Fat Tuesday Fun Facts

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Photo Credit to Mathieu Cheze on Unsplash

Spring is coming! The piles of snow may say otherwise, but we are confident it’s on the way. How do we know? Because Fat Tuesday is already next week, so Easter is already on the horizon.

As you know, Mardi Gras is a celebration held the day before Ash Wednesday when Christians celebrate with fatty foods and fun. Traditionally, participants would use the day as an opportunity to eat the richest, unhealthiest foods that remained in their homes before starting the season of Lent.

Although Mardi Gras may not be a huge holiday here in Wisconsin, that is not the case 1150 miles south. Fat Tuesday is one of the biggest parties of the year for New Orleans, so we thought we’d celebrate with a few fun facts:

  • The first Mardi Gras Celebration took place on March 3, 1699, by French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sier de Bienville. Upon arriving at present-day NewOrleans, they named their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras and held a small celebration (nothing like we see today!)
  • While the terms “Carnival” and “Mardi Gras” are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different time periods. “Carnival” is the period of fun and feasting that happens between January 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany) and Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras is the final day of festivity before the season of Lent begins.
  • The first Mardi Gras Parade was held on February 24, 1857, by the Krewe of Comus. Krewes are individual groups often named after Greek gods and goddesses. Each Mardi Gras Parade Krewe has a unique history and picks a new theme each year.
  • You have likely noticed three colors associated with the celebration: purple, green and gold. These colors were chosen by the Rex, the King of Carnival, in 1892. Purple represents justice; green stands for faith and gold symbolized power.
  • There is not an “official” Mardi Gras. Many may be surprised to learn that Mardi Gras is a holiday like Christmas or Independence Day (although New Orleans is typically the only city where businesses are closed,) so it belongs to everyone. In other areas of the United States, the government may be in charge of their Mardi Gras celebrations, but this does not hold true in New Orleans.
  • Even if you’ve never attended Mardi Gras in the Big Easy, you likely already know that the holiday is big, but you still may be shocked to learn how big. In 2019, the Mardi Gras celebration included 54 parades, 1061 floats, 588 marching bands and 135,000+ participants.

We were surprised to learn just how much history is behind Fat Tuesday, but we know this is just a small sliver of facts. Do you have a Mardi Gras story to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Whether you choose to spend Fat Tuesday out and about or prefer to indulge in the comfort of your own home, we hope you enjoy the celebration. Happy Mardi Gras from Lions Pride!

Showing Your Non-Profit the Love

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Lions Pride LoveValentine’s Day is right around the corner! If you’re a romantic at heart, you’ve likely already started developing a plan to spoil your sweetie. Whether you choose to surprise them with a dozen roses, a huge box of chocolate or a cheesy stuffed animal, you know there are dozens of ways to show appreciation for your significant other. In addition to showing affection to your partner, we hope you’ll also use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show love to your favorite non-profit.

If you’re a proud Lions Pride supporter, we have a couple of ideas for you to share the love:

Support us on Facebook

You probably already know that social networks like Facebook are exceptional promotional tools that non-profit organizations use to keeping supporters up-to-date on current happenings, but did you know that you can also help them reach new potential donors? By sharing our updates, tagging us in status updates, and introducing us to your friends, you can help us earn more followers, encourage more donations and further our message.

One feature that you might not be already familiar with is the “Support Nonprofit” option within the status update. By clicking on the three-dotted icon within the status update box, you will see several more options come available when you create a post. By clicking “Support Nonprofit” and finding “Lions Pride Endowment Fund of WI,” you can help us raise funds to support our mission. This option seems especially popular around birthdays.

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No matter how you choose to use Facebook to promote Lions Pride, we appreciate you keeping us top of mind. Find and LIKE Lions Pride on Facebook.

