Top Snowmobile Safety Tips

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Coincidentally, this week also represents International Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week. Before packing up your gear for a weekend enjoying the beautiful Wisconsin scenery, let’s take a moment to review some essential safety tips to keep in mind during your travels.

  • Dress appropriately: To prevent injuries from twigs and other flying debris, consider wearing goggles or some type of face shield. You’ll also want to dress in layers of water-resistant clothing and ensure that you have no loose ends that might get caught in your equipment. Last, but certainly not least, always wear your helmet.  
  • Take it slow: According to the Wisconsin DNR, speed is a primary factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Be sure to drive at speeds that will allow you to effectively react in any situation.
  • Stay on marked trails: Only drive your snowmobile where permitted, whether it be on designated trails or the right shoulder of the road. Be sure to also be on the lookout for fences, tree stumps or stretched wire that may be hidden under the snow.
  • Remember your first aid kit: It’s never a bad idea to plan ahead. Prepare a first aid kit complete with bandages, a map, compass, flashlight, knife and matches. Be sure to keep everything in a waterproof pack.
  • Avoid traveling alone: The most dangerous situations take place when someone is injured and alone. Stay safe by traveling in a pack. Besides, isn’t snowmobiling with friends all the more fun?
  • Don’t drink and ride: Last winter in Wisconsin, alcohol was a contributing factor in 70 percent of the 23 snowmobiling fatalities. Stay safe by not consuming alcohol until your ride is over.

One of the best parts about living in Wisconsin is the visible seasons. If you plan to take your snowmobile out this weekend or sometime this winter, be sure to keep these safety tips handy.

Happy Snowmobiling from Lions Pride!

The Best Time to Take Down Your Christmas Tree

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The holidays are officially behind us. Christmas and the New Year have seemingly come and gone in the blink of an eye, and now you may be wondering when the best time is to take down your Christmas décor. Many of us would like to close the chapter on 2020, but there is no denying that there is something magical about the Christmas season that several of us would like to hold on to as long as possible. So, when is the best time to put away your Christmas tree?

To us, there are two schools of thought. If you like to pay attention to the calendar, there is an easy answer. According to Christian tradition, you should keep your tree up until the 12th Night of Christmas, which commemorates the arrival of the Three Wisemen.

As straightforward as the 12th Night sounds, unfortunately, that is not exactly the case. Different religions have different starting points, which makes pinning down the 12th Night a bit more challenging. The Church of England starts the 12 Days of Christmas on December 24, but the Catholic religion starts it on December 25, making January 6 (Epiphany) the 12th and final day of Christmas. If you were waiting for the ideal time to take down your decorations, that day has arrived.

But, as we mentioned time and time again; however, these past nine months have been unlike any other period many of us have seen in our lifetimes. To cope with the uncertainty, many people decided to put up their Christmas decorations earlier than they would have in the past, which brings us to the second theory.

If the sight of twinkling lights and beautiful ornaments still brings you joy on January 7, we would encourage you to leave your tree up as long as you wish. Arguably, the most magical part of the holidays, is the kindness that people associate with the season, so who are we to say when that feeling should end?

From all of us at Lions Pride, we hope you’ll keep the spirit of the holidays alive as long as you can, regardless of when you decide to take down your Christmas tree.

Christmas Caroling Safety Tips

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We know that likely everyone could use a boost of holiday cheer in 2020, and what better way than through the sound of music? Although many tried-and-true traditions, including cross-country travel and large family gatherings, may be frowned upon during the pandemic, Christmas caroling may be an activity you can still add to your holiday bucket list.

Sunday, December 20, is Go Caroling Day. What better time to gather a small group of loved ones to spread joy throughout your neighborhood? However, safety precautions are likely still necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus. If you plan to head out caroling, consider following these tips:

  1. Keep your choir small

    When it comes to event gatherings, the CDC guidelines say the more people you come into contact with and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher your risk to become infected and spreading COVID-19. To decrease the chance of spread, try to keep your caroling group on the smaller end.
     
  2. Maintain social distancing

    We know that Christmas caroling primarily takes place outdoors, but your group should continue to uphold a physical distance of at least 6 feet. You can further decrease your risk by keeping your masks on, avoid sharing items (like sheet music) and using hand sanitizer.

  3. Reach out to community leaders to determine your route

    As we mentioned, this particular holiday season may be especially dreary for some members of your community. Consider reaching out to community leaders who may have a good idea of who could use some extra holiday cheer. By speaking with these leaders, you may be able to efficiently plan your route and reach new people. 

