State of the Lions District 12-N
The state of our District, on a scale of 1-10, in my view, is about a 6. We are blessed with many dedicated Lions who serve not only their communities at their Club level but also at the District level and some at the State Level. All clubs that I have visited have at least one Service Project and at least one Fund Raising project to pay for the Service Project. Most Clubs have many of each. In that regard nothing has changed from the beginning of this Lions year till now. Thank you all for what you do.
I have been blessed in having a great Cabinet that supported me and my objectives for our district. There never has been a time when the District needed something that the Cabinet wasn’t there to meet the need. Thank you; IPDG Bill McDonald my mentor, DGE Diane Wilkerson, VDG Mike McDonough, Cabinet Secretary Paulette Bailey, Cabinet Treasurer PDG Jim McFarland, GLT Coordinator PCC Nancy Hall, and GMT Coordinator PDG Clare Crawford.
Speaking of Objectives, My Objectives for the District were three fold plus one from our International President, Dr. Wing Kun Tam.
- Grow the District by 3 Clubs
- Increase District Membership by 60 (3 clubs times 20 members per club)
- Leave in place a team dedicated to continued revitalization of our District
- President Tam’s objective; plant one tree per member.
The Strategy was to add clubs of young people who could do the heavy lifting of Lions for many years to come while holding membership in existing clubs to a net “0”, i.e., no loss of membership. Nurture the new clubs with Recertified Guiding Lions to ensure their survival. How did we do?
Each VDG accepted responsibility for starting 2 new clubs. DGE Diane tried for 3. Alcoa, Jonesbouro, and Erwin. Community Needs assessment were sent and analyzed for each of the three. Alcoa and Erwin are still a work in progress with Recertified Guiding Lions PDG Kevin Storberg and Lion Joe Klint. Jonesboro was unresponsive to our efforts. VDG Mike was successful in starting the Jellico Area Lions Club along with Recertified Guiding Lions Dean & Nellie Harshbarger. A yeoman’s effort to start the Oliver Springs Club with Recertified Guiding Lion PDG John Kelsey was finally abandoned when those potential members whose interests seemed sincere but they didn’t return applications after extended prodding. A series of misfortunes including the city manager leaving just at the wrong time didn’t help matters.
In order to have the Certified Guiding Lions in place GLT Coordinator PCC Nancy Hall conducted Guiding Lion Training last fall and recertified 9 Guiding Lions so that they would be ready for nurturing the planned new clubs. Recertified Guiding Lions Names Nellie & Dean Harshbarger, Carol & Bill McDonald, Nancy Hall, Joe Klint, Kevin Storberg, John Kelsey and Diane Wilkerson. Thank you Nancy and Guiding Lions for stepping up for your District.
So, instead of 3 new clubs we have one and two still in process. Instead of achieving 60 new members we have 20. How did we do at maintaining the membership in existing clubs? We started the year with 1,132 Lion members and as of 30 April we have 1,135 members in the district including the 20 from Jellico Area Lions Club. So, we didn’t hit that target either. We had 98 members inducted or rejoin clubs in the district; we dropped 95 Lions of which 12 were due to death. As in previous years our membership in existing clubs continues to dwindle. And there are clouds on the horizon. The Union County Lions club would have been Lost if it were not for the Heroic work of Bonnie Peters to save it. Although listed at 9 members, she has recruited the Catholic Church to rebuild the club membership. Thanks Bonnie. The New Tazewell Lions Club submitted a letter indicating they will no longer function as a club. That club of 71 members has had an independent attitude as long as I have been around. We are striving to fine a core of members who want to continue the club with the help of VDG Mike McDonough and IPDG Bill McDonald and restart it. Clearly it does not have the 71 members listed on the roster, but saving the club is our objective.
My third objective was to leave in place a team dedicated to the continued revitalization of our district. In my view what I, originally thought would be the toughest objective has turned out to be realized as of our District Convention where the two existing VDG’s who have done marvelous jobs were joined via election of Ed Gibbons as Vice District Governor. From a leadership standpoint, the district could not be in finer shape. Thank you Diane, Mike and Ed for your commitment to serving our District.
How about International President Tam’s objective? Prior to conferring the Title of District Governor, President Tam asked each of the then DGE’s to commit in writing to planting Trees as part of his 1 Million Tree Campaign. I pledged 1143 to be planted in 12-N, one per member of the district, so I thought at the time. District 12-N planted 2000 Loblolly Pines and 12 Poplars at LVBI in Morristown. It is an easy number to remember, it is the same number as our calendar year. That was an extraordinary effort. Thank you.
So much for the numbers. That is not what Lionism is all about. What did we do in 12-N this year?
- White Cane income and donations; we still need your support to reach our commitment for giving to 12-N Charities for next year.
- Closed out the LVBI Grant for LVBI expansion in Johnson City and the Disaster Relief for tornado victims in Greene & Washington Counties
- Enacted Constitution and Bylaws changes at our District Convention so that we are now in full compliance with International.
- $1,500 Discressionary help for a young girl, Emilie Gregg, matched Harriman/Kingston donations + other clubs added donations.
- So far this Calendar year 3,460 KidSite screenings were conducted (almost half of all those in Tennessee) with 97 being referred.
- Thousands of Public School students had their eyes screened.
- Thousands of Eyeglasses have been collected for recycling to those who otherwise would not be able to see.
Your individual communities are better for Lions having been there. Food Pantries, Scholarships, parks, eyeglasses/exams and on and on and on.
Challenge to incoming Leadership Team.
- Rezoning to combine strong clubs with not so strong clubs.
- Sandra Thaler will take on the GMT Coordinator position completing the remaining 2 years of PDG Clare Crawford’s term.
- Restarting New Tazewell
- Clubs with aging Lions struggling to gain members will ultimately disappear
- New Club formation continues to be your challenge
This has been a year I will never forget. Thank you all for making it so.
DG Chuck Bailey