Sunsetting the Lions Pride Campaign and Blog

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It may be hard to believe, but today’s post marks #400, and the first time it will be written in the first person. The Lions Pride Blog was first started back in September 2013 after I sat next to two smiling faces at a women’s business luncheon. I was still working a full-time job but trying to make it on my own as an independent consultant. I was nervous, but Denise and Geri immediately put me at ease. As you may have guessed, the three of us hit it off and Lions Pride soon became my first client (outside of family). The Lions Pride Blog was born just a few weeks later.

Each Thursday for nearly 8 years (apart from missing one after the early arrival of my son in December 2020), we have published a blog post about many different topics like holidays, conventions, special events, fun facts and more. They didn’t always seem to directly apply, but we always wanted to make sure it tied back to Lions Pride.

If you’re a follower of the blog, you likely already know the origin story of Lions Pride, but here’s a Cliff Notes version, just in case. After serving in leadership roles within the Lions Organization, Dewey Carl identified an unmet need. He recognized that expenses for Lions Camp and all WLF projects had increased substantially, but the ever-important annual Lions Club Donations were not keeping up. By that time, he knew that many Wisconsin residents came to rely on these programs, so an additional financial source was crucial to keep them running.

He decided to establish a donor-directed endowment fund, which was approved by the Lions of Wisconsin in May 2005. Since that time, the Lions Pride Board and Staff have been working tirelessly to preserve, protect and provide for Lions Camp and all statewide projects.

You might recall that back in October, 2019, Lions Pride announced a goal to unite efforts and reach $10 million for the endowment fund by the 2021 State Convention. By attaining this milestone, we would be able to provide more than $300,000 a year in perpetuity to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation in support of Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects and sunset the campaign.

I am excited to announce that Lions Pride has reached that milestone.

This goal would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Dewey Carl, Geri Schlender, the board and staff, or the giving hearts of donors and supporters. It truly was a team effort and an accomplishment that we can be proud to share.

We now have the funds to financially assist the Wisconsin Lions Foundation indefinitely. How often can you make such a statement?

Because we have officially crossed the threshold, the organization will be changing, starting with the staff. One of the largest changes is the retirement of Executive Director, Geri Schlender. She has been with Lions Pride since the start and now will be able to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Please join me in congratulating Geri as she enters the next phase of her life, to be filled with travel, relaxation and fun. The organization was so incredibly lucky to have you at the helm.

The structure of the organization will also be going through some changes, which are still being ironed out by the Lions Pride Board. But since we have reached our goal, we will no longer be actively seeking donations from clubs and will begin decreasing monthly expenses, which means this 400th post will also be the last.

The last eight years have flown by in the blink of an eye, and I cannot tell you honored I feel to have had the opportunity to learn and grow with Lions Pride. The organization has shown me just how important it is to improve the lives of others. Service never goes out of style.

Thank you so much for your continued support, and for reading the Lions Pride Blog!

– Katy Bailey

5 Reasons to Wear Sunglasses

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Sunday, June 27 is National Sunglasses Day 2021, courtesy of the Vision Council! Although they may not be necessary on a stormy day like today, there are several advantages to putting on your shades before heading out the door:

  1. They prevent your eyes from developing sun-related health issues, including cataracts, skin cancer and macular degeneration.
  2. They protect your eyes from the elements such as dust, wind and sand.
  3. They lead to more comfortable vision by allowing you to see without having to squint.
  4. They make it easier to adapt from light to darkness.  
  5. Lastly, they are fashionable! By putting on a pair of sunglasses, you can instantly look and feel like a movie star.

If you’re interested in sporting a new pair of sunglasses, but don’t want to add to your collection, the Eyeglass Recycling Center in Rosholt can help cut down on your clutter. The ERC is only one of 18 other facilities in the world. It serves as a place to process used eyeglasses (including sunglasses) that are usually collected in containers placed in public spaces around Wisconsin and neighboring states.

