By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Lions Club members had a special visit from District 37 L District Governor Wanda Coates Monday night bringing the good news the district was ranked number one in North America during the first quarter of the International service club’s calendar year. Club members were praised for their hard work and dedication in the organization’s Campaign 1250 membership drive initiative.
The service club currently boasts 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in some 200 countries. Clubs are grouped into roughly 750 districts, each of which contain and must maintain 35 or more clubs and at least 1,250 active Lions Club members. The district Coates governs had fallen in membership numbers in recent years to 1,153 members, a situation that put the district into provisional status whereby the district could not put any member forward for leadership at the International level.
Thanks to efforts of the district’s clubs, including Morinville who currently have 25 members, the district currently has 1,213 members, 37 shy of regaining its full status.
“We are getting close,” Coates told local members. “That is why we are on our membership campaign so we get up to 1,250 so we are no longer provisional.” But the District Governor explained there is more to strong membership numbers than the district’s status within the international body. “The more hands we have in the community, the better the community is for our service.”
Coates praised the local club for their hands-on involvement in the community, including the club’s recent Santa Breakfast, an event that fed more than 300 attendees and raised roughly $750 for the Knights of Columbus Christmas Hamper Program. “You have the advantage of being a hands-on club in your community,” Coates told her members, noting city clubs often serve their communities more through financial contributions than hands-on activities. “You need to really give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.”
Local members were also encouraged to get involved in assisting with the organization’s literacy initiatives and other programs.
Coates, a Lions Club member for the past 24 years, joined the Northgate Lions Club in 1988. Over the years she has served as club secretary, president, Youth Exchange liaison, Quest liaison and Project Pride facilitator before serving at the Zone and District levels. Prior to becoming involved in the Lions Club, Coates was active in Scouting for 20 years.