Jekyll Lions Face Communication Challenges

Communications technology is changing faster and faster, which makes it challenging for a club to communicate with its members and the public.  Who uses what technology depends on age, aptitude, and equipment.  For any Lions Club, there might be members who only use the telephone and email while there are others who use the latest social media tools.  Clubs try to cope with this technology disparity in various ways.  The Jekyll Island Lions Club primarily uses email and the telephone for internal communication. However, it does have an active website and an active Facebook page.  Some Jekyll Island Lions have also used Twitter on behalf of the Club, and newspaper articles plus pictures routinely appear in The Golden Islander and The Brunswick News.  Then there is this weekly blog. In the past, there was also a monthly newsletter, which may be revived depending on how much time it takes to produce.  Those are a lot of  channels to keep active to reach the widest audience.


At the Lions Clubs International level, there is the Lions SMiLE initiative.  This group of Lions helps local Lions Clubs understand and use social media applications and tools. They produce videos and presentations for download, a blog, and a social media directory.  In order to attract and communicate with younger people, understanding social media is a must.


MyLion is a new app that is designed to facilitate communications between Lions.  It was introduced at the Lions Clubs International convention in Chicago this year.  Not many Jekyll Island Lions have downloaded it onto their cellphones or tablets yet so, at the Club level, there is almost no use.  Indeed, not everyone who has downloaded it has gotten it to work.  At least it has a support team working out the bugs!

Getting back to the Jekyll Island Lions Club, there is no formal team working all the communications outlets.  One member usually writes articles for The Golden Islander. Another member runs the Club’s website and sends pictures to The Brunswick News. The members who have Facebook accounts can contribute to the Facebook page.  One member writes this blog, and otherwise plays with social media tools like Twitter on behalf of the Club.



Jekyll Lions Help Each Other

A few years ago, Jekyll Island Lion Tom resigned as an active member of the Club after decades of service to the community.  He was in his mid-nineties by then and attending meetings or participating in activities was difficult.  The Club gave him a rousing send off and presented him with an American flag to fly in front of his house.  About a month ago, Tom’s daughter-in-law contacted the Club and noted that Tom’s 97th birthday was coming up.  She commented that his flag had faded and she wondered if she could buy him a new one through the Club to replace it.  Lion Jim is the Jekyll Island Lions Club American flag project chairman and he bought a replacement on her behalf.  The day before Lion Tom’s birthday, Lions Jim, Howard and Pete showed up at Lion Tom’s house and surprised him with the gift.  Then all three joined Lion Tom outside to lower the faded flag and raise the new one.  Lion Tom kept the faded flag for its sentimental value.

Less than a week later, Lion Frank contacted a few fellow Lions asking for help.  His daughter was moving from Michigan to the Jekyll Island area.  Until she found a place to live, she would be staying with her parents so all her belongings needed to be put in storage.  Lion Frank arranged for the rental of two storage units in nearby Brunswick and he requested help unloading his daughter’s two trucks.  Lions Howard, Rick, and Pete joined Lion Frank, his daughter, and one of his daughter’s friends unloading the trucks and stacking everything in the storage units.  It was another example of Jekyll Lions helping each other.

One benefit of belonging to a service organization like Lions Clubs International is developing friendships and a mutual network of support.  While individual Lions themselves cannot receive any of the charitable funds the Club collects, they certainly can help each other in other ways.  We see it all the time on Jekyll Island.


