year that your leadership team is asking each and every Lion in District 24-A to support. The first is the “Home for the Holidays” project. Lions will welcome service men and women into their homes for the Holidays when they don’t have the time or resources to travel back home. Or if a service member has duty on Thanksgiving we would like to provide a real Thanksgiving meal rather than “meals ready to eat”. Lion Lorraine Land has done an outstanding job of spearheading this initiative and pushing hard to get the proper approval needed to start this Thanksgiving. We also want to acknowledge the Lions in the Ft Belvoir Mt Vernon Club who came up with the idea and the many Lions who have pledged their support for the project. An idea plus leadership and hard work is paying off and we could not be prouder to represent such fine Lions.

“What can I do to Help, Governor Jim?” you may be asking yourself. Come to the 24-A Fall Conference October 17-18. Learn more about the Home for the Holidays, Sargent Mac Foundation Partnership, and the Bull Run Clean-up Projects. Other break-out sessions will have dynamic facilitators who will help explore how our Lions Clubs can have an impact on the most important challenges of our day from cutting edge eye and hearing research to climate change and hunger alleviation initiatives. The Fall Conference will be held at Sheraton Reston Hotel 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA 20191. Please note registration information and checks need to be sent in NO LATER than October 10.

Our key note speaker will be Past International Director, Barry Palmer. An inspirational Lion Leader, Aussie Barry Palmer is a dynamic speaker and I guarantee you will be inspired. PID Palmer will be inducting new members so be sure not to miss out.

Speaking of inducting members, I want to encourage District 24-A to embrace the Lions International campaign to “Just Ask”. Ask a potential member to your meeting, to attend the Fall Conference, or to participate in your next service activity or fundraiser. Remember, someone asked all of us to join, let’s give that next person the opportunity to find out what we already know….being a Lion is Grrrrreat!

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September District Governor Message

As the dog days of summer give way to autumn, I encourage the Lions of 24-A to plan ahead for two important fall activities.

October is Membership Month and it’s not to early to focus on the two equally important pillars of membership: recruitment and retention. As many of you know, I am not one to focus on numbers. We want members in our Clubs who are excited and invested in improving our organization and providing the maximum amount of service to our communities.

The best way to reach these quality members is to provide a variety of service activities to participate in and advertise those projects. If your Club is small, reach out to neighboring Lions and Leo Clubs to see where you can pool resources. Partner with other groups in your town.  I challenge every member to Just Ask! one person over the next few weeks to help with our service activities and become a Lion.

Electronic communication in the digital age is vitally important. Your District is here to support you through the 24-A Facebook page and web site. To attract members it is important to keep your Club web sites fresh and up to date. If you do a service project or fund raiser, be sure to post photos to your facebook page. Don’t forget member satisfaction is key to keeping your club healthy and strong. Use District and Lions Clubs International resources to create a Lions Club experience your members will want to tell their family and friends about! The Club Excellence Process is a great way to check the pulse of your Club. Reach out to your District 24-A management team if you need assistance with any Club issues.

The Fall Conference is just around the corner on October 17-18. Our break-out sessions will have dynamic facilitators. We will explore how our clubs can have an impact on the most important challenges of our day from cutting edge eye and hearing research to climate change and hunger alleviation initiatives. You will learn how you can participate in all the new District 24-A Service activities including Home of the Holidays and Bull Run Clean up.  We are thrilled to have Immediate Past International President Barry Palmer as our key note speaker. I can attest that Aussie Barry Palmer is a dynamic speaker and an inspirational Lion Leader.

Especially encourage new members of your Club to attend as much of the conference as possible. There is no better way to see the depth and breadth of Lions activities than at a Lions conference. As a special treat, IPIP Palmer will be inducting new members.  And of course, there is no better way to connect with new Lions and celebrate long time Lions friendships than at a festive conference.   The conference will be held at Sheraton Reston Hotel (reservations phone 1-703-620-9000 before September 30 – ask for special room rate for District 24 A Lions Fall Conference.), 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston VA 20191. Please note registration information and checks need to be sent in by October 10.

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August District Governor’s Message

Lions and Leos,

For me, one of the best thing about being a Lion is the countless wonderful people I have met through Lions service. Everywhere you go, there are Lions Clubs ready to welcome you; be it in a neighboring Club, across the county or around the world.

I encourage each and every Lion in District 24A to visit at least one other club during the year. A visit to another Club’s meeting is a great way to get to know other Lions and get ideas for service projects and fundraisers for your own club. But don’t forget Lions activities as a way to visit as well.   If you love to eat as much as I do, the pulled pork sandwich the Clifton Lions have on offer at their annual Labor Day Car Show can’t be beat. The Remington Lions monthly country dance is another can’t miss activity. Or the various Octoberfests Lions participate in; Middleburg and Purcellville come readily to mind. Hoist a cold one, eat a pancake, have a great time visiting District 24A Lions; I know I will!

If you’ve got an event coming up, be sure to let the other Clubs know by posting to the 24-A Facebook page. You would be amazed at how many friends we Lions have. And share other clubs’ events on your personal newsfeed. Or go “old school” and pick up the phone and call a few friends and head out to a Lions event.

Whether it’s a formal evening at a Charter Night, a picnic or simply saying “yes” to that Lions friend request, reach out an connect with other Lions, you’ll be glad you did!

I call your attention to my visitation pin. It is a depiction of me as a Lion waiter serving you (yes, those are Buffalo wings in a nod to my hometown). I am honored to be the District Leader of such very fine Lions. Lions is about service.  I’m dedicating my year as Governor to service.  Please know that I am serving YOU, the Lions of District 24-A and not the other way around. I encourage you to share with me your aspirations for your Club, Zone and District.   If something isn’t working I want to hear that too.


Thanks for all your hard work!,

DG Jim

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July District Governor’s Message

Lions of 24A,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as your District Governor this year.  I have had the honor of being a Lion for 25 years. My journey began when I was just a kid growing up in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. My dad lost his vision due to type one Diabetes and the Lions were there for him and for my family. When I was just starting my career, a Lion came into the Bank Branch where I was working and gave me the opportunity to join the world’ s largest humanitarian service club. Would I have joined Lions without that early help my family received, I can’t say. But what I do know is those fine, generous, Lions that reached out to help a stranger epitomize what Lions is all about. We may never know the difference we make in another person’s life through our service. It’s all about the kid who desperately needs the guidance of the Boy Scout Troup we sponsor. It’s the person who is given the simple gift of a pair of glasses so they can work and support their family. It’s the child on the other side of the world whose life is saved from the measles shot Lions provide.

We owe so much to the Lions that have come before us. They have touched the lives of so many people in so many ways over the almost 100 years of Lion’s existence. They were not afraid to make the sometimes difficult changes needed to make our organization stronger so as to serve more people and ensure our future. I pledge to you that I will honor them by continuing to encourage our Clubs to embrace the positive aspects of social media and technology that are improving our ability to communicate with each other and the communities we serve.

I will also be asking you this year to increase the number of service projects on a Club, Zone, Region and District level. Your District Leaders will be tasked with helping you plan and implement these activities.  I encourage you when you are planning these projects to enlist the ideas of our Leos. Listen to what service projects excite them, and work together to make their ideas a reality.

Hard work? Yes. But we will enjoy ourselves to the fullest along the way. Lion Anne and I are looking forward to all of those fun times we always have spending time with the fine Lions of District 24A who share our passion, TO SERVE.

Your Governor, Jim Ryan

P.S.  I’m trying something new this year with the newsletter.  I want to improve the communications by cutting down the number of pages and doing more online.  Please send me your comments and questions so I can improve with each newsletter.

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