Sweetest Day – Then and Now

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Do you ever feel like some holidays were created merely to benefit the greeting card Sweetest Day Chocolateindustry? Yes, we’re talking to you, Valentine’s Day, Boss’s Day and Grandparents Day. Well, we’re here to tell you that the next holiday – Sweetest Day on Saturday, October 21, 2017 – may fall into the same category, but it truly has a delightful message.

The holiday began back in early 20th Century as Candy Day. According to Hallmark, legends say the day was established by Herbert Birch Kingston, a candy store employee who wanted to spread happiness to people who were feeling forgotten. He recruited a team, went out and began distributing candy to orphans, shut-ins and others to show them that some cared.

As time went on, celebrities started joining in on the act, and the holiday broadened to include loved ones, coworkers and friends. Today, observance of Sweetest Day is still the most popular in the Midwest due to its origination.

How should you observe the upcoming holiday? Well, you could surprise your sweetheart with a box of their favorite candy, but there other “healthier” ways to celebrate:

  1. Write a heartfelt letter (or email)

In the last decade or so, it seems that we have lost the art of letter writing. Show someone you care by crafting a heartfelt letter. Of course, you could always send an email if you’re looking for a quicker way to display your affection; but we can guarantee that a handwritten letter is bound to put a smile on your recipient’s face.

  1. Send flowers

Did you know that aside from being pretty, fresh cut flowers and plants have numerous health benefits? Flowers have the ability to give someone an instant mood boost and aid in both memory and concentration. If your loved one has been feeling stressed at work, you can provide them support with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

  1. Donate in their honor

As you likely already know, nonprofit organizations thrive with the support of their loyal donors. After all, funds are the lifeblood of any nonprofit as it helps them spread their message and make a difference in their communities. When celebrating Sweetest Day, consider donating to your recipient’s favorite organization in their name. When you make a honorarium/memorial donation to Lions Pride, we’re happy to mail an acknowledgement card to your loved one or their family. Together, you and your sweetheart can create a legacy that will last for future generations at the Wisconsin Lions Camp and in other WLF projects.

While the holiday may have begun with candy and sweets in mind, it has truly become a day to do small things with great love. Remember, it’s the thought that counts! How do you plan to celebrate?

Happy Sweetest Day from Lions Pride!

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Happy Boss’s Day to Lion Sam

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Monday is Boss’s Day – are you ready? Many employees from around the country will Sam Kochel pro temchoose to spend their day showing appreciation to their supervisors by surprising them with goodies, cards, flowers and more. To celebrate our own Boss’s Day, we’d like to recognize our boss, Sam Kochel, with a blog post written just for him so you can learn more about our fearless leader.

Lion Sam grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin, and eventually moved to Northfield, Minnesota. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in economics. Later, he served in the US Army and was stationed in both Germany and Vietnam. After his service, he returned home to attend Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

He has been a part of the Lions Organization for several years. His Lions career includes service as a Past Council Chair, WLF Board Member and active member of the Rice Lake Lions. He and his wife Carolyn have also participated in eyeglass distribution missions to Mexico and Nicaragua. Before becoming President of the LPEF Board, he served as a board member and secretary.

Lion Sam had big shoes to fill after the recent passing of our chairman and founder, Dewey Carl. He has done an incredible job leading our Board of Directors forward so we can continue carrying out Dewey’s vision – to preserve, protect and provide for Lions Camp and all WLF projects. Lion Sam is always inspiring us to look for new way to support our cause. Read more about the Lions Pride story here.

We’d like to wish a “Happy Boss’s Day” to Lion Sam and all of the phenomenal leaders out there. Thanks for all that you do!

The 2017 C1 District Convention

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Convention Season is upon us! If you’re a seasoned Lion or Lioness, you know thatLions Club International October kicks off a series of district conventions before the holiday break; next week, we’ll be headed to Dale’s Weston Lanes to meet with area Lions and spread the message of Pride at the 27-C1 District Convention.

The convention will begin Friday night at 7 pm with a live auction and seafood buffet. All clubs are asked to participate by donating an item or two. All proceeds will benefit WLF projects, including Lions Camp. The big question is, who will take home the famous putter this year?

