Lions Clubs – Ready to Help, Worldwide
Whenever a Lions club gets together, problems get smaller. And communities get better. That's because we help where help is needed – in our own communities and around the world – with unmatched integrity and energy.
The World's Largest Service Club Organization
In 2017 we celebrate our centennial, 100 years of Service. Our 46,000+ clubs and 1.4 million members make us the world's largest service club organization. We're also one of the most effective. Our members do whatever is needed to help their local communities. Everywhere we work, we make friends. With children who need eyeglasses, with seniors who don’t have enough to eat and with people we may never meet.
Lions Clubs International - Triumph of an Idea
The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago insurance man Melvin Jones, who wondered why local business clubs -- he was an active member of one -- could not expand their horizons from purely business concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large. Jones' idea struck a chord within his own group, the Business Circle of Chicago, and they authorized him to explore his concept with similar organizations from around the United States. His efforts resulted in an organizational meeting at a local hotel on June 7, 1917. Thirty-six delegates representing 22 clubs from nine states headed the call, approved the "Lions Clubs" designation, and elected Dr. William P. Woods of Indiana as their first president. Guiding force and founder Melvin Jones named acting secretary, thus began an association with Lionism that only ended with his death in 1961.
That first convention also began to define what Lionism was to become. A constitution and by-laws were adopted, the colors of purple and gold approved, and a start made on Lionism's Objectives and Code of Ethics. One of the objects was startling for an era that prided itself on mercenary individualism, and has remained one of the main tenets of Lionism ever since. "No Club," it read, "shall hold out the financial betterment of its members as its object."Community leaders soon began to organize clubs throughout the United States, and the association became "international" with the formation of the Windsor, Ontario, Canada Lions Club in 1920. Clubs were later organized in China, Mexico, and Cuba. By 1927, membership stood at 60,000 in 1,183 clubs. In 1935, Panama became home to the first Central American club, with the first South American club being organized in Columbia the following year. Lionism reached Europe in 1948, as clubs were chartered in Sweden, Switzerland, and France. In 1952, the first club was chartered in Japan. Since then, the association has become truly global, with clubs in more than 170 countries and geographical areas worldwide.
The proper name of the association is "The International Association of Lions Clubs." Many Lions, however, prefer the use of the shorter form of "Lions Clubs International."
Throughout the world, Lions are recognized by the emblem they wear on their lapels. It consists of a gold letter "L" on a circular blue field. Bordering this is a circular gold area with two lion profiles at either side facing away from the center. The word "Lions" appears at the top, and "International" at the bottom. Symbolically, the lions face both past and future -- proud of the past and confident of the future. Lions wear their emblem with pride.
The motto of every Lion is simply "We Serve". What better way to express the true mission of Lionism?
The slogan of the association is "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation's Safety (LIONS).
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