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.
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.