Volunteer to Volunteer

One of the best gifts you can give to Lions Pride is the gift of your time. If you’re familiar with our organization, you know that our Lions Pride Annual Sporting Clays Fundraiser is our biggest event of the year. Although it is a one-day event, it takes us months to get our preparations in order and volunteers help us make the event a success. The 13th Annual Lions Pride Shoot will take place on Saturday, June 13, at Milford Hills Hunt Club in Johnson Creek. If you would like to get involved before the event, please contact us today. We could always use a helping hand.

Make a donation

Lastly, one of the most obvious ways to share your love is to make a special donation in the name of a friend or loved one. With your dedication, we can reach our goal of $10 million by the Wisconsin Lions State Convention in 2021. Obtaining this goal will provide more than $300,000 in perpetuity to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, promoting the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all statewide WLF projects.

We are always on the hunt to show our appreciation for Lions Pride supporters, and we can’t think of a better way to spend Cupid’s Birthday. We’ve said it once and we’ve said it again, but we never tire of thanking you for your continued support. We would not be “today’s help, tomorrow’s hope” without the gracious hearts of our donors.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Celebrating National Camp Week

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Photo Credit to Wisconsin Lions Camp

As we write this post, the thermometer reads 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the temperature is far from balmy, we can’t stop thinking about afternoon swimming, vibrant sunsets and gooey s’mores. We know that it may be a bit too early to think about camping in this part of the country, but that isn’t going to stop us from commemorating National Camp Week.

During the second week of February, the American Camp Association hosts the ACA National Conference and has put National Camp Week on the calendar. The ACA is a community of camp professionals who come together to exchange knowledge and expertise to ensure the quality of camp programming. The organization wholeheartedly believes that the camp experience is essential to every child’s growth and development.

Don’t be surprised if that sentiment sounds familiar. Lion Ray Hempel had similar feelings when founding the Wisconsin Lions Camp back in 1956. He personally believed that attending camp would give special children the resources, skills and experiences that would last them far beyond their childhoods. That’s why the American Camp Association and Wisconsin Lions Camp are a seamless fit.

We may not be traveling to San Diego to attend this year’s conference, but we too are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2020 camping season. Each year, approximately 1,300 special campers with vision, hearing, intellectual disabilities or autism and Type 1 and 2 Diabetes visit Rosholt for a safe and memorable experience at the Wisconsin Lions Camp.

Each camper has the opportunity for a comprehensive outdoor program, which includes (but is certainly not limited to) participating in overnight camping, learning about protecting the environment, canoeing, hiking, swimming, sailing and kayaking. The overarching goals of Lions Camp are to assist each camper in developing self-confidence, interdependence, social skills, outdoor recreational skills and environmental awareness. But above all, we want them to have fun and come back again.

Last year, we were proud to help send 150 children to the Wisconsin Lions Camp with the help of our generous supporters. Will you help us send them again in 2020? Consider donating to Lions Pride Endowment Fund, to help us carry on the beloved summer tradition in perpetuity. We cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

Sending you warm, summer thoughts during National Camp Week!

Start of Women’s Heart Week

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We are 30 days into the New Year, are you still working toward your resolution? Don’t worry; we’re not here to shame you into staying committed unless, of course, your goal is related to good heart health because Saturday is the start of Women’s Heart Week.

The Women’s Heart Foundation has dedicated the next seven days to promoting prevention, education, symptoms awareness and early intervention of heart disease. You might be surprised to learn that heart disease is the number one threat to women over the age of 34. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death of women in the United States. In 2017, heart disease killed approximately 299,578 women – amounting to about 1 in every 5 female deaths. Most women are unaware of their high risk and fail to recognize symptoms.

Women today are, arguably, busier than ever before. They are continually juggling careers, community service, family life as well as many other caregiving responsibilities. Sadly, because of the lack of downtime, women’s symptoms go unnoticed, especially if they are mild. Next week is the perfect opportunity for women to take time for themselves and learn more about the disease.