Attending members will get their legs moving bright and early on Saturday morning with a Strides Run/Walk, taking place from 7 am to 11:30 am. The Strides events promote diabetes awareness and the importance of healthy exercise for people with and at risk of diabetes.

The remainder of the day will be dedicated to educational seminars for Lions to come together to learn, connect and share their passion for the LCI community. You’re not going to want to miss this event – especially if you are a new member. There’s no better way to learn about Lions than by attending one or more district conventions.

If you’re planning on attending the C1 Convention, be on the lookout for our Executive Director Geri Schlender and President Sam Kochel. We will have a table display set up in the Exhibition Hall if you’re interested in learning more about the impact of Lions Pride.

We’re looking forward to a weekend filled with camaraderie and education. Why are you excited to attend the C1 Convention? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy Convention Season from Lions Pride!

Why Does Christopher Columbus Get All the Credit?

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For the first time in September, it finally feels like autumn has arrived at the Lions Pride office. With the summer of 2017 officially behind us, it feels like there is a lot of time before the holiday season approaches, but there is always one holiday in October that always seems to sneak up on us – Columbus Day.

Think back to your grade school years. While the lessons in themselves may be a bit foggy, you likely remember this rhythmic line, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” We were taught that Christopher Columbus was the first person to set sail and set foot on the “New Land,” but in the last few decades, historians have revealed what they believe is the actual history. There are a few theories depicting the birth of America, including one that a Viking actually arrived nearly 400 years before Columbus was even born.

Exploration was a family business for the Erikssons. Leif was the son of Erik the Red, founder of Greenland. It’s believed in the year 1000 AD, Erikkson sailed to Norway where he was converted to Christianity by King Olaf I. Then he set out on his next great adventure.

We have heard differing stories, some believe that Erikkson got lost traveling back to Greenland and sailed off course; others say that he heard rumor of a new land and went off to see it for himself. Regardless of the background, Leif discovered the North American continent. He spent winter exploring a region he called Vinland, what many now believe to be Newfoundland. After a few months, he traveled back to Greenland and never returned. Other competing theories say America’s first discoverers could have been Irish monks or Chinese explorers.

So, if Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first to discover America, why does he get a holiday and the credit? The answer is actually quite simple. Many believe he is known as the founder because he was the first to open up America to Europe – the world’s greatest expansionist at that time. We know now that there were already millions of people already here – the Native Americans, so it is likely that their ancestors were truly the New World’s first explorers.

Today, 17 states have chosen not to observe Columbus Day as a national holiday. Several cities and states are now choosing to celebrate instead with Indigenous People’s Day.

Hopefully, as time goes on, we will continue to learn more and more about the history of our country. We know that our past may not be perfect, but remember, it’s the struggles and challenges that show the greatest lessons and give us the opportunity to come together as one.

Autumn Colors are Arriving

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Does it feel like the fall colors are arriving early this year? Some people may tell you that Autumn Roadtime seems to go faster and faster when you get older, but don’t believe them this time because you’re not imagining it! The leaves have already started to turn in northern Wisconsin, and parts of the state could peak as early as the third week of September (Yes, that’s next week, and a week quicker than usual.) See for yourself at SmokyMountains.com’s Interactive Foliage Map.

According to the map’s creator Wes Melton, this year’s leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall due to the heavy precipitation we saw during the summer months. Fortunately, however, the NOAA 90-day future precipitation and temperature graphs are pointing towards a longer color period for most of the county. If you’d like to see Wisconsin’s fall foliage map, be sure to check out Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report.

Shorter days play a significant role in the changing leaves’ color, but weather can also be a big part. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the best recipe for stellar fall colors include a warm, wet spring; a mild summer that doesn’t get too hot; and a fall with warm, sunny days that don’t quite reach freezing temperatures – the perfect way to describe the past the six months of 2017.

In other years, we may have seen a delayed arrival of fall colors due to drought, or less leaves from early frost or heavy winds, so we may consider ourselves lucky this year!

If the fall days continue as we’ve already seen, it sounds like Wisconsin will have a lovely, colorful season. Where is your favorite place to take in the breathtaking colors? If you don’t have a destination in mind, Travel Wisconsin comes to the rescue once more! Check out their picks for the best scenic drives that will give you a guaranteed front row seat to Mother Nature’s annual show.