    But remember, this year is unlike any other. Be sure to keep in mind that not everyone will feel comfortable opening the door to neighbors, especially if he or she is immunocompromised. You may want to reach out ahead of time to determine their caroling interest level.

  4. Gather virtually

    Lastly, if you’d rather avoid the risk, choose an online meeting platform to get friends together to sing your favorite holiday tunes. You may want to record your session and share it with your social network to get all of your friends in the holiday spirit.

The holidays certainly look different in 2020, but with a little creativity, we may still be able to participate in several well-loved traditions, including singing with friends.

Happy Go Caroling Day from Lions Pride!

The Story of the Poinsettia

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There are a few symbols that are simply synonymous with the holiday season – beautifully decorated trees, stockings hung on mantels, Christmas cards, and poinsettias. But have you ever wondered how these seemingly innate objects have become iconic symbols? This Saturday, December 12, is National Poinsettia Day, so we thought we’d celebrate by learning more about the holiday’s most recognizable plant.

A Mexican legend says that the poinsettia and Christmas first came together through a young girl named Pepita. She was upset during a Christmas Eve Service because she didn’t have a present for Baby Jesus. Her cousin, Pedro, tried to cheer her up by telling her, “I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy.”

Pepita took Pedro’s words to heart and picked a handful of weeds by the roadside, then arranged them into a small bouquet. She brought the bouquet into the chapel and set them down in front of the nativity scene. The weeds then transformed into bright, beautiful red flowers. Everyone who saw the flowers were convinced that they witnessed a miracle, and the flowers became known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena,’ or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.

The poinsettia is thought to have come to the United States by a man named Joel Roberts Poinsett in the early 1800s. He was a botanist and statesman discovered them while serving as the first US Minister to Mexico. He was fascinated with the plant that bloomed near Christmas and brought them back to his greenhouses in South Carolina. There, he began growing the plants and sending them to friends as well as botanical gardens.

The poinsettia; however, did not become a holiday staple until nearly 100 years later when the Ecke family began promoting them. Paul Ecke, Jr. sent free poinsettia plants to TV studios, which included “The Tonight Show” and Bob Hope’s holiday specials. The trend eventually caught on and today, the poinsettia has become the official Christmas flower.

Although poinsettias are most commonly seen around the holiday season, you may be surprised to learn that they can actually last all year round. Read through these tips for poinsettia care after Christmas.

There you have it – a brief history of the poinsettia. Are these unique, red plants part of your holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Poinsettia Day from Lions Pride!

Embodying the Spirit of St. Nicholas

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2020 has, of course, been a year unlike any other. Previously, it had become difficult keeping track of time. We often found ourselves asking, “Is it March or August?” But now that the month of December has arrived, there is no doubt that the holiday season is upon us.

Although there is no snow on the ground, cities, have begun hanging festive lights, decorated trees have started appearing in picture windows and digital sales have taken over our newsfeeds. It has become incredibly clear that Christmas is not far ahead, but before we get to December 25, we have a few other special events to celebrate – including St. Nicholas Day, happening on Tuesday, December 6.

St. Nicholas Day is a common holiday in Europe, but, sadly, not as well known here in America, so it should come as no surprise that many of us use the names, Santa Claus and St. Nicholas interchangeably. But the truth is that these two characters have a lot of key differences between them.

Aside from the fact that St. Nicholas was an actual person who lived in the 4th Century, he also gave simple gifts to those in need. After losing his parents at a young age, he used his extensive inheritance to help the less fortunate. His signature act was leaving gold coins in people’s shoes around the city. According to legend, he encouraged practicing compassion every day and actually became the model for Santa Claus himself.

On Monday night (or really anytime in December,) consider surprising your loved one by filling his or her stocking with small, unique gifts. Stocking stuffers can include ideas like artisan soaps, candy, jewelry, toys, memo notepads, keychains and more. For an extra special surprise, you can also provide a donation to their favorite charity made in their honor.

By choosing to make a gift to Lions Pride, you can help us work to continue improving the lives of people all around Wisconsin. Your gift will help to preserve, protect and provide for Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects – including eyeglass recycling, adult and children’s vision screening, diabetes education and more. If there is a project that is especially important to you or your loved one, simply designate the gift, and you can rest assured knowing that you’re helping the cause. Print the certificate and add it to a stocking for an inspiring gift that also gives back.

Together, we can all embody the spirit of St. Nicholas by remembering to include compassion and charity in our daily lives. Remember, it truly is the reason behind the season.