The first line of defense is to schedule a doctor’s appointment. When meeting with your doctor, discuss getting your cholesterol checked and determining or not a diabetes check would be beneficial. The following tips can also help you reduce your risks:

  • Know your blood pressure – there are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure, so it’s essential to have it checked regularly. Uncontrolled blood pressure is more likely to lead to heart disease.
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Effectively manage stress levels

We were also shocked to learn about the prevalence of heart disease among women in our society. Whether you are a woman or care deeply for a woman, we encourage you to take some time next week to learn more about the disease. As one of the hardest-working muscles in the human body, the heart is too important to ignore.

Lions Pride continues to be grateful for the giving hearts of our donors.

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rat

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Happy New Year! No, we’re not losing our minds. We know that the calendar says January 23, but Saturday is the start of Chinese New Year.

You may be interested in learning that Chinese New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population. Also known as the Spring Festival, the celebration was originally created as a ceremonial day to pray to the gods for a successful harvest season. Today, people treat the holiday as one to welcome spring and new beginnings.

The Spring Festival is the longest Chinese holiday, taking place from January 25 to February 8. The dates vary each year as the holiday timeframe is based on the lunar calendar. On the day before the new year, families thoroughly sweep their homes to remove all of the bad luck and make space for the good. They then gather with loved ones for a reunion dinner. That evening, fireworks are set off to keep monsters and bad luck away. Learn more about the traditions.

Each year is represented by one of the 12 zodiac animals. 2020 is the Year of the Rat. Respective years include 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020. Those of you who were born in these years are known for your “acute observation, positive attitude and flexible mind.” Learn more about the Rat’s personality and characteristics.

Generally, your zodiac year is seen as an unlucky one, but 2020 will unfold reasonably well for the Rat. Here is a list of lucky elements that may help keep your spirits high:

Lucky colors: blue, gold, green

Lucky numbers: 2, 3

Lucky flowers: lily, African violet

Believe it or not, this will not be the last New Year we will celebrate in 2020. As many of you already know, in just five short months, we will be preparing for the Lionistic New Year. Lions Pride would like to thank you for your dedication and service to the Lions organization and ask you to consider a donation/Gift in the New Year.

Will you plan to celebrate the Year of the Rat? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrating Friendship with A.A. Milne

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 “We didn’t realize that we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.” -Winnie the Pooh

We know that some time may have passed since you’ve thought about Christopher Robin. However, if you are a parent or grandparent, there’s no doubt that you are familiar with the name.

Saturday, January 18, is fondly known as Winnie the Pooh Day, the anniversary of A.A. Milne’s birthday. The author was best known for creating a collection of stories surrounding his son, Christopher Robin, and his honey-loving teddy bear.

Within these stories, Milne sent Christopher on wonderful adventures with Pooh, Piglet and the other characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Each story always brought a lot of fun, as well as an important life lesson. It should come as no wonder that over 50 million copies have been sold worldwide, over the last 90+ years.

All of this discussion about growth and adventure makes us think of another place where friendships are made, a little closer to home.

The Wisconsin Lions Camp provides an experience for children and adults with special needs to come together for a week of joy. The goals are to assist in the development of self-confidence, interdependence, social skills, outdoor recreational skills and environmental awareness, but most importantly, to have a fun, safe, memorable adventure – all at no cost to their families.

Do you know a child or adult that would benefit from this experience? Please encourage them to apply! As of today, online and paper applications are now available. See the complete 2020 schedule below: 

Block One

 

June 7 – June 12                     Adults who are Blind or Visually Impaired

June 14 – June 19                   Children with Type 1 & 11 Diabetes

June 21 – June 26                   Children with Type 1 & 11 Diabetes

June 28 – July 3                       Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

July 5 – July 10                         Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

July 12 – July 15                      Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

 

Block Two

July 19 – July 24                      Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

July 25 – July 31                      Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

August 2 – August 7                Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Epilepsy

August 9 – August 13              Adults 18-25 with Intellectual Disabilities or Educational Autism (by invitation only)

August 17 – August 21            Adults who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

 

There’s nothing more valuable in life than being in the company of friends. Consider celebrating the unofficial occasion finding a copy of one of A.A. Milne’s classics.

