This week, I was invited to attend a Batavia Lions Club meeting and introduce Illinois Hands & Voices to their members. The Lions provided a delicious dinner and an interpreter.
There were thirteen Lions in attendance, with the majority of them over the age of sixty. The Lions president, Todd McPencow, however was a young guy who fit right in and seemed very comfortable with his ability to lead. As I sat there watching the proceedings, I was struck by a sense of honor and commitment from the men in the room. The Lions Clubs are known for their fundraisers and support for people with vision and hearing loss. It is considered an high honor to be invited to join as a member of the Lions.
Each local Lions Club sends funds to the Lions of Illinois Foundation which runs the Camp Lions in three locations in Illinois. This year, Camp Lions of Illinois will be celebrating their 50th year of camp. With 700 Lions Clubs around Illinois, the fundraising covers the cost of camp for every camper; each camper is required to bring just $15 to spend at the camp store and cover the cost of a camp group picture.
I worked as a camp counselor back in my college days and I have fond memories of camp. My kids have attended Camp Lions for two years in a row, and it continues to be one of the activities that they talk about the most throughout the year. At Camp Lions, it doesn't matter whether you sign, speak or cue-- the most important thing is fun.
The Lions have always been a generous group, including the Bolingbrook Lions Club which provided hearing aids for my family one year and a laptop for our local deaf club, West Suburban Association of the Deaf.
After I shared information about Illinois Hands & Voices and Hands & Voices National, the Batavia Lions concluded the meeting with a very generous donation.
To all of the Lions who work tirelessly to help the communities they serve, thank you.