Thank You from the Jekyll Island Lions Club

Collecting used eyeglasses is one of the consistent services the Jekyll Island Lions Club has conducted over the years.  The Club currently has collection boxes on Jekyll Island at Ameris BankJudy Kay’s Salon, the Quality Inn in their housekeeping facility, and at the Jekyll Island Camp Ground in their community room.  This summer, official Lions Clubs International (LCI) thank you cards were specifically purchased for the businesses hosting the Club’s boxes.  In the card, it was pointed out how many glasses had been collected at each location and a packet of information about the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation with a drink cozie was included.  It is important to thank the businesses that support the Club.
Meanwhile, Lion Jim has been very successful obtaining glasses on the mainland from various sources.  So what does the Club do with all these glasses?  Lions Jim, Cathy, and Pete take turns volunteering at the monthly Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation eye clinics held at the Coastal Medical Access Project (CMAP) in Brunswick.  A van from the Foundation drives to Brunswick for the clinics and the Club gives them the glasses, which are then transported to their facility in Chamblee for cleaning.  The majority of the refurbished glasses are given to overseas missions for distribution to those who can’t afford glasses.  
For the Jekyll Island businesses, here are the collection totals from the date a box was dropped off to the end of June 2017.
Ameris Bank (August 2015 to June 2017) = 225
Judy Kay’s Salon (August 2015 to June 2017) = 73
Camp Ground (August 2015 to June 2017) = 10
Quality Inn (February 2016 to June 2017) = 139

A Jekyll Island Lions Club 4th of July

The 4th of July is a busy time for the Jekyll Island Lions Club because the Club displays American flags on the island and participates in the Independence Day Parade.  Let’s discuss the parade first.  Jekyll Island is a small community and the short parade consists of walkers, bicycle riders, and golf carts, all decorated in their most patriotic colors.  The Club participates in the golf cart category.  This year, Club President C. J. borrowed his mother-in-law’s yellow 4-seater for the event.  In anticipation of the parade, Lion Pete had purchased two large Lions Clubs International “We Serve” logos at the Georgia Lions Clubs convention in May, and Lion Cathy had later purchased red, white and blue banners, pinwheels, and stars at a local hobby store.  Lion C. J. had patriotic decorations from the previous year as well. The day before the parade, Lion C. J. drove the golf cart over to Lions Pete and Cathy’s house, where they applied the decorations and stored it over night in the garage in case of rain.

Early in the morning on the 4th of July, Lions Mike, Norm, Jim, Howard and Pete picked up the American flags from the warehouse and installed them in their appropriate holders in the Historic District and the Beach Village.  The parade goes through the Historic District along the route where many of the flags are displayed.

While Lion Pete was installing American flags. Lion Cathy drove the golf cart over to Lion C. J.’s house, where he added two banners noting the 100 years of service Lions Clubs International has provided to the world.  Then Lion C. J. took the wheel and drove to the parade starting point at the Jekyll Island Museum on Stable Road.  When Lion Pete was finished with the flags, he joined them where the parade participants were lining up.  The plan was to have Lions C. J. and Cathy in the cart while Lion Pete walked along side handing out peppermints to the crowd.  Well, the parade moved quite a bit faster than the peppermint distribution but everyone ended up in front of the judges’ stand in the end.  The Jekyll Island Lions Club was both surprised and honored to win third place in the patriotic golf cart category!


Jekyll Island Telephone Book Update


Every other year, the Jekyll Island Lions Club produces a telephone directory for the island.  It includes all the residents and businesses plus safety information such as hurricane evacuations and the like.  The Lions Club raises money from this effort by offering for sale advertising space in the book to area businesses and organizations, and then selling the book itself to the residents.  The Club is currently in the process of updating the residential listing and selling advertisements for the 2018-2019 directory. The goal is to have the book compiled and printed in time to sell it to the winter residents while they are still on the island.

In other activity, the Lions club is getting ready for the annual Independence Day parade on the 4th of July.  The Lions will be busy getting the golf cart float ready the day before the event and then entering it in the parade.  They also will be putting out American flags in the Historic District and Beach Village before the parade starts and then taking them back to the warehouse at day’s end.

Jekyll Island Beach Clean Up and a Funeral

Beach Clean Up

Lion Pete with Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff member Allie King.

