Are we willing to change?

As we come to the end of the 2012 calendar year I would like to take a few moments to look back at what we have accomplished. I couldn’t be more proud of the members of district 31F. As Lions, we find ourselves at a crossroads. The Lions are the most effective non-government organization in the world, but we find ourselves squeezed by declining membership, a difficult economy and an organization that is approaching 100 years of age. We are in need of new ideas to reverse some of the negative trends that have occurred. I hear from Lions across NC that we need new members. In 31F we want new and younger members and are showing them that we respect and value the new views of service that they bring. We don’t just need them; we want them and are willing to change to get them.
Our innovations so far are impressive:
–31F has met the first two criterion of Humanitarian/White Cane. 2nd VDG Ken Smith is doing a great job of administering this effort.
–We have passed a change to our district constitution that allows for the use of new technology to hold meetings and conduct business over the internet. In fact, we have already conducted two agenda items digitally. This is the way young people do business and it is much more efficient than older means, especially the face-to-face meeting.
–We have expanded our events to include hunger relief and conducted a meal packaging event in conjunction with our last cabinet meeting. We are working to embrace new members desire to serve in means that go beyond helping the visually impaired.
–Our district convention continues to adapt to the needs and desires of younger members, while honoring our past and present members. We are conducting a one day event as few young people have the desire or ability to spend an entire weekend at a convention. We also do not have an International Director at our convention. Our district convention is about our district and is geared towards our members and our clubs. This also makes our convention inexpensive with a total cost of $35.00 per person which includes all events and three meals. We all need to keep in mind that in a tough economy, our members have limited resources and we need to be not good, but great custodians of these resources.
–The governor’s team with 1st VDG Vince Schimmoller and 2nd VDG Ken Smith are doing a great job keeping up with our current clubs and any concerns they have. We make heavy use of email and the telephone and will use video teleconferencing in the near future. We have yet to have a problem that required traveling for an additional meeting. As Lions leaders, we have traditionally called for a face-to-face meeting as the first choice for dealing with issues. This should change immediately. Digital meetings keep our people off the roads and protect their valuable resources, including but not limited to, time, money and effort.
–In keeping with new and innovative membership initiatives, we are working on campus clubs and a cyber eye care interest club to compliment a new traditional club in Spring Lake. Our governors’ team has asked every club to recruit new members only when they are ready to use them in a meaningful way. Lions Club membership should benefit the individual member, the club, and the community as a whole. If all of these criteria are not met, the prospective member should not be inducted until they are. This will help to close the “back door!” This approach seems to be effective, as 31F is the only district that is positive in membership at this time.
In summary, it’s been an eventful time here in 31F. I want to extend my personal thanks to all of our members and to everyone who has been a part of the district this year. You are appreciated, and you and your service is respected and valued.

Happy Holidays!
DG Randy Kirby

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