Yellow was the predominant color in all areas of the Greenwood Inn in Corner Brook over this past weekend, October 28-30, 2016. Lions, from Multiple District N, dressed in their yellow vests, greeted and acquainted themselves with one another as the MD N Fall Conference came to a start.
With a jammed packed agenda the organizing committee ensured that there was plenty of time in between the business for fun and fellowship. From scenic boat rides around the Bay of Islands, to a meet and greet, of all sorts, as many dressed in their favorite Halloween costume competed for the prize and title of Best Costume. During the banquet, yellow vests were shed for white jackets, as Past and Present District Governors dressed in their formal regalia.
Throughout the weekend, Lions from Newfoundland & Labrador and the Atlantic provinces, interacted and shared club successes and challenges. Reports were given on Lion signature projects such as Peace Poster, Dog Guides, Vision and Lions Quest. Each were offered the opportunity to learn more from LCI International Directors Rod Wright and Bill Phillipi.
Margie Lewis, Executive Director with NL Laubach Literacy Council educated the gathered group on the grim outlook on literacy in our province and the dire need for assistance in promoting literacy among all our citizens. She informed that in 2003, NL scored second highest for illiteracy in the country with 55% falling below Level 3, the level necessary to function daily. A decade later, it wasn’t much more promising, with “1 out of 5 aged 16-65 struggling to use written, technical, daily interpretation and basic numeracy skills.” She went on to add that each year the provincial government continues to cut funding for literacy programs, resulting in 40% of our Canadian youth falling in Levels 1 & 2, possessing low literacy skills. Insomuch as threatening to close libraries in our province. Lion Dave Rex challenged everyone to save our libraries. He questioned, “With exceptional low literacy, where is the sense in closing our libraries?”
Ms. Lewis stressed that more needs to be done to ensure success for our youth. If we continue on this path, our youth will grow in an environment of low self esteem, mental health issues, high unemployment and high crime rates. Lions can help through financial support, partnerships or training and tutoring. Stephenville Lion Corinne Tulk, a tutor and tutor trainer with the BSG Literacy Council spoke of her own personal experience of working with youth who have been given a high school diploma but not able to read past a primary school level.
Dustin House and Paula Sheppard Thibeau with Habitat for Humanity NL shared their story and experience working as volunteers on a build happening presently in Corner Brook, NL. Mr. House, Volunteer Coordinator, congratulated the Lions on their work as humanitarians and encouraged them to join the team. ” Lions Clubs are a fantastic organization to be affiliated with and with volunteers being the backbone of the build, I hope you will go back to your clubs and convey the message of Habitat for Humanity.” Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everyone has a safe place to live. As a volunteer run program, funds are raised at the national level, with 100% going to the project. This project offers modest homes to families who are able to secure a small mortgage, who otherwise may not have been able to purchase a home. To volunteer check out www.habitatnl.ca.
During the Bear Pit session, Lions were able to fire questions at ID Rod and Bill. Information regarding LCI’s first incoming female president, recruitment and membership, their travels and the food they eat (or don’t eat)…anything went.
At the banquet on Saturday evening, many presentations were made to Lions who have made an outstanding contribution to Lionism in their districts, province, country and world. Congratulations to all who were honoured including Stephenville Lion Dave Rex, recipient of the International President’s Award and Pasadena Lion Frank Bonnell, recipient of a Leadership Award.