By Anna Smith
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Part of their community for over 50 years, the Redcliff Lions Club is looking for new members to care, serve, and accomplish.
Most people who live in Redcliff and area are well familiar with the service club, as it makes an effort to be part of as much as possible, but very few know the sheer breadth of what the men and women who make up the membership do.
“What we do, primarily, is when there’s a service asked, we’re there to help with whatever that service may be,” said Redcliff Lions Club President Shawna Gale. “Whether it’s going into the schools and helping with their hot lunches, helping the youth group put up some of the structures in the haunted house; whatever it is called on us at that time, or even if it’s just assisting a family who needs some help at the moment.”
The Lions Club is an international organization, said Gale, and while their cousins down in the U.S. often focus more on disaster aid and relief, much of what the Redcliff Club does simply comes down to being present and lending extra hands to anything the community might need.
Club member Kim Donais added that they have been involved with development of every park in Redcliff at this point, either by themselves or in conjunction with the Town.
“We also help recognize different people in our community and we do a Yard of the Month. And we also every year do Citizen of the Year, we recognize that one special individual who has gone above and beyond in their community. It’s important for the people who do put in the effort that we recognize them and say, ‘Hey, we notice you’,” said Gale.
Between volunteering, feeding the community at events like the free Canada Day Breakfast, and various donations and scholarships, the Redcliff Lions Club is certainly a busy group, but this pace needs new members if they hope to continue for years to come.
“We’re missing at least two generations of people in our club right now. There’s nobody in (their) 20s,” said Donais. “When I joined, I was only 28 years old. Been around for 42 years. And we had lots, even when I joined there were several of us in our 20s. And then a lot in our 30s. There were a lot of people. And now we have no one in their 20s, no one in their 30s. And even the ones that are in the 40s are pushing the middle of the 40s.”
The club believes, wholeheartedly, that people who would find joy in being part of their community in this way exist within the area, and just haven’t had a chance to hear about the opportunity just yet.
Outside of the acts of service, said Gale, there is a social aspect that the members enjoy on both a local and international level.
“We have different levels of our Lions, we have our international which is worldwide, and we’re all over the world. And then we have our districts and then we go down to divisions and within our division, we are a division here with Bow Island, Brooks, Irvine, both Medicine Hat clubs, and we do meet as a group with all of them,” said Gale. “Plus, we do our district ones and, and so we get together and socialize that way, too.”
Gale added that they have spent several lovely evenings with partners in Saskatchewan, as well as invitations to conferences all throughout the world.
Both Gale and Donais stressed that those interested don’t necessarily need to join right away, and are encouraged to come out and help for a few events, or attend some meetings, in order to get more information to decide if this might be the social and service club for them.
“A lot of us aren’t as active as we used to be and when you have committees that need lots of spaces to fill, and not the whole gang can do them anymore,” said Donais. “So we need to get some more blood and some ideas.”
The Lions are hosting an open house on September 6 at the St. Ambrose Church Hall, and encourage anyone interested in learning more to come and see what they’re about.
The open house is from 6:30 to 9 p.m.