Jekyll Island Lion Pete joined the Georgia Sea Turtle Center‘s beach clean up on 17 June. The team began by downloading the Marine Debris Tracker app onto their smart phones and configuring it for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  The goal was to pick up and log trash on the Jekyll Island beach from Great Dunes Park to The Westin Hotel.  The team divided into groups of two with one person holding the trash bags and the other logging the type of trash into the tracker.  Hard plastic items were put into one bag and all other trash was put in another.  The clean up ended after two hours and the trash was hauled away.  When the logged trash on the app was submitted online for research purposes, the team learned they had collected almost 1,000 pieces of garbage in a one mile stretch of the beach!

In sad news, the wife of former Lion Buck Edwardson passed away.  Her funeral was held at the Jekyll Island Presbyterian Community Church on 17 June and one pew was reserved for Lions.

Jekyll Island Lions Help with Eyeglasses


Once a month, the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation hosts an eye clinic at the Coastal Medical Access Project (CMAP) in Brunswick, Georgia.  Jekyll Island Lions usually volunteer at every clinic.  For the June clinic, Lions Pete and Cathy helped out.  Lion Cathy helped patients pick out eyeglass frames while Lion Pete filled out their paperwork.

Lion Pete also took the opportunity to give over 300 pairs of used eyeglasses to the Foundation.  Lion Pete collects the glasses from donation boxes at four businesses on the island: Ameris Bank, Jekyll Island Campground, Judy Kay’s Salon, and The Quality Inn.   Lion Jim goes off island and visits optometrist offices to collect frames, readers and used eyeglasses.  The Foundation takes the donated glasses, cleans them, measures the prescriptions, and then sends most of them overseas with medical mission trips.  Readers and sunglasses are also redistributed to the needy in the United States.

Jekyll Island Lions’ Flags, Blood and Cheese

Lions Sign (3)

The new Lions Club sign on the causeway just before the bridge onto Jekyll Island.

The Jekyll Island Lions Club has been busy since the Georgia State Lions Convention ended, even though the Club is technically on break.  Every summer, the Club stops meeting for three months because it is “high season” on the island.  Hotels are full, restaurants are crowded, and tourists are many.  The Club resumes meeting in September when the pace slows down and life returns to normal.  Ironically, a new Jekyll Island Lions Club sign at the entrance to the island went up just as the Club was going on vacation.  It is still nice to have the sign reappear; it had gone missing during road construction awhile ago.

The day after the State Convention ended was Memorial Day and the Club once again displayed American Flags in the Historic District and the Beach Village.  Lions Norm, Jim, Howard and Pete got the flags out of the warehouse at 7:30 am and flew them until 3:30 pm.

On Thursday, Lions Howard, Cathy, Bob and Pete volunteered at the American Red Cross blood drive in the Presbyterian Community Church.  Lion Howard continued to serve as the Jekyll Island blood drive coordinator and he donated blood, too.  Lion Cathy worked the check-in desk while Lions Pete and Bob volunteered as donor escorts and snack table monitors.

More Cheese Lions

Lions Mike and Pam giving Georgia Lions Camp Director Mike Williams 21 wheels of donated cheese.

On Sunday, Lions Mike and Pam delivered 21 two-pound wheels of Guggisberg Baby Swiss Cheese to the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind near Waycross, Georgia.  The Club did not sell its entire inventory of cheese this year and it was decided to donate the remaining wheels to charity.  The Camp accepted half of the Club’s inventory and Lion Rick volunteered to find another charity that would take the rest after 16 June.  In the meantime, cheese wheels will be available for sale.

Georgia Lions Clubs Convention Review


The annual Georgia Lions Clubs convention took place in Atlanta from 26 to 28 May and one Jekyll Island Lion attended.  The opening ceremony was conducted at the Delta Flight Museum next to an airliner!  Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle was the guest speaker and Lions Clubs International (LCI) International President Bob Corlew also said a few words.  It was an impressive start to the convention.

