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.
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 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.
Lions Cathy, Pete, Pam and Mike
The dinner crowd
Guest speaker Judge Haynes Townsend
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.
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.