When did you become a Lion, really?
When did you become a Lion, really? Some of us may say, “Oh, About 10 years ago.” Some of us may even remember the month and the year. I joined the Willimantic Lions club in January of 1996. I really became a Lion nearly 13 years after I joined the club. Two years ago, I visited the Clara Barton Diabetes camp as district governor. Each year, our district sponsors campers to attend the camp with other kids with Diabetes. It was my first time there and I was immediately greeted by a young woman with a bright smile. I instantly felt welcomed. The day was spent touring the camp, visiting the barracks, dining with the campers, and the evening ended with a great camp fire. Throughout the entire day and visit, I was thanked by kids I had never met before, thanked for being a Lion. Kids would spontaneously yell out, “We love you Lions!” as we toured the grounds. Groups of kids would break out in spontaneous cheers and songs, all praising the Lions. I was overwhelmed by the appreciation I felt from the campers. It became very clear to me that day what it meant to be a Lion. It was my “aha” moment if you will. I realized that no matter how small of a contribution, I made a difference. I made a difference to these kids because I was a Lion.
It was at that very moment that I said to myself, I am not going to be a Lion only when it is convenient, I am not going to be a Lion only when I have enough time or energy, I am not going to be a Lion only when I have nothing better to do, I am a Lion for Life. I realized that I am a small part of a much bigger picture, but my part really does matter. I realized I will always make a difference in someone else’s life as a Lion. A stranger that I may never meet will receive a gift from me, today and every day, here and around the world. That day, I re-committed myself to being a Lion. I promised myself that I would forever offer my talents, my resources, my time to Lions, fully knowing and understanding that there will be times in my life when family, work, health, finances, and time will keep me from always being there.
Then I thought what a great retention program! If every Lion could have that aha moment, the moment you finally get it, we would not have a retention problem at all. When you finally realize that you really do make a difference, you could never possibly quit. Knowing, regardless of your circumstances, that your fellow Lions will always be there for you, you could never possibly quit. Knowing that your commitment comes only with your promise to try your best, never to be judged, you could never possibly leave. So, in keeping with our International President’s theme, “I believe”, I have signed a pledge to serve as a Lion for life.
I believe I make a difference in the world because I am a Lion.
I believe that my talents, my resources, my time are valuable to this organization.
I believe that no matter what my circumstance, my fellow Lions will always support me.
I believe that my service, no matter how great or small, is priceless.
I believe I will serve as a Lion, for the rest of my life.
As a reminder of my pledge, I wear a purple ribbon. Whether it is on my lapel, under my pin, or on my vest, it represents my promise to myself and to those I serve. I am a Lion for Life. With this pledge, there comes no worries, no expectations. No matter what, I will never quit.
So, I ask you, when did you become a Lion, really? What was your Aha moment? I am asking you to share your stories with me so that I can share them with everyone. I ask that you re-commit yourself to Lions because you believe in yourself and you believe in this organization. Sign this pledge and send it to me with or without your story. I will send you a purple ribbon and hopefully by years’ end, every Lion will be wearing a purple ribbon, united and strong. Our retention problem will be solved, one Lion at a time.
PDG Keith Lemire
33 Shannon Lane
Groton, CT 06340
(click on link to download pledge)