The convention was attended by members of Georgia Lions Clubs and several non-profit entities like the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, Learning Ally, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., and Leader Dogs for the Blind.  Most of these organizations had separate booths in the hotel lobby.

On the second day of the conference, the Lions had breakfast with their respective District members (18-L, 18-I, 18-O and 18-N).  The Tail Twister for 18-N played some games, then past LCI International President Jim Ervin and current LCI International President Bob Corlew stopped by with encouraging words.  Learning Ally also came in to present certificates of recognition with the Jekyll Island Lions Club earning one for 15+ years of support.  The Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind gave the Jekyll Island Lions Club a Bronze Award.

The annual business meeting followed breakfast.  The delegates from the different clubs heard a variety of reports and voted on quite a number of resolutions.  LCI International President Bob Corlew also addressed the group.  In between the voting, a campaign rally was held for Lion Haynes Townsend, who is running for LCI International Third Vice President.  Voting for his position will take place at the Chicago Convention.

The Melvin Jones Luncheon took place after the business meeting.  Once people finished eating, the new Melvin Jones Fellows were presented and 38 different state awards were handed out.  After lunch, several concurrent sessions and meetings were held.  They included the Blind Lions of Georgia meeting, Leader Dog meeting, Ethics training, E-Sight presentation, Georgia Lions Camp general session, Zone Chair training, Mentoring training, Fun & Games, and the LEO Council meeting.  The Jekyll Island Lion attended the Georgia Lions Camp general session.  Among the speakers was Garrick Scott, a new hire at the camp who is developing advanced programs designed to teach blind people life skills so that they can lead independent lives.



Lion Garrick Scott discussing his advanced program for blind students at the Georgia Lions Camp.

That evening was the District Governors’ Banquet, a fancy affair with the head table in bow ties or gowns.  Both past LCI International President Jim Ervin and current LCI President Bob Corlew address the gathering.  Hearing both of them speak with such enthusiasm for Lions Clubs International brought the crowd to their feet.  After their presentations, awards and gifts were handed out to deserving individuals.  It was quite an inspiring night.

In the morning, there was a necrology service to honor all the Lions who had passed away during the year.  Their names were read and taps were played.  The final session of the conference followed with reports by the Council Secretary, Council Treasurer and the Lions Clubs International Foundation.  Bids on future state conventions were discussed and it was announced that the next convention will be held 18-20 May at Unicoi State Park near Helen, Georgia.  The Centennial Celebration Brunch followed with speaker, John Stephenson, Esq., from Chick-fil-A, who discussed football and the Peach Bowl, which Chick-fil-A sponsors.  Historically, the Georgia Lions Lighthouse for the Blind founded the Peach Bowl as a charity event and it still receives funds from the game.  Last year, Chick-fil-A and the Peach Bowl gave it $100,000 for LCI’s centennial year.  LCI International President Bob Corlew provided the closing comments for the brunch and the conference.



Jekyll Island Lions Paint Memory Matters House

Lion C.J.

Lion C.J. uses a roller to paint the former dining room.

Three Jekyll Island Lions helped paint two rooms and a kitchen at the Memory Matters House on 19 May.  Memory Matters is a local independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports individuals with memory impairment and their caregivers. The Southeast Georgia Health System rents the house to Memory Matters for a nominal fee but the organization must maintain and renovate the former residence on its own. The interior of the building needed updating and painting and that’s where the Lions volunteered to step in.

Lions C.J., Howard and Pete joined with other volunteers at the House to paint.  The “Florida” room was the largest and most challenging; it had paneling on two walls with large “ceiling to floor” windows on the other two.  The paneling required a coat of primer first, then a coat of regular paint.  The kitchen and what probably was once the dining room just needed painting, no priming. Lion C.J. relied on his past experience as a professional house painter and made the work go quickly.  By closing time at 4:00 pm, the walls were finished, leaving only trim painting for another group of volunteers expected the next day to complete.  The Memory Matters staff made sure we were well fed, too!