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!

Support Lions Pride with Your Black Friday Shopping

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We’ve said it time and time again – 2020 is a year unlike any other. Today is a day to give thanks, but many of us are not spending the day with extended members of the family due to COVID-19 as we would have in the not-so-recent past.

Consequently, the pandemic has also changed the way we shop on Black Friday. In the past, the biggest holiday shopping of the year, started getting earlier and earlier, but this year, most sales have moved online. Yet, one more good reason to stay in tonight.

While you are busy making your list and checking it twice, you can support Lions Pride with all of your online shopping without spending any more than you anticipated. How might you ask? By using online tools like Goodshop or AmazonSmile. Learn how you can get started right away:

Goodshop

Goodshop is an online shopping portal that allows you to donate to your charity of choice with every purchase you make. Whenever you make a purchase with Goodshop, a percentage of your sale is donated to your charity of choice.

Goodshop helps you find coupons and deals with businesses all over the internet. Not only are you raising money for your favorite charity, but you are also saving money! The funds to operate Goodshop come from advertisers, so there is no cost to use.


Getting started couldn’t be easier. Just visit http://www.goodsearch.com/choosecause and search for “Lions Pride.” Next, select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund.” After your initial sign-up, you can select your favorite sites and Goodshop will alert you each time there is a new coupon or sale. Who doesn’t love simple savings?

AmazonSmile

If you prefer to get all of your shopping taken care of in one place, you are no doubt familiar with Amazon; but did you know that you can donate a percentage of your purchase price to your favorite nonprofit organization by using AmazonSmile?

Each time you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates half a percentage of your purchase price to Lions Pride. Keep in mind that you will need to start at smile.amazon.com every time you shop to support your favorite charity. When you shop, Amazon gives. Bookmark it today!

Whether you decide to use Goodshop to find the best online deals or consider yourself to be a one-stop shopper with Amazon Smile, we hope you’ll consider choosing Lions Pride as your charity of choice. You can ensure the future of Wisconsin Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects. Every online purchase can help us make a difference in the lives of people all around the state of Wisconsin.

As always, we appreciate your continued support. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!

Games & Puzzles Week in the Virtual Age

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With Thanksgiving only one week away, we’re guessing your preparations this year probably look different than they did in the not-so-recent past. This time last year, you were likely excitedly discussing plans with beloved family members, conversing about who would bring the pumpkin pie, extra wine glasses and perhaps a board game to play after being stuffed to the brim.

This week is unofficially known as National Game and Puzzle Week, as it’s typically a time for families to gather for the holidays and share a few laughs. What better time to break out a classic family board game or quietly work on a puzzle together throughout the day?

Of course, the CDC has already set out specific guidelines for celebrating the holiday season. Sadly, as the conditions of the pandemic continue to worsen, families are being asked to reconsider their plans to slow the spread of the virus. Experts are recommending that families only gather with members of their household to reduce the spread of the virus.  

Many people are understandably disappointed that they will likely not be able to follow their usual family traditions to celebrate the holiday, but it’s important to remember that technology can help keep families connected. To help families get into the holiday spirit, we’ve put together a few games that can be easily played virtually:   

  1. Pictionary – with Zoom’s whiteboard feature, you can all have a blast sporting your artistic abilities. Simply divide your group into teams and open a Pictionary Word Generator to let the fun begin.  
  2. 20 Questions – you may think you already know your family members well, but we’d be willing to bet that you’ll learn at least a few new pieces of information after asking them 20 creative questions. Check out these 200 conversation-starting questions for inspiration
  3. Bingo – did someone say Bingo? Yes! Visit the website, My Free Bingo Cards, to play a virtual version of everyone’s favorite game. Consider adding small prizes such as gift cards or fun trinkets to enhance your family’s sense of competition.
  4. Trivia – show off your knowledge of random facts with a classic game of trivia. Assign a host a random trivia generator to get the brains working after a huge turkey dinner. The winner gets bragging rights!

We know everyone is experiencing COVID fatigue, but the promising news about the recent vaccine milestone should provide us all with hope that an end is in sight. We just need to all hang on a little while longer to overcome this tremendous obstacle.

Have a safe, healthy Thanksgiving from Lions Pride.

12 Ways to Spread Kindness

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What a week it’s been! We’re still awaiting recounts of the 2020 Presidential Election, COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state as well as the country and it seems like our cold, winter weather has finally arrived. In times like this, it can be difficult to remain optimistic, but there is one anecdote that can always bring a smile – kindness.