Annually, over 500,000 pairs of used eyeglasses are processed at the ERC and sent on missions to developing countries around the globe. Sunglasses can be helpful for those living in hot climates, and children’s sunglasses are especially desirable.

There are many ways to get your old sunglasses to the recycling center:

  • Find a collection site near you by emailing wilionserc@wlf.info
  • Donate your individual pair by sending them to Eyeglass Recycling Center at 3834 County Road A, Rosholt WI 54473
  • Help others also cut down on their clutter by organizing a collection drive of your own

Remember, the future is bright, so don’t forget your sunglasses. Happy National Sunglasses Day from Lions Pride!

Special Ways to Celebrate Dad

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Have you seen an increase in ads relating to home improvement, technology or men’s personal care items? You’re not the only one! The increase in promotion of all things manly tells us that Father’s Day is just around the corner! In honor of the occasion, let’s take a look at the most common gifts, then we’ll throw out some alternatives to shower dad with extra appreciation.

On the third Sunday of June, kids celebrate dad with practical gift ideas. Here are some of the typical gift ideas:

  1. A necktie (or another clothing item)
  2. An electronic gadget
  3. A gift certificate

Rather than relying on the same tried-and-true items, how about surprising Dad with something different this year?

  • Tickets

    We’ve said it time and again, but this summer is extra special because many of us get to come together again after being apart for months at a time. Celebrate dad by purchasing tickets to a concert or sporting event. Starting next week, the Milwaukee Brewers will be allowing full capacity at American Family Field.  
  • Project assistance

    If your dad is like many out there, summer is the busiest time of the year. Between yard work and other summer projects, you might notice that he hardly has time to just sit and take in the most beautiful season of the year. Help him get to relaxing faster by offering a hand. We can bet he’ll enjoy the company as well as the assistance.
  • A donation to his favorite cause

    Does Dad have a special cause that he loves to support? Consider helping that organization carry on in its mission by giving a gift in his honor. Remember that donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization. If your dad is a Lions Pride supporter, an honorarium or memorial donations can help us continue preserving, providing and protecting for the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects. Click here to learn more.

Dad’s special day is only three days away, so don’t wait to find the perfect present. From the Lions Pride Board and Staff, we’d like to wish all the dads out there a happy Father’s Day!

Lucky 13: The Lions Pride Annual Shoot

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To those who consider themselves to be superstitious, the number 13 is a less than ideal number. It’s often associated with Friday the 13th, black cats and non-existent hotel floors. But, after the year we all just endured, we could not be more excited to celebrate the 13th Annual Lions Pride Shoot, Deja Vue Redo.

Apart from 2020, we’ve held the Lions Pride Shoot at Milford Hills in Johnson Creek for the past 12 years. If you’re new to the sport, you may be interested in learning that sporting clays simulates actual hunting situations in the field and are enjoyed by people of all ages. In fact, more than 3 million people a year shoot sporting clays either competitively or recreationally. Sporting clays is both fun and challenging as well as one of the fastest-growing sports in America. It is a unique sport that provides instant gratification and brings out one’s competitive nature.  

Our sporting clays fundraiser has become our most popular event that takes place on the second weekend in June. Both Lions and non-Lions come together to enjoy a day out in the beautiful rolling hills of Southern Wisconsin to support Lions Pride.

The day begins with an early lunch, followed by a challenging course with games and door prizes. After shooters have finished the course, they finish up their action-packed day by participating in a live auction, drinking ice cold beer and indulging in a delicious meal.

The Lions Pride Shoot may only be a one-day event, the staff has planning and preparing for months. Many small details go into the overall preparation of the fundraiser, including recruiting participants, finding sponsors, collecting both door prizes and auction items, coordinating all of the day’s events with the Milford Hills staff and recruiting volunteers to help create a successful event. We were disappointed to have to cancel last year’s event but cannot believe that we are now only days away.