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day!

Ways to Support Wisconsin Farmers

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There’s no better way to start the weekend with a hearty breakfast. Whether you like to whip up a batch of flapjacks, throw in a quiche or prefer to stick with a bowl of cereal, you’ll notice that all of these meals have one ingredient in common – milk.

This Saturday is National Milk Day. Why was January 11 selected as the day to recognize one of America’s most nutritious beverages? Some believe this date was when the first milk deliveries in glass bottles first began in the United States.

In honor of the calcium-rich holiday, we thought now would be the perfect time to highlight the current struggles of Wisconsin dairy farmers. If you are an avid consumer of current events, you know that small family farms have faced several economic obstacles in the past few years. We’ll explain the challenges as well as ways for you to support these local farms.

In 2019, several stumbling blocks were thrown to our state’s farmers. Family farms struggled with extreme weather conditions, international tariffs, low prices, among other hardships. Some dealt with small profits, while others had to make life-changing decisions. According to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin lost nearly 775 dairy farms in 2019, following significant losses in 2017 and 2018.

Fortunately, outlooks look promising in the new year, but if we want to maintain our status as “America’s Dairyland,” we should do all that we can to support our neighborhood farmers. Below you’ll find a list of ideas for inspiration:

  1. Take a dairy farm tour

    You may be surprised to learn that many farmers are happy give tours of their facilities, allowing many of us to see a world we might not usually see. And, providing tours may also the farmer a secondary source of income. The easiest way to learn if tours are available is to ask.

  2. Talk with area restaurants about using local dairy products

    Restaurant owners are always looking for new ways to provide delicious food to the customers they serve. If you love a dairy farm in your area, be sure to talk with the owner about stocking their products. After all, good food starts with quality ingredients.

  3. Encourage others to buy their foods locally

    There are dozens of benefits to shopping and buying local, including consuming healthier food, reducing your carbon footprint and keeping more money within your local economy. Learn about all of the advantages of buying local food products, and persuade others to do the same.

As you pour your milk while making breakfast on Saturday, don’t forget about the Wisconsin dairy farms that help you provide for your family. Let’s all work together to support some of our state’s hardest working individuals.

From the Lions Pride Board and Staff, we’d like to extend a special message of gratitude to our Wisconsin dairy farmers. We have the utmost appreciation for your hard work and dedication to our state’s agriculture. Thank you, farmers!

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National Spaghetti Day

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2020 has officially arrived! While the changing of the calendar reminds us that it’s time to better ourselves with new exercise routines and dieting tips, we have something else on our mind – carbohydrates.

Saturday, January 4 is National Spaghetti Day, and we’re celebrating the best we know how – with fun facts about spaghetti and meatballs:

  • If you were to travel to Italy, you would likely not see spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. Contrary to popular belief, spaghetti and meatballs is not an Italian dish. The European country may be well known for its pasta, but It is believed that Italian immigrants modified their version of the meatball (known as the polpette) to be more budget-friendly when they first came to America. (Smithsonian)
  • Spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word, spaghetto, which means “thin string” or “twine.” (Bon Appetit)
  • The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is often credited as the first person to introduce America to pasta. (History)
  • Spaghetti is only one of over 600 pasta shapes. There is short pasta, long pasta, pasta that can be used in soups and pasta that can be stuffed. Each kind has its own individual purpose. (Pasta Fits)
  • The average American eats about 20 pounds of pasta each year. We understand that this may sound like a lot, but it’s only a fraction of what an Italian person consumes. The average person in Italy eats more than 51 pounds annually. (Tastemade)
  • On April 1, 1957, BBC aired a false documentary featuring Swiss spaghetti crops. After its debut, the news station received mixed reviews. Hundreds of hopeful viewers were questioning where they could get plans of their own, while others failed to see the humor in the broadcast. To this day, this spoof is known as one of the most brilliant April Fools pranks in history. (BBC)

Will you be celebrating National Spaghetti Day with a big bowl of pasta, or will you be staying away from carbs in the immediate future? Let us know in the comments below.

