Lions Day at Georgia Lions Camp

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Jekyll Island Lions Pam, Mike and Pete attended Lions Day at the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind in Waycross, Georgia on 14 July.  They joined with other Lions from around the state at the event, which allows Lions to learn about the camp and interact with the campers.  This year, the campers, most of whom have low vision or are completely blind, rode horses, went up a climbing wall, and played beeper ball with blindfolded Lions.  Beeper ball is a game played with a beeping kick ball and two “bases” with sighted officials who have different noise makers.  The player who is “up” kicks the beeping ball into the playing field and runs towards the base with the official making a noise (shaking a tambourine in this case).  Meanwhile, the fielders try to find the beeping ball.  It is much more difficult wearing a blindfold than one would expect!  If the runner gets to the base first, their team get a point.  If the ball is found first, the person it out.

A delicious bar-b-que lunch was served in the activity hall.   The lunch was followed by camper presentations, including singing and a discussion about camp life.

The camp has a memorial garden where individuals or clubs can purchase a brick for $100 and have it engraved for installation.  Engravings  can have up to three lines with 13 characters per line.  Lions Pam and Mike already have a brick in the garden.  Forms to buy and engrave a brick are available on the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind website.

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A display in the Activity Hall featured A Dinner in the Dark, a fund raising event organized by a boy scout for his Eagle Scout project.  The dinner drew 104 participants and was hosted at a country club.  The diners wore blindfolds while trying to eat dinner so that they could experience what it is like to be blind.  Afterwards, they were treated to a presentation by a blind person and his guide dog.  The dinner raised thousands of dollars for the camp.  By the way, the scout chose this project because he himself is going blind.

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The Jekyll Island Lions Club received a Certificate of Appreciation from the camp for donating $1,800 during the fiscal year.  The camp is in the Club’s charity budget again for the coming year.  It’s a worthwhile cause!

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Jekyll Island Lions’ Independence Day

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The Jekyll Island Lions Club again participated in the annual Fourth of July parade.  Lion C. J. borrowed his mother-in-law’s GEM-style electric cart to decorate as a “float.”  On 3 July, the day before the parade, Lions C. J., Terry and Terry’s wife Phyllis met at President Pete’s and Lion Cathy’s house in the morning for the decoration party.  They spent about an hour adding flags, Lion paraphernalia, and patriotic colors to the vehicle.  When they were finished, the vehicle was put into the garage for safe-keeping.

The Fourth of July dawned with rain.  There was concern that the parade might be cancelled because of the weather, but the clouds blew away before the start.  Lion Cathy drove the “float” while C. J. rode in the passenger seat.  Lions Pam and Phyllis walked along with the cart carrying Lions signs while President Pete and Lion Terry handed out mints to the crowd.  Lion Mike took pictures.  Lion Tom stopped by prior to the start to say hello and then marched in the parade with his grandson, who was riding a tricycle.  It was a fun event even though the Lions did not win a ribbon this year.

Meanwhile, the Jekyll Island Lions Club also displayed American flags in the Historic District and the Beach Village.  Lion Jim coordinated the display and helped put out the flags with President Pete, Lion Mike and Lion Howard.  At the end of the day, Lions Jim, Howard, Terry and President Pete took in the flags.

In sad news, Lion Gerald Leland, the spouse/companion of MD-18N GLT Coordinator Lillian Shurtleff, passed away.  Both had been visitors to the Jekyll Island Lions Club chapter several times and some of the Club’s officers received training from Lion Lil.  In lieu of flowers, the Club honored her request and sent a donation to the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind in his name.

In good news, Lion Cathy, the Club Secretary, received a Certificate of Excellence from Lions Clubs International for reporting volunteer hours and Club activity every month in MyLCI.

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Flag Day, Awards and Board Meeting

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Even though the Jekyll Island Lions Club is on break, plenty of activity continues.  Lion Jim organized the Flag Day display on 14 June.  Lions Jim, Howard, Terry, Pete and Terry’s wife Phyllis put up and took down the flags on Jekyll Island.  Meanwhile, Lion Pete submitted the Club for recognition at the Glynn County Flag Day celebration in Brunswick next to the courthouse.  Lion Jim accepted the Certificate of Recognition on behalf of the Club.

President Pete called a Board of Directors meeting on 20 June in the Jekyll Presbyterian Community Church hall.  He began by presenting former President C. J. with a Diamond Centennial pin from Lions Clubs International for bringing in new members during his tenure.

The Board approved the 2019 charity budget and set up the dispersal calendar.  A Fund Raising Committee and a By-Laws Review Committee were established.  The Club’s Jekyll Island telephone book will now be included in the Jekyll Island Citizens Association welcome packet given to new residents.  Once again this year, the Lions will participate in the 4th of July parade.  Members of the now defunct Brunswick Lions Club will be contacted to see if they want to join the Jekyll Island Lions Club.

In other news, the Club’s e-newsletter is now available on the Jekyll Island Lions Club website.

