Young Lions helping keep their clubs alive
For 15 years Penny Pike had been the baby of club.
But that’s changed as the Corner Brook Lions Club has added some new, younger members to the group.
“Now I’m an old fart,” said Pike with a laugh as she and one of the club’s new members, Stephanie Spencer, enjoyed a coffee at a local coffee shop recently.
When Pike joined the club at the tender age of 22 most of the members were very much her senior. That was pretty much the case until this past few months when the club added four new members, all in their 20s.
“We all know what happens with aging populations, then we see organizations die,” said Pike. “You need to recruit younger members to keep the organization and the things they do for the community alive.
“The community depends on Lions and I don’t think they realize how much they do depend of Lions.” Sadly, she said, that realization often comes when an organization is no longer around.
Pike got involved with the club because of a promise she made to her aunt, Jackie Spencer, before she died. Mrs. Spencer had been active with the club and her husband Mark Spencer was Pike’s sponsor.
While that promise plays a role, what keeps her there goes beyond it.
“It’s seeing the smiles on people’s faces for the project which you completed and they appreciated. That says more than anything.”
It’s that appreciation that’s given her more than one “Lion moment.”
Like returning from a walk at the Lion Max Simms Memorial Camp with an autistic child to find a mother crying because it was the first time in 15 years she had an hour to herself, and didn’t know what to do. Or hearing another mother say she slept in her own bed for the first time in 10 years because now they had a Lions autism dog to watch over her son.
Over the year’s Pike has held many roles within the club and the broader organization. She’s been involved in leadership training for the district, is currently council chair for Multiple District N, the highest rank a Lion can hold in Atlantic Canada, and come October will become the provincial representative on the board of the Lions Foundation of Canada.
So now that the club has some new members she’s planning on taking a step back, a little break sort of, but that doesn’t mean her involvement will end. She’ll just have more time to devote to projects that mean a lot to her.
She’s also content to mentor some of those new members and said she’s already seen a new spunk in the club. “I expect some good activity in the club for years to come.”
And her future involves more Lionism as she has her eye set on a director position with Lions International, but that position won’t come around for another 14 years.
As for now being considered one of the old veterans in the club, Pike said: “I love it.”
Listening to Pike talk about her experiences is what Spencer said made her want to get involved with the club.
The two are cousins and Spencer said the Lions have been a big part of her family.
Before she was old enough to become a member she remembers helping to bag candy for the Christmas parade.
After being away from Corner Brook for six years, Spencer moved back a little over a year ago. A former member of the Girl Guides and cadets, the 26-year-old looked at volunteering as a way to get involved in the community again. “And actually feel a part of the community.”
With the family connection, joining the Lions just made sense and so Pike became her sponsor.
With a membership that’s still primarily much older than her, she’s not worried about fitting in.
She recognizes that everyone has different opinions and said
if you can show others why they should try something new or change something a bit and can back it up, then they’ll come on board.
The club has a goal to get more people her age to join and she’ll play a role in making it happen as the new membership chair.
Her first project will be a membership drive in September.
She plans to use social media to make connections with people and to reach out to the people she connected with through Girl Guides and cadets to see if they’d like to get involved.
“So that the club will continue to go for another 69 years.”
And like Pike did before her, Spencer would like to move up the ranks in the club.
“My goal is set now,” she said with a smile. The first step is to become club president and Pike thinks she’s got the drive and leadership to do it.
At the Pasadena Lions Club being the youngest in the club is a title that Terry Randell has held for the past two years.
He joined the club at the age of 30 after a member approached him and told him about all the cool things they were doing.
That was enough to hook him, but really it was no surprise he’d be interested as Randell has been an active volunteer in the community for quite some time.
Unlike some club’s, the Pasadena one is quite strong with around 41 members. About eight of which joined in the past year.
And there’s a good range of ages, said Randell, from people in their 90s right on down to those in their 30s.
Joining a club where most of the members were older than him was never a concern as a lot of them are people he’s always known and has worked with on other committees.
“Once you get in among the crowd and start talking you find commonalities and you form kinships.”
Randell said they all want to help make positive things happen in the community.
Being in a small community, where things are little closer knit, can be a bonus when it comes to attracting people to service clubs.
“There are lots of people willing to volunteer if you approach them and talk to them.”
Randell said people moving into the community like coming to service clubs because they see it as a way to get involved and make connections.
Holding events like Chase the Ace has made the club very visible and the buzz around it has assisted in recruiting members.
“When you get more people involved that’s the more cool things you can do,” he said. “And clubs are loving it.”
Recently Randell and another member started a youth group that has spun into a Leo Club that now has 21 members.
Randell just finished up as the club’s membership chair and is now taking over the secretary position.
“Just trying out different things,” he said when asked if he has a goal for what he’d like to do. “I’ll do what needs to be done.”
Being a part of the Corner Brook Lions Club is a family affair for cousins Penny Pike, left, and Stephanie Spencer. Pike held the title of youngest member in the club for 15 years until four new members in their 20s, including Spencer, joined this year.
Terry Randell has been a member of the Pasadena Lions Club for two years. At 30, he’s the youngest in the club.