A new Lions year has started. Too often this means that we simply “reset” our club, and do all of the same projects, events, and meetings we’ve done every other year. This year, challenge your club and officers to change things up a bit. Solicit new ideas from all members, especially your newer members. Let your newer members organize and run a new project or event for your club; this can bring new energy and enthusiasm to your club, and by getting them actively involved, they will hopefully stick around.

Face it, we are all creatures of habit, we don’t like change. But, times change and people change. To stay relevant, our clubs must also change and begin to do new things, especially to attract new members.

When a new member first joins a Lions Club, we must make sure they are actively engaged. Too often clubs welcome new members but don’t solicit their input or give them responsibilities and then we wonder why they leave. There’s nothing more frustrating to a new member than to be told this is Joe and he runs project X, this is Sue and she runs fundraiser Y, and this is Tom and he runs project Z. New members are often left wondering why they joined, since the club obviously doesn’t need any help or want to add anything new – the club has everything covered, so just sit there and feel honored that we included you in our club. That is the impression we often give our newer members by our actions – that they are not valued or needed because they are new and they don’ t know “how things are done.”

Let your new members bring new ideas and be open to hearing them. Times change. Things that did not work in the past might just work now, don’t immediately dismiss their ideas. We must be open to trying new things if we want to bring new members into our clubs. No one joins a Lions Club to just sit in meetings, we must get all members involved and let them help us lead our clubs. We must encourage them to, and let them, help us.

Challenge your club this year, challenge your new members. Find one or two new activities or projects for this Lions Year. Let your new members come up with these new projects or activities and lead them. It doesn’t have to be a fundraiser. Many Lions join because we are a service organization and they want to serve, allow them the opportunity to organize a service project in the community that is not a fundraiser if that is what they want. Above all, get your club out of the year-to-year grind, engage your new members and do something new this year.

2nd VDG David DeFazio