Celebrating 55+ Years of Service

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The Jekyll Island Lions Club was founded in 1962 and its 55th anniversary was last year.  When Lion Cathy was at this year’s Georgia Lions Convention, she noticed that some of the other clubs’ banners had anniversary patches, and ours had none.  She learned that the patches are available for purchase from the LCI store, and bought the 55 year one for our banner.

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The Club displays American flags on all federal holidays except Christmas, and on Flag Day.  The displays are placed in the Historic District and the Beach Village, and the flags fly from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  During Flag Day on the mainland, the Veterans Council of the Golden Isles, the Marshes of Glynn Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and BPOE Brunswick Lodge #691 host a patriotic celebration.  This year, they started a program to recognize flag displays in the county.  Lion Pete nominated the Jekyll Island Lions Club.  The Club will receive a certificate of recognition at the courthouse celebration on 14 June.

Speaking of flying the flag, Lion Jim arranged the Club’s flag display during Memorial Day on 28 May.

Lion Howard organized an American Red Cross blood drive at the Jekyll Presbyterian Community Church on 31 May.

The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation eye clinic team conducted a clinic at the Coastal Medical Access Project in Brunswick on 4 June.

Jekyll Island Lions Club Scholarship and Georgia Lions Convention

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Gracyn Bailey is the 2018 recipient of the Jekyll Island Lions Club Service Scholarship.  She received the award at the Golden Isles and Career Academy Luncheon held on 22 May.  Ms. Bailey is an outstanding student and she participated in the Academy’s workday on 11 May at the Georgia Lions Camp, thereby meeting all the requirements for the scholarship.  President-elect Pete represented the Club at the ceremony.

The annual Georgia Lions Convention took place from Friday, 18 May to Sunday, 20 May.  This year, the convention was held at the lodge in Unicoi State Park just outside of Helen, Georgia.  Approximately 290 Lions attended the event along with several charities and a few vendors.

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Jekyll Island Lions Pam, Cathy, Mike and Pete represented the Club at the convention.  Prior to the convention, the Club had gathered and sorted over 1,000 used eyeglasses and sunglasses to deliver to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation representative there.  In addition, Lions Pam and Mike and Lions Cathy and Pete put together baskets for the silent auction that benefits the Georgia Lions Camp.  Lions Pam and Mike also had a vendor booth where Lion Pam, a well-known author, sold and signed her many books.

The convention opened with a low country boil at the park’s beach house, about 2 miles from the lodge.  It was followed by an ice cream social.  Some games such as Uno and Yatzee were on the tables for those who wanted to play and get to know their fellow lions.

Saturday began with the Melvin Jones Breakfast in the large dining hall.  The guest speaker was past Lions Clubs International President Jim Ervin.  After he spoke, all the names of the 2017-2018 Melvin Jones Fellows were read…except our recipient Lion Jim Gertis.  Lions Cathy and Pete pointed this out to the convention organizers after breakfast and he should be included in the list next year.

Past Lions Clubs International President Jim Ervin

Past Lions Clubs International President Jim Ervin addressing the Melvin Jones Breakfast.

At the business meeting following breakfast, Lions Pam and Mike were the Club’s two voting delegates.  Callaway Gardens was selected as the venue for the 2019 convention.  The business meeting included a number of reports and special awards were given out.

After lunch, convention participants could participate in the Lions Clubs International five service initiatives.  The Club dropped off the boxes of glasses at the vision booth.  The vision booth also had its own used eyeglasses sorting opportunity.  Representatives of Leader Dogs for the Blind provided demonstrations with a guide dog and discussed blindness.  Volunteers could be blindfolded and given a white cane to experience moving around like a blind person.  The diabetes booth was collecting stuffed animals for hospitalized children and Camp Kudzu.  Lions Cathy and Pete dropped off five animals.  The hunger booth was collecting canned goods and Lions Cathy and Pete dropped off two big cans.  The pediatric cancer booth wanted a variety of items for Camp Sunshine.  Lions Cathy and Pete donated t-shirts, board games, and coloring books for the children.  At the environment booth, Lions Cathy and Pete grabbed a garbage bag and joined others picking up trash along the nearby hiking trails.  In return, they received several packages of seeds and peat pots with dirt in which to grow them.

Prior to dinner, the convention hosted a Las Vegas casino-style fundraiser.  During the day, convention participants received gambling tokens for donating items at the service initiative booths and partaking in activities.  Tokens could also be purchased at a discount from the cashier.  The tokens earned and won would later be used during the live auction after dinner.  It was a lot of fun playing the different games.

The District Governors Banquet followed the casino fundraiser.  Lions Clubs International Third Vice President Judge Haynes Townsend was the guest speaker.  The after dinner entertainment included a live auction and a mentalist.

Early the next morning, the convention held a necrology service in memory of the Lions who passed away during the year.  The name of Lion Claiborne Smith from Jekyll Island was read.  Afterwards, Lion Pete picked up one of the dogwood saplings available at the service, brought it home, and presented it along with the necrology service program to Lion Clay’s widow Betty.

Lions Camp Award

At the Sunday breakfast, awards were passed out and the Jekyll Island Lions Club received a Gold Award from the Georgia Lions Camp for its support this past year.  Since all the Jekyll Island Lions had to leave right after breakfast due to their long drives, they do not know if the Club won any state awards.

