Who are Lions?
They are volunteer members of clubs grouped under an International organization, where they enjoy fellowship, and dedicate part of their free time to help those in need all over the world, while making their individual communities a better place to live in.
Lions began in the United states in 1917 when a group of independent clubs responded to an ideal presented to them by a young Chicago insurance agent, Melvin Jones.
The ideal was one of service as a group to their fellow men without regard to politics, religion, race, or in any way the personal interests of the members. This was heralded as a departure from the trend current at that time of forming clubs basically with a commercial motive. A conference was called of some 25 independent clubs on June 7, 1917 and from this meeting the organization was born.
The official name of “Lions” is: “The International Association of Lions Clubs” or simply “Lions Clubs International.”
It consists of a gold letter “L” on a circular purple field. Bordering this is a circular gold area with two conventionalized lion profiles at either side facing away from the center. The Words “Lions” appear at the top and “International” at the bottom. Symbolically, the lions face both past and future; proud of the past and confident of the future.
It is the unwritten obligation of every Lion to wear and display his emblem with pride.
“Liberty, Intelligence Our Nation’s Safety.”
PURPLE AND GOLD
To Lions, purple stands for loyalty to country, friends, and one’s self and the integrity of mind and heart. It is the traditional color of strength, courage and tireless dedication to a cause. Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, liberality in judgment, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart and purse toward his fellow man.
Although the youngest, The International Association of Lions Clubs has grown to be the largest service club organization in the world, as of January 31, 2000 it is represented by over 1,413,431 members in 44,616 clubs in 741 districts in 185 countries and geographical areas.
The Association’s headquarters is located in Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.A. The Association is governed by an elected Board of 33 members from all parts of the world. This Board includes 28 Directors, 2 Vice Presidents, the Immediate Past President and is headed by the International President.
A Lion joining a club for the first time pays an entrance fee to the Association. His/Her annual dues to the International Association, the District and home club constitutes financial commitment other than the meeting costs.
A Lion member may transfer to any club in the world, subject to the new club’s acceptance. It is a requirement that a Lion complete the transfer within six months following the date of termination of membership in their former club.
Club meetings are held at least twice monthly. One meeting may be devoted to business and the planning of projects and the other to a dinner meeting often with a guest speaker.
The required attendance of members (either at club meetings or at activities), type of program, formation of committees, etc., are all decisions finally taken by the local club based on the broad recommendations of the Association.
Lions Clubs elect their officers annually and work through club committees.
All monies for a Lions Club activity are raised by the efforts of the members through whatever legal fund-raising projects they may devise.
The Basis of Membership Any person of legal majority, good moral character and good reputation in their community may be granted membership in a duly authorized Lions Club. Membership is by invitation only.
Service to the Community From the start, the emphasis has been on service in all forms to less fortunate members of the community. The club constitution, as recommended by the Association, may be adapted by the local club to suit its own particular requirements while keeping within the principles of the Association and its International constitution. This autonomy allowed to the individual clubs and the concentration on practical service have perhaps been the two principal factors which maintain the momentum of the Association’s growth and progress.
International Cooperation At the same time the completely international nature of the organization, with the possibility of frequent and ever-increasing contact between the members of the clubs around the world based on their common interest in community service, has always been a feature to catch the imagination and the enthusiasm of the broadest of minds.