by Carolyn A Messier, PID
Life Member, Lions Clubs International

I became a Lion to make a difference. I stay a Lion because we do! When I became a Lion, nearly twenty six years ago, I had no idea that the “difference” would be so positive and so profound, impacting so many lives, including my own.

The reasons I stay a member and a leader today, have changed since the first day when I received my pin. As a member, I have evolved because there was always a leader that gave me an opportunity to try new things. Most importantly, they trusted me with responsibilities and allowed me to run with my ideas.

I believe that Lions join our Association for a variety of reasons. We, as a global organization, need to be cognizant of the expectations of our members. We need to recognize their talents and in doing so, guide them to the activities in our clubs that will engage them. We need more men and women working shoulder to shoulder developing sustainable projects and programs.

We need to review our programs and service projects on a regular basis to determine relevance in today’s changing environment. We need to bridge the generation gap, ensuring that our senior members and our younger members can find common ground and in the process, strengthen our clubs.

Being positive in all our responses will encourage innovation. We need to embrace change, recognizing that traditions will evolve as new members create their own traditions. I see the leaders of our association approachable, listening to our members.

In our next 100 years, my vision for making a difference is to continue to partner with other foundations to meet the growing needs of those around the world.
I envision the Lions logo, as the first to appear on the evening news when a disaster occurs. I see us visible and recognized in every community. I see us providing the tools that can make that happen.

I expect our Lions KidSight program to be utilized in every country identifying and correcting problems that can cause permanent vision loss. I see preventable blindness eradicated and our continued support for those whose vision loss needs rehabilitation.

I also see us growing our support globally for those in need, whether it is disaster relief, micro financing, providing refugee support, supporting the environment or feeding the hungry. We will motivate and inspire our members to greater innovative service.

I see us continuing to sit at the table with the United Nations. I envision Lions impacting the political climate on Capitol Hill by lobbying for change when necessary.

I see us educating and developing the leadership that we expect to lead us. We will be identified as the “go to” association offering professional development for the cost of our dues. We will be an army of “Servant Leaders” streamlining our programs for more efficiency to reach those in need. Our Lions will belong to traditional and non traditional clubs depending on their life styles and obligations.

I see us cycling into a continuing growth period as our members continue to be knowledgable and satisfied with the benefits of membership.

I know each of us will “Make a Difference” in the lives of so many, including our own.