As we continue to finish up the final details of the event, we’d like to give a special shoutout to our donors, sponsors, shooters and volunteers. We have first-hand experience that it takes a village of people to create a unique and enjoyable event. We look forward to being reunited in Milford Hills, we know that our 13th year will be the best one yet.. And as always, we cannot thank you enough for your endless support.

See you on Saturday!

2021 Summer Bucket List

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As students finish out the school year, it is starting to feel like summer in Wisconsin. Of course, this is not your typical summer. After nearly 15 months of being hunkered down, Wisconsinites are ready to get back to normal summertime activities (ourselves included.) To help get you in the spirit of the return, we’ve compiled a list of 21 activities to help kickstart your summer:

  1. Reunite with friends and family by hosting an outdoor cookout
  2. Look for live music events at your favorite bar or restaurant
  3. Pack a lunch and invite an old friend to picnic in the park
  4. Visit a state fair and pretend the calories don’t count by indulging in a deep-fried treat
  5. Watch a flick under the stars at a drive-in movie theater
  6. Treat yourself to an ice cream cone
  7. Stay up late to watch the sunset, or get up early to witness the sunrise
  8. Play a round of golf with your favorite foursome
  9. Read a book and soak up the afternoon sun
  10. Bring nature in by picking a bouquet of wildflowers
  11. Order an iced coffee from a local coffee shop
  12. Plan a day trip to one of the many beautiful locations around the state
  13. Reconnect with Mother Nature by spending a night in the great outdoors
  14. Put your toes in the sand at an area beach
  15. Pick up baked goods and surprise a loved one who you haven’t seen in a while
  16. As the days warm up, beat the heat by visiting a museum
  17. Build a campfire and enjoy an ice-cold beer
  18. Explore a state park you’ve never visited
  19. Open the windows to let in the fresh air
  20. Buy a ticket and watch a ballgame
  21. Spend a day doing nothing at all

This is the moment many of us have been waiting for. What activities are you most looking forward to this summer? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Let’s make June, July and August the best months ever.

Happy Summer from Lions Pride!

Keeping Their Memories Alive

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We likely don’t have to tell you that we are less than 48 hours away from a long weekend. We’re guessing you know that Monday is Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer, but we thought we all could use a refresher about the origin of the federal holiday. Not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May and honors the military men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The holiday once known as “Decoration Day” originated in the years after WWII. The term, “Memorial Day,” did not appear until 1971. Previously, Decoration Day or Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30, regardless of the day of the week. Then in 1968, the Uniform Holidays bill was passed as a part of a move to use federal holidays to create 3-day weekends.

Each Memorial Day, the US flag is flown at half-mast from dawn until noon and volunteers around the country place flags on every gravestone in national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance also takes place at 3 pm local time.

While last year was very much out of the ordinary, people typically celebrate with picnics, sporting events and family gatherings. As more and more Americans become fully vaccinated, we are again seeing calendars fill up with these activities again in 2021.

This Memorial Day, while you and your family are enjoying your cookouts and reunited time together, we hope that you’ll remember the origin of the federal holiday. Make it a point to keep the brave Americans who gave their lives to protect our freedom on your mind all day long.

The Lions Pride Board and Staff would like to offer a special “thank you” to all of the courageous men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Our office will be closed on Monday, but we will be back on Tuesday, June 1. We wish you all a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

3 Reasons to Adopt a Rescue Dog

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You might be surprised to learn that approximately 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. Today, May 20, is National Rescue Dog Day! While there are many ways to make a difference in the lives of rescue dogs, we’d like to shed light on our favorite way – adoption.

There are countless benefits to adding a pet to your family, including love, companionship, protection, stress relief, entertainment, and more. If you have room in your heart and your home, we’d highly encourage you to think about adopting a dog. Here are a few reasons to consider:

  1. Adoption fees can be significantly less expensive than breeder fees

    According to CostHelper, purchasing a dog can cost between $300 and $1500 with show-quality dogs costing as much as $15,000. Meanwhile, adopting a dog from a shelter costs between $70 and $300. With savings like that, you are free to spoil your furry friend or support another worthy cause.
  • You are helping to control pet overpopulation

Sadly, the breeding rate of puppies and kittens exceeds the number of loving home available to pets. The best way to fight overpopulation is to adopt from a shelter then have your pet spayed or neutered (which is often covered within the adoption fees.)