No matter where you plan to go, be sure to schedule your time accordingly – it will be here and gone in just a few, short weeks.

Happy (Early) Fall from Lions Pride!

Preparing Your Family for an Emergency

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If the last two weeks have taught us anything, it’s that you never know when disaster willkit_supplies strike. In the past twenty days, we’ve seen forest fires to the west, an earthquake in Mexico and hurricanes to the south. With tragedy affecting families all over the country and the world, now is the time to send resources to those in need and prepare ourselves for our own emergencies that may come up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of all US adults do not have a plan in place in the event of an emergency. Would you fall into that category? If so, there’s never been a better time to think ahead by developing an emergency supply kit. Below is a list of items that you’ll need:

  • At least a 3-day supply of food and water

You likely won’t have time to run to the grocery store before a possible emergency, which is why it’s so important to have a supply readily available. Plan on going through one gallon of water per person, per day. When stocking food, be sure to find items that are easy to make and won’t spoil like canned items and dry pastas. (Don’t forget about your furry friends; make sure that you have enough food and water for each of your pets!)

  • Manual can opener
  • Basic kitchen utensils
  • At least a 3-day supply of all medication
  • Personal care items

If a disaster occurs, you may not have the luxury of taking a hot shower, but you’ll want to make sure you have the sanitary essentials like soap, baby wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone with chargers 

In today’s world, cell phones have replaced radios for many people. If you plan to receive emergency updates with your mobile phone, you’ll want to stay charged up and ready. A powerbank could save the day, if you lose electricity. 

  • Copies of important documents like insurance policies and other vital records

Of course, emergencies are not always predictable so you’ll need to make sure all of these important documents stay safe. Consider investing in a fireproof lock box, a safety deposit box or a three-ring binder with sleeves.

  • Extra cash
  • Area maps
  • Extra set of house keys or car keys

This is a preliminary list that you should utilize to get your emergency supply kit started. Unfortunately, one-size does not always fit all; you may need additional supplies to ensure your entire family is ready. For children, this may include games and activities; for pets, your kit may include transport items and cleaning supplies. Please visit this link for a complete list of items to fill up your emergency preparedness kit.

Here at Lions Pride, we don’t think there is such a thing as being too prepared. While we understand that it may be time consuming initially, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. Take the time to prepare now and thank yourself later. Stay safe out there!

Back to School Driving Tips

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Bus Stop SignIt may have been a quick summer, but school is back in session! While students are busy adjusting to their new weekday routine, the rest of us of legal driving age also need to adapt to school year driving.

We don’t have to tell you that the streets are more congested now than they were only a few weeks prior. School buses, bicyclists and children are everywhere you look; that’s why now is an important time for drivers to slow down and pay attention. Read through these back to school driving tips to keep everyone safe.

When sharing the road with pedestrians…

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or stop sign.
  • Obey the directions of adult crossing guards
  • Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing intersections in school zones. Remember, pedestrians always have the right-of-way.
  • Take extra care when driving through school zones and residential areas as well as near playgrounds and parks.

When sharing the road with school buses…

  • Keep a little extra distance between your vehicle and the bus.
  • Never pass a bus from behind if it is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Stop if the yellow or red lights are flashing and the “Stop” arm is extended. FYI: The 10 feet surrounding the bus is the most dangerous for kids.
  • Be sure to allow ample room for children to enter and exit the bus safely.

BONUSWhen sharing the road with construction workers… (Keep in mind that although the summer may be unofficially over, that doesn’t mean all road construction is complete.)

  • Put the phone down when you see orange cones. In October 2016, a new law went into effect that prohibits mobile device usage when driving in Wisconsin work zones, as a part of an ongoing effort to reduce distracted driving and increase safety for both workers and drivers. Violators may be subject to a $40 fine upon first offense.
  • Obey the speed limit signs. It’s not unusual to see reduced speed limits during work areas, make sure to pay attention to signs.

Lions Pride would like to wish you a Happy 2017-2018 school year. Let’s work together to create safer roads in our state!

Lions Work to Help the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

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We are days away from a holiday weekend, but not everyone will be celebrating happily. As you already know Hurricane Harvey first reached the Houston metropolis last Friday, but residents in both Texas and Louisiana are still feeling its wrath nearly a week later.