Camp, Eyeglasses Sorting and Summer Break

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The Golden Isles and Career Academy conducted a workday at the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind on 11 May.  Thirty students plus staff and Lion Mike painted the horse paddock, did landscaping work, and repaired the boathouse during a full day on site.  The Jekyll Island Lions Club provides money towards a scholarship and one of the requirements is that whomever receives the money spend a day working at the camp.

At the 15 May Club dinner meeting, Lions sorted hundreds of used eyeglasses so that they could be boxed up for transport to the annual Georgia State Lions Convention.  The glasses were sorted as follows: good clear eyeglasses; broken clear eyeglasses; good non-prescription sunglasses; and broken or prescription sunglasses.  In addition, a separate box was available for loose lenses.  After the sorting at the meeting, Lion Pete consolidated these glasses with the glasses sorted at a previous meeting and ended up with several boxes.  Lions Mike and Pam agreed to take two boxes and Lions Pete and Cathy will take the rest.  Lions Pete and Cathy are also taking the Club banner and stand to the convention.

The 15 May dinner meeting was the last before the Club’s summer break (June, July and August).  President C. J. gave an overview of what the club accomplished this past year.  Incoming President Pete had intended to provide a summary of the results from the membership satisfaction survey, but only seven members filled it out so he instead asked those who had not yet filled it out to do so.

Here are the upcoming events for the rest of May plus June and July.

22 May – Golden Isles and Career Academy Scholarship Day

28 May – Memorial Day Flag Display

14 June – Flag Day Display

4 July – Independence Day Flag Display and Parade

Membership Satisfaction Survey

 

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Lions Clubs International as well as individual Lions Club members have created several groups on Facebook to discuss a variety of topics and issues.  The Cyber Lions Group is one of the most active and explores more controversial subjects than the others.  Membership retention is a problem that is often discussed.  It is no secret that service clubs have been in decline for nearly two decades in North America.  Why is that decline happening and what can be done to reserve it?  Lions Clubs International has developed a membership satisfaction survey that clubs can use to evaluate themselves and identify areas of dissatisfaction causing members to quit.   A Lion in New Zealand adapted the survey using Cognito Forms to make it easy to fill  out online, either via an email link or a link on a web page.  The Jekyll Island Lions Club sent the survey link via email to its members on 2 May, a day after announcing it at the 1 May meeting.   Unlike some other clubs, the Jekyll Island survey can be filled out anonymously, which may help to explain the low response rate.  Not even a third of the members have filled it out.  Members have until 15 May to work on the survey, and then it will be discussed at the dinner meeting that evening.

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In other activity, the Club is engaged in the final push for collecting and sorting used eye glasses before delivering them to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation representative at the Georgia State Lions convention the weekend of 18 to 20 May.  Lion Jim will be contacting some of his sources in Brunswick for glasses.  If he collects a significant number of them, the Club will have a sorting session at the 15 May meeting.

Toys for Tots and New Officers Induction

The Jekyll Island Lions Club invited Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Trooper Patrick Edwards to address the 1 May dinner meeting.  He discussed the Toys for Tots program at the GSP Jekyll Island Barracks as well as the GSP role in policing the island.  Trooper Edwards noted that he will pick up any discarded furniture or appliances in good condition to sell and use the proceeds to purchase toys for children.

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President C. J. also inducted the new officers for the 2018-2019 year.  Technically, the new officers are not in office until 1 July but since the Club takes a summer break, they were inducted on 1 May.  Club members were asked to invite their non-member spouses so there was a big crowd for the ceremony.

New Lions Club Member and Eye Glasses Recycling

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The Jekyll Island Lions Club welcomed Tom Schuyler as a new member at the 17 April dinner meeting.  Lion Pete was his sponsor and President C. J. administered the induction ceremony.

 

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Lions Jim and Pete brought two boxes of used eye glasses that they had collected over the past few months to the dinner meeting.  The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation had issued new instructions for sorting the glasses before submitting them so the Club spent about 10 minutes inspecting and sorting them into the appropriate categories.  The sorted glasses will be delivered to the Foundation at the annual Georgia State Lions Convention in May.

Service Work and Charity

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The first work weekend for the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind was 6 to 8 April.  Jekyll Island Lions Cathy and Pete spent half a day on 6 April at the camp painting picnic tables.  Lions Bob S., Cathy and Pete donated supplies to the camp as well.  The volunteers working that day were well rewarded with pizza and soft drinks.

The Jekyll Island Lions Club board met on 9 April to finalize the distribution of funds from the charity account.  This year, the Club donated funds to the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Sight for Students via the Glynn County school nurses, Learning Ally, and the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind.  The Club also provided funding for underprivileged blind children to attend the camp.  In addition, the Club continued to offer a scholarship at the Golden Isles College & Career Academy.  And, of course, the Lions Clubs International  Foundation received money.

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Howard Family Dental in Brunswick donated boxes of toothpaste to the Jekyll Island Lions Club for the homeless amenity kits project and the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind.  Saying “thanks” to businesses who support the Club is important.  A thank you letter was given in person to Howard Family Dental.