The Day I Became A Lion – Super Grandpa
I was a member of the Stephenson Lions Club for eight or nine years before I really became a Lion. I regularly attended club meetings, I had flipped hundreds of pancakes, and I had grown to be a committed club member. I faithfully paid my dues, contributed to LCI, and was drawn to future Lions leadership when my tile business calmed down. But it was just a few years ago that I had the experience that changed my perspective on what it really means to be a Lion.
Every year in June the District 10 Lions spend a workday at Bay Cliff Health and Wellness Center in Big Bay, Michigan. Bay Cliff is a rustic, yet modern facility in the woods on the rugged south shoreline of Lake Superior. Founded in 1933, Bay Cliff Health Camp is a therapy and wellness center serving the needs of youth living with a variety of disabilities. Campers are provided physical, speech, hearing, and occupational therapies, medical and dental care, and specially adapted recreational activities. While the campers are attending Bay Cliff, their families and caretakers get a much-needed respite from caretaking. Lions have supported the camp since its first summer session in 1934.
In June of 2009 I was at Bay Cliff for our annual event and I had spent the morning helping with some tile repair. Around 11:30 a.m. the bell rang out signaling it was time to join the campers and Bay Cliff staff for a family-style lunch. I stuffed myself full of roast pork, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and a gooey whipped cream cookie crumble dessert while chatting with the staff member and four campers sharing my table. After the post luncheon entertainment, it was time to get back to my tile repair. I have a three-hour drive home.
Stepping out of the door onto the wide wood-beamed porch I saw a young camper on crutches with braces on both of her tiny legs. She was working her way gingerly down the four wide wooden steps. Very carefully, just as she had learned in physical therapy, she meticulously inched her way down the set of stairs. I stood and watched her with a heartfelt awe. Silently inside I was cheering her on. Suddenly, at the bottom of the last step, as her little foot hit the ground, she lost her balance, and pitched forward. An attempt to catch herself failed and she fell at on her face in the dirt.
Without even thinking, I launched off the porch like Super Grandpa. “Oh my,” I said. “Are you hurt? Can I help you up?” The image of my youngest granddaughter flashed through my mind. Here she was, face planted in the dirt. Before spontaneously swooping her up into my arms, I had the where-with-all to ask her if she would like my help. “Yes, please, if you would be so kind,” she said in a small, brave voice. I picked her up and helped her to get re-balanced on her crutches. I verified again that she was not injured. As I was wiping small bits of gravel o her sweet little face, our eyes locked. A single tear escaped from her thick lashes, trickling down her cheek. “I wish I could be just a regular little girl,” she sighed.
As if having been struck by lightning, at the bottom of the stairs with that lovely child still reeling from her fall, every hour I had spent in a meeting, every hour I had faithfully served, every dollar I had given to the Lions mission, all came to a life-changing crescendo. I understood what being a member of the largest service organization in the world really means. I re-dedicated myself to a life of Lions service, leadership, and membership. I felt the true honor and pride to be serving at Bay Cli where this brave seven-year-old child would be given moments when she and her peers could forget about their crutches, braces, and missing limbs, and could be “regular” kids. My service was providing the opportunity for kids to play outdoor adapted games, go canoeing, sing camp songs, roast marshmallows over a camp re, swim, and enjoy the natural surroundings of Michigan’s spectacular Upper Peninsula.
I had witnessed moments of campers’ sheer will throughout the day, but the rescue of a little girl at the bottom of the dining hall stairs had launched something in my heart. But it wasn’t until I was attending the US-Canada Leadership Forum in September of 2021 that a name was put to the profound experience I had on that sunny day in June, on a cli overlooking the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior. At the bottom of the dining hall stairs I understood the mission of Lions and the impact our service can have on individual lives. On that unforgettable day, in my heart and soul I became a Lion!
Lion Jim Svinicki is Past District Governor of District 10 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and a member of the Stephenson Lions Club in Stephenson, Michigan.
Searching for Second Vice District Governor and Trustee to the Board of Michigan Lions Service Foundation. Please see attached and have nominations in to PDG Tom Lanaville before March 1, 2023. > click here to download
D10 Technology Grant Program
The District 10 Lions announce a new grant program for District 10 Lions Clubs. The D10 Technology Grant Program is an opportunity for Lions Clubs in D10 to receive up to $500 in “matching” funds from D10 for the purpose of purchasing technology infrastructure to assist in their mission to serve the communities of District 10.
As Global Membership Chair, I request packets from the International. When new members are posted on the International site, we print out certificates and letters from the Governor for both sponsor and new member. These are then mailed to the secretary or president of the club, and usually arrive within two days.
The packets also include information on Lions, a discount certificate from the Lions store, pins for both new member and sponsor, and a pen for the new member.
If you would like to receive the packets early, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the new member, the name of the sponsor, and the date of the induction.
Global Membership Chair and PDG Bill Rowe