Harvey is the first Category 4 hurricane to hit the continental United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004. The tropical storm made is second appearance yesterday morning, and the weather conditions do not seem to be improving as of writing.

Several parts of Houston set a record for rainfall in a single storm; the top reading showing 51.88 inches (as of Tuesday afternoon.) A resident meteorologist reported that 25 to 30 percent of Harris County is under water. At this point, local officials have confirmed 30 flood-related deaths.

The Insurance Information Institute has stated to Fox Business that damages could end up matching the $15 billion caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In a recent statement made by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the city’s focus “will continue to be on rescue” and not damage assessment.

Lions Clubs International Foundation has responded with an emergency catastrophe grant of $100,000. The grant will allow Lions in the area to provide life-saving supplies of food, water, blankets and other necessities. Please consider donating to the Lions Club International Foundation to help further their efforts on helping communities in need. We never know when or where disaster will strike, but LCIF emergency and major catastrophe grants enable local Lions to respond at a moment’s notice.

As you celebrate Labor Day weekend, the Lions Pride staff and board ask you to keep all of the families affected by this catastrophe in your thoughts and prayers. Many Texas and Louisiana lives will be changed after this event and will be in need of much support.

End of the Summer Bucket List

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The end of the summer is quickly winding down. We’re not sure where June, July Bonfireand August went, but we don’t have much time to left to take advantage of the beautiful Wisconsin weather. But you can complete the unofficial summer season on a high note by accomplishing the following bucket list:

  • Take a hike at a state park
  • Roast a marshmallow and make a s’more
  • Throw out a line at your favorite river or lake
  • Catch a ballgame
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset (your preference!)
  • Host a summer cookout with family and friends
  • Visit a state fair and indulge in a deep-fried goody
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the lush, green grass
  • Remember Lions Pride

All good things must come to an end, right? If we had summer all year round, we definitely wouldn’t appreciate the beautiful weather like we do now. Just keep in mind; it will be back again this time next year.

What items have you already checked off your bucket list, and what else would you still like to complete? The clock is ticking, but there is still time to have the best summer ever! From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you a happy end of the summer!

Safely Viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse

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Rosholt EclipseHave you heard the news? A total solar eclipse is quickly approaching! This Monday, August 21, the majority of the United States will have a clear view of both total and partial eclipses (for the first time in 38 years.)

Although we are also excited to witness the nighttime wonder, we have several concerns that deserve addressing. Here at Lions Pride, you likely already know that we support one of the WLF’s largest projects; early child’s vision screening. So, it should come as no surprise that we’d want to do everything we can to educate our readers on how to view the eclipse safely.

Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, we will not have the opportunity to see a total eclipse, but we will still have an out-of-this-world view. But since the sun will not be completed covered, it’s important to remember that it is not safe to view directly with your naked eye. There are several types of solar filter glasses available (not to be mistaken for sunglasses,) but even these special glasses have certain risks.

The most critical case to keep in mind that most of these glasses are made with adults in mind, will likely not fit children properly and should not be used without adult supervision. Plus, if the solar glasses do not completely filter out 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, if they are not used absolutely perfectly or should there be any manufacturing defects, this will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss.

Dr. Michael Schecter, an optometrist in Columbus, Ohio, makes another important point about viewing the eclipse with kids:

“The biggest danger with children is ensuring proper use without direct parental supervision. During an eclipse, because the moon blocks so much of its light, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as looking at the sun does on a regular day.Generally, if you try to look at the sun, it physically hurts, and you can’t see anything. During an eclipse, however, it is easier to stare for a bit, and even less than 30 seconds of exposure to a partially eclipsed sun, you can burn a blind spot right to your most precious central vision. With solar glasses, you can’t see anything except the crescent of light of the sun, but kids could have a tendency to want to peak around the filter to see what is actually going on up there. One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have a devastating consequence.”

If you plan to view the solar eclipse on Monday, please do so safely. Sadly, one wrong move could result in a lifetime of vision loss that may not be immediately felt. If you do not have proper protection, please watch it on television. Lions Pride wants you to remember to protect and preserve your gift of sight.