As you might recall, this week is National Kindness Week, which gives us all an opportunity to spread kindness wherever we might go. Though we understand that these places may be limited given the current environment, we’d like to help encourage you to partake in random acts of kindness as we round up the week. Here are 12 ideas, courtesy of randomactsofkindness.com.

  1. Write a handwritten letter
  2. Pay a compliment to a friend or co-worker
  3. Buy coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru
  4. Wheel out in your neighbor’s garbage can
  5. Choose to eat locally
  6. Reach out to a family member you haven’t heard from in a while
  7. Give away an inspirational book
  8. Be a courteous driver
  9. Start a fundraiser for a cause you care about
  10. Leave a positive review for a local business online
  11. Ship a care package to a loved one
  12. Smile when passing a stranger (yes, even behind a mask)

These are only a handful of countless ideas for you to spread kindness to everyone you encounter. We understand that times are challenging, but actively working to promote kindness can help us all get through them together.

Happy National Kindness Week from Lions Pride!

United in Kindness

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As we write this post on Wednesday evening, we are still awaiting the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. No matter where you stand politically, you are likely feeling several emotions. But rather than dwelling on this uncertainty, we thought it would make sense to preoccupy our minds for a moment or two with another ever-important topic: kindness.

Monday, November 9, marks the beginning of World Kindness Week, which preludes World Kindness Day happening on Friday, November 13. This special celebration was first started by the World Kindness Movement back in 1998.

There’s no question that we are currently experiencing division around our country, which is why we believe this celebratory week couldn’t have arrived sooner.

As Americans, we all have the right to our opinions, but sometimes this freedom can overshadow the golden virtue. The whole idea of World Kindness Week reminds us of the influential message given by Lions International President Dr. Jung-Yul Chol back in July.

He reminded us that kindness is at the very heart of service. Lions International is one of the most diverse and inclusive organizations on the planet. Our organization is made up by over 1.4 million members worldwide and includes 48,000+ clubs. We are proud to serve all people, in all places – and our great diversity allows us to provide exceptional service. Together, as Lions, we are united in kindness and diversity,

After reviewing his message, it did not take us long to realize that Lions International has a lot in common with the United States, namely our diversity. We are fortunate to be made of people of different races, religions, cultures, social backgrounds and more. All of these aspects created the foundation that helped our founding fathers claim independence.

So, as we continue to hold our breaths anxiously waiting for the week to conclude, we’d encourage you to spread International President Choi’s message. Your recipients may include friends, family members, neighbors and other people in your community, regardless of whether they echo your political beliefs.

Above all, kindness matters, especially during trying times. From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you both patience and serenity for the remainder of the week. Please remember, this, too, shall pass.

Halloween in Quarantine

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This weekend marks the spookiest day of the year, Halloween. While parents and children were originally excited to see this holiday land on a Saturday, there’s no denying that many will likely celebrate differently than they imagined.

Halloween is usually filled with fun activities for both the young as well as the young at heart. Children anticipate filling up a bag of Halloween candy while adults take the day to play dress up and gather with friends. Sadly, though, the COVID-19 pandemic has more than likely sent those plans packing.

Over the course of the last few weeks, our state has seen its highest increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic was announced. That means it’s more important than ever to practice caution when celebrating the holiday.

To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends staying away from high-risk activities associated with Halloween, including participating in trick-or-treating or visiting a costume party. We understand that it’s disappointing having to miss out on yet another 2020 holiday, but there are a few safe alternatives for you to consider:

  • Decorate or carve pumpkins with immediate members of your family. Be sure to revisit the story of the Jack-O-Lantern!
  • Decorate or carve pumpkins outside with neighbors or friends. Saturday’s temperatures will be in the low 50s, which means you won’t need to bundle up to enjoy the company of friends from a safe distance.
  • Host a virtual Halloween costume party. More than likely, you’ve become familiar with Zoom or another online meeting platform. Use this technology to celebrate a costumed happy hour.
  • Have a movie night with the people in your household. Settle in with a bowl of popcorn and re-watch some of the old classics.

Although the CDC is discouraging trick-or-treating, many Wisconsin municipalities are still hosting designated trick-or-treating hours on Halloween. Be sure to keep your porch lights off if you chose not to pass out candy.

There’s no denying that 2020 has been a trying year for us all, but unfortunately, we’re not through the pandemic just yet. Be sure to continue following the CDC guidelines to help slow the spread. Remember, we’re all in this fight together.

From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you a safe, enjoyable Halloween.