No matter how you choose to celebrate this fun unofficial holiday, we hope you can use these fun facts to impress your family and friends. Happy National Spaghetti Day from Lions Pride!

Lions Pride Year in Review

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Lions Lake Totem PoleChristmas is officially behind us. Can you believe it? With Thanksgiving falling late in November, we all had less time to prepare for the busiest season of the year, but we all managed to survive! Now, with the year quickly winding down, we hope you have some time to reflect on the past 360 days.

In 2019, we were proud to accomplish the following milestones:

  • Helped send over 1200 Wisconsin children to Lions Camp, where they were able to learn lifelong skills that will serve them well beyond their childhoods. Campers were able to participate in several outdoor activities, build lasting friendships and enjoy being kids in a fun, safe environment.
  • Collected and recycled eyeglasses to share with people in need all around the world. Each year our Eyeglass Recycling Center receives an average of 800,000 pairs of used glasses each year.
  • Screened the eyes of thousands of children from all around the state from ages 6 months to teenage. With early detection, we’re able to help preserve and protect a child’s gift of sight.
  • Provided local communities with essential diabetes education. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 74, as well as a significant cause of other serious health complications? Our goal is to help reduce the number of blindness cases through education, early detection and treatment.

Of course, none of these accomplishments would be possible without the continued support of our gracious donors. We would not be “Today’s help, tomorrow’s hope” without you. We are incredibly thankful to have you by our side.

As we wrap up the year, we’d ask you to consider Lions Pride in your year-end giving plans. We are excited to announce our determined efforts to reach $10 million by the Wisconsin Lions State Convention in 2021. Attaining this goal will provide more than $300,000 in perpetuity to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, promoting the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all statewide WLF projects. Let’s come together in support.

The Lions Pride Office will be closed for the remainder of the week. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

National Ugly Sweater Day

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When you think about the holiday season, what comes to your mind? You might imagine twinkling lights, blankets of snow, lush evergreen trees, stacks of beautifully wrapped presents… or maybe obnoxious, ugly sweaters!

We can’t be the only ones who have noticed this unofficial holiday become part of the season. Friday, December 20, is National Ugly Sweater Day, but before you pull out that hideous sweater from the back of the closet, let’s find out where this obscure celebration got its start.

The original “ugly sweater” first made its appearance in the 1950s but was more fondly known as a “jingle bell sweater.” They were quite different from the sweaters we see nowadays; these pieces featured tasteful winter themes such as reindeer, snowflakes and other simple motifs. These sweaters were never intended to be ugly; rather they were creative and joyful. They remained modestly popular for the next three decades.

In the 1980s, Americans started seeing bold sweaters with outrageous patterns on TV. You may remember seeing examples of these sweaters on “The Cosby Show” and “Christmas Vacation.” This trend slowed down, but never completely disappeared. Many believe the sweaters’ turning point came when Colin Firth donned a tacky Rudolph sweater to a Christmas Party in his role as Mark Darcy in “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in 2001.

Then, one fateful night in Vancouver, Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch created the first Christmas Sweater Party. The idea caught on and spread across Canada, into the United States and eventually, around the world. Celebrities and politicians were being photographed out on the streets in their favorite Christmas sweaters. By 2010, designers started creating collections based on the ugly ones.

Today, it seems like everyone is hosting ugly sweater parties, which has encouraged retailers to sell sweaters of their own. Of course, with the increase in options comes an increase in competition at these parties. To win the title of the ugliest sweater, you need to get creative.

Will you be participating in Ugly Sweater Day tomorrow? If so, let us know where you found your creation in the comments below.

Whether you love or hate ugly Christmas sweaters, there’s no denying that they have made their mark on the holiday season. And it has certainly become another way to celebrate during the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!