When the principal of North Coventry Elementary School contacted the Coventry Lions about starting a Leos club in his school, he had no idea where it would lead. Dr. Mechler spoke with Lion Terry Stouffer about starting a branch of the Leos, but the students in his school were too young. Undaunted, Terry proposed that they start a new service club. This quickly turned into the formation of whole series of elementary school clubs within the Owen J. Roberts school district.
With the help of the Coventry Lions club and some very dedicated school advisors, it wasn’t long before all five of the OJR elementary schools had their own nascent club with a total of 179 students taking part in service activities of all types. They even held their own “name the club” contest and, surprise!, the favorite among the many names submitted was the Lion Cubs. It was pretty obvious the time had come to formally welcome these enthusiastic “cubs” into the world of Lionism.
On March 24th, 2009 the Coventry Lions hosted a very special evening to recognize the students for their involvement in the community by formally inducting them into the newly formed Coventry Lion Cubs youth program. The event, held at Owen J. Roberts High School, began with a casual pizza dinner provided by the Coventry Lions where the students and their parents had the opportunity to meet with club members from other schools. Prior to the meal each of the 61 fourth-through-sixth graders present was given their official Lion Cubs t-shirts which most donned immediately which resulted in a sea of purple clad students. It was obvious that these “cubs” were ready for the evening’s big event.
The evening got started with a wonderful warm up act by Lion Terry Stouffer and his guitar. Terry invited the audience to join in as he sang May There Always be Sunshine. Before long, Lion Terry started introducing sign language into the song one word at a time and before you knew it, we were “singing” the song in sign language!
District 14P’s Youth Program Chairman, Bill Peters spent a few minutes describing the Leos Club program “for the older kids” before moving quickly to the Youth Exchange program as he described the district’s experience with exchange students from Japan.
District Governor Rich Taylor took the podium next and warmly welcomed the soon-to-be inducted Lion Cubs, their families and especially the teacher/advisors before providing insightful words on what it means to be a Lion. District Governor Rich concluded his presentation with a very inspiring video presentation titled Everyday Heroes.
Lion Terry invited the club advisors from each of the five elementary schools to come forward. Emily Hunter, Julie Myers, Katie Dempsey, Faith Gorrell, Sarah Butts, Alexandra Friel and Kennedy Gallagher was greeted to a very warm round of applause as they made their way to the front of the auditorium. Each advisor then introduced speakers from their club to provide a rundown of the various service activities already undertaken by their clubs and future activities in the works. Their projects were as imaginative as they were diverse:
· Cleaned up Retirement home garden and planting flowers.
· Cleaned up East Coventry Grounds
· Made Teacher St. Patrick's Day Door Hangers
· Sent pictures/letters to wounded soldiers in the hospital
· Collected canned goods for the needy
· Collected used eyeglasses
· Sponsored an anti-bullying poster contest
· Dressed up for Halloween in a reverse trick-or-treat event where they read stories to the residents of a local elderly care facility
· Started a food and bedding drive for the Berks County Animal Rescue
· Assisted in the Jump Rope for Heart Program
· Terra-cycling of juice boxes
…and much more!
Finally, the big moment came as the advisors read off club members’ names. As each “cub” came forward, they were presented with their official certificate of membership in the Coventry Lion Cubs. After warmly shaking hands with the district officers, the Lion Cubs were lead in a short induction ceremony conducted by District Governor Taylor.
Afterwards, District Governor Rich had this to say: “The Lion Cubs Clubs are the future of our Lions mission of unselfish service to others. I am honored to have been given the opportunity of inducting the very first Lion Cub members into our World of Lionism.”
The Coventry Lions club is proud to be the sponsor of the Lion Cubs and warmly welcome them into the largest service organization in the world – Lions Clubs International. We’d like to thank the District 14P officers, members from other Lions clubs, the school advisors, Dr. Melchor, school officials and, of course, the lion cubs and their parents for taking part in this special event.
Coventry Lions Secretary
March 29, 2009