Digby and Area Lions receive international recognition

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The Digby and Area Lions Club had the top growth of any club its size in Canada this past year and earned a top prize from Lions Club International.

Scott Mackenzie, the district governor for Nova Scotia presented the club with a Lions Club International Flag Set – one of only 23 awarded around the world and the only one in Canada.

“The aim of our Year-Round Growth Program is not to increase our numbers,” said Mackenzie at the Digby Legion on Wednesday, Dec. 4. “The aim is to increase our ability to serve.”

(Video of the district governor making the announcement)

The Digby and Area Lions Club went from 19 members to 34, mostly due to their Buy Local Market at the Evangeline Mall in Digby says president (or King Lion) Ed McCormick.

“We’re in the public eye, they see us in our vests and they ask questions,” he said. “Personal interaction is the key—if we were just in here having our meetings, we’d never find new members, but when people see us doing stuff, they get interested.”

The Lions’ Buy Local Market is at the mall five days a week selling local produce, preserves and crafts. The club has a display there showing the work they do in the community and around the world.

The Lions Club began in 1917 in Chicago and has spread around the world with more than a million Lions in 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.

The Lions began as a club to work for the betterment of their communities and were famously challenged by Helen Keller in 1925 to be Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness.

The Digby and Area Lions work to help people in our community by providing eyeglasses, medical travel assistance or other medical assistance.

The Digby club had disbanded about 1995 and only got back on its feet again in 2009.

To form a club, they needed 20 people and after a little asking around they had 22.

The membership fell off again to 12 by the start of 2012.

“We sat down and had an open forum, talked about how we might move forward,” said McCormick. “The market came up – we should open it back up.”

McCormick says people join the Lions because they want to help and serve their communities.

“I’d say 95 per cent of the people in our club are strapped for time but they joined anyway because they want to help people,” he said.

When people are interested in joining, a member invites them to attend a meeting and learn about the club and how it works.

The Digby and Area Lions are at the mall Sunday, Monday and Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Organizations: Area Lions Club, Lions Club International Flag Set

Geographic location: Canada, Nova Scotia, Chicago

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