This is my last message as District Governor. Our year has been successful because of the hard work of all the clubs and Lions in our District. I’ve enjoyed my three years working for the District. The best part was visiting every club at least once, and many a number of times. I’ve met many steadfast Lions who care about their community and helping Lions to grow through service.
We lost a number of good friends. Forty Lions past away this year, double the number of any other District in the state. These included PDG’s, wives of PDG’s, and Charter Members. All dedicated Lions that made our organization what it is today. However, we are still have a positive membership growth. It shows what a commitment to hands-on, public service will do. If we remain on that course, we will continue to expand our membership and service.
Our service projects continue to grow. We screened over 14,500 people with the SPOT devices, including almost 6,900 for the KidSight USA Program. That’s almost double from the figures reported last year. We referred over 2,000 people for issues and further testing. Our partnership with the local Special Olympics committees are just starting to and we don’t know where it will lead yet. We started a new partnership with MyEyeDoctor to provide inexpensive screening and glasses for the clubs. In our first year of the cleanup of Bull Run, we picked up approximately 1,600 pounds of trash. The Women’s Symposium provided excellent information and added four new members to our organization. And the Worldwide Induction Day demonstrates that our members are getting younger and growing.
Lions Clubs International has been about change throughout our 98 year history. There is a lot we can be proud of. We were the first service organization to allow women to join, we were the first to be International, we are the first and only organization allowed in Mainland China, and we are rated one of the best non-profit in the world. These actions occurred because individual Lions and clubs just like yours initiated changes and made these possible. I can’t stress enough that we need to embrace change. We cannot be afraid to make small or large changes to keep improving our club operations, our service and organization. We cannot be afraid for the changes to fail. They are opportunities to learn and improve. We have to keep an open mind to new ideas and new members. There are no “sacred cows” and never accept “we’ve always done it this way” as an excuse not to change.