  • You are saving more than one life

    Yes, you read that correctly. When you choose to adopt a dog from the shelter, you are, of course, saving a life by offering a second chance to him, but you also need to remember the dog who takes his place. When one dog is adopted, another dog can receive the care he needs until he finds his furever home.

These are only a handful of advantages to adopting a rescue dog. If you are a rescue dog advocate, tell us about your best friend. We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Happy National Rescue Dog Day from Lions Pride!

The 2021 MD27 State Convention

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In 1921, the first Lions roared into Wisconsin. This weekend, we’ll commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin Lions, and it would only be fitting to celebrate in Green Bay, home of the second Lions Club chartered in the state.

This convention is extra special – not only because we are celebrating the centennial, but because we’ll be together in person. The MD27 State Convention, “Marching Into the Next Century” is happening today through Saturday at the KI Convention Center.

The fun kicks off today with a four-person golf scramble at Royal St. Patrick’s Golf Links in Wrightstown. The afternoon will include registration, exhibitor table set-up and the Council of Governors Meeting.

We’ll hit the ground running on Friday as the morning begins with board meetings and informative seminars. Followed by the opening luncheon featuring Tom Thibodeau, who will inspire us with the Positive Power of Servant Leadership. We’ll have our choice of interesting seminars to attend in the afternoon. We’re especially looking forward to listening in on the Lions Camp Seminar, a panel discussion with families and campers moderated by Dr. David Selner.

The day will finish with an Elections Officials Meeting, Strides Walk and Past DG Organization. Then, we’ll get together to celebrate the roaring ‘20s! Be sure to pack your flapper skirt and fedora. 

Saturday will begin with a Lions Business Meeting and Awards Presentation. District meetings will commence at 10:30 am, followed by a noon luncheon and last block of seminars. The afternoon will continue with the WLF Annual Meeting, voting and Governors Honor Banquet. Click to see the complete schedule of events.

We are excited to participate in the various seminars and meetings, but we cannot wait to see the smiling faces that we have been missing for months. It will feel so good to work together to reach, touch and improve lives as Lions.

What are you most looking forward to at the state convention? Let us know in the comments below.

See you in Green Bay!

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

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After a long, hard winter, many of us look forward to seeing the many signs of spring. We love to hear the birds sing, the flowers start to bud and the crickets chirp the night away. However, there is one area of spring that we can almost certainly guarantee that no one looks forwards to – the return of ticks.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that approximately 476,000 people in the US are diagnosed with Lyme Disease each year. But because Lyme Disease can be incredibly difficult to diagnose, experts believe that number may be much higher. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, so we felt it was a good time to learn more about this particularly creepy disease.

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection, primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks (more commonly known as deer ticks.) Not every deer tick has Lyme, they get it after feeding on an infected animal such as a mouse or deer. Then, they pass it along to the next animal or person they bite.

A popular misconception is that an infected tick must be attached for 24 hours to transmit Lyme, but one report has shown that it was after only 6 hours. The risk may be low on day one, but there is still a chance of transmission.

One of the scariest parts about this disease is the fact that it can mimic symptoms of other diseases. Patients with Lyme are often misdiagnosed with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and other psychiatric conditions.  

To prevent the contraction of Lyme Disease, work the following tips into active tick season (April through September) after being outdoors:

  • Inspect clothing and pets to find any lingering ticks.
  • Take a shower within two hours of being outdoors to help wash away any unattached ticks and conduct a tick check.
  • As previously mentioned, Lyme is commonly misdiagnosed, so educate yourself by knowing the symptoms.

Don’t let ticks stop you from enjoying the beauty of the season. Happy Spring from Lions Pride!