NEW MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB
The sights and sounds of our Incoming President Chancellor Bob Corlew's home state, Tennessee, are many. From the rolling foothills and mountains to the sounds of the Mississippi River, agriculture, industry and wildlife, these sights and sounds create a unique atmosphere in which Tennessee's culture of warm hospitality developed. The people of Tennessee live by a long standing tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger. As a result, Tennessee will forever be known as "the Volunteer State."
It is the traditions of his boyhood in Tennessee and the independence passed on from ancestors who overcame challenges and seized opportunities to build a life in the foothills and mountains that inspired Incoming President Corlew to choose New Mountains to Climb as our 2016-2017 international theme.
Climbing a mountain is used as a metaphor. It represents something that is difficult and arduous and takes a maximum effort to accomplish. But it is only by climbing those mountains that we can excel. Each mountain represents a new challenge, a new opportunity. As our world continues to change, each of us faces new challenges and new opportunities to serve and each can be viewed as a mountain. Climbing these mountains provides a chance for Lions to make the world better.
As we celebrate 100 years of Lions service, we honor our past and embrace our present. But it is our future for which we must plan. If we are to ascend our next mountain, we must lay out a trail in front of us, marking our trail for future generations of Lions who follow and preserving our tradition of service.
Reaching The Summit of Service
Reaching the top of a mountain is not the end of a journey; it is the beginning of another. A new opportunity. We lead through service. That is our strength. We must continue to assess our service initiatives and programs to ensure we all share a vision where service drives the purpose of our organization. We must continue to lead through service, enhancing our position as the global leader in humanitarian service.
Lions impact the well-being of communities in many ways, including our four primary areas of service: protecting our environment, enhancing the lives of our youth, working to minimize hunger and providing vision related service. Lions continue to fulfill our motto, "We Serve", embracing new opportunities to serve. No mountain is ever too high.
When we began our Centennial celebration in 2014, we asked Lions to climb our next mountain, the Centennial Service Challenge (CSC). The CSC encourages Lions to impact the lives of at least 100 million people in our four primary service areas by June 30, 2018. In the first year, we achieved over one- third of our goal. Now, as we approach the conclusion of the second year of our CSC, we are well past the two-thirds mark and are well-positioned to exceed our goal.
Connect With Communities
Providing needed service builds lasting bonds and allows Lions clubs to genuinely connect with communities. Every community, large or small, presents an opportunity for a Centennial Legacy Project. Lions around the world are stepping up to meet this new challenge by creating a permanent legacy, which will forever remind Lions and others in the community of the great work we perform, and the mountains we climbed during our Centennial year. Our goal is to have at least 20,000 clubs participate in Legacy Projects. All Lions are encouraged to participate in these special projects, making sure the Lions logo is prominently displayed as a permanent part of each, and each project is reported to LCI. Additional information about Centennial Legacy Projects is available on the Lions100.org website.
Leading Us Over The Next Mountain
As we strive to meet the growing needs for humanitarian service, climbing each mountain in our path, we need to do so effectively and efficiently. Good leaders can make that happen. It is only with effective leadership that our service can be strong, and strong service = strong clubs = member pride, engagement and enthusiasm.
As we celebrate our Centennial, we must plan for our future. Leadership development is the way to remain relevant and vibrant as we enter our next century of service. Succession planning is key - ensuring an adequate pool of knowledgeable, capable, enthusiastic, forward-thinking Lions leaders who will guide and support us for years to come.
If we are to climb to the top of a mountain, we need capable leaders, but it is also critical to have the right tools. Our leadership development programs, tools and resources have enhanced the skills of thousands of Lions around the world, preparing them not only to effectively address challenges, but to anticipate those challenges as well. Whether your preference is face-to-face training or technology-based learning, LCI offers something for everyone. Incoming President Corlew invites every Lion to climb even higher, by taking advantage of the various training and development opportunities offered by LCI and the GLT.
Building Our Team By Inviting For Impact
Lions Clubs International is comprised of many teams working together toward the shared goal of enhancing our service to others. As we pursue our goal, we understand our individual roles and responsibilities, maintain a shared focus on achieving our goal together, believe in ourselves, trust each other and appreciate the individuality of each team member. These five values are essential to effective teams and lead to success in reaching summits.
Every member of our team matters and each makes an impact. We must encourage others to join us. Every new member will impact the lives of at least 30 people through service, which means for every 1,000 members who join, we can impact the lives of 30,000 people. This is why we need to expand our ranks - we must invite for impact.
Our goal during our Centennial celebration is for every club to induct a minimum of three new members each year, and every district to start at least one new club. This represents approximately 138,000 new members, just a five percent increase, but it represents impacting an additional 4.1 million people through service. Together, we can reach this summit.
Mountains are never isolated entities. They are connected. They are part of a series of mountains called ranges like the Appalachian Mountains that run through Tennessee. Lions are connected, too, through service, through fellowship, through Lionism. Lions around the world are connecting to each other via the internet, making the world seem a bit smaller.
More than ever before, Lions are embracing technology, using social media to connect to the public. Clubs are experimenting with online meetings. Our International Officers are able to address gatherings of Lions in one country while being in another. There are many ways to use electronic communication, and just as many benefits, like reaching a wider, more diverse audience and saving time and money.
Our founder, Melvin Jones, spent many hours personally reaching out to Lions and to communities where there were no Lions clubs. His letters inspired Lions and motivated them to start new clubs. As we plan our future, technology will play a crucial role. In the spirit of efficiency, expediency, and extension of Lionism, we believe that Melvin Jones would approve.
The Next Mountain and Beyond
Long after our Centennial celebration is over, we will continue to be faced with new mountains to climb. The growing need for service around the world will challenge us as we move forward. And we must move forward. Lions must climb each mountain - people depend upon us.
LCI Forward is the strategic plan developed to expand our service impact, improve current operations, and pursue new paths to unite people in Lions' service. A primary goal of LCI Forward is to improve the lives of at least 200 million people each year - more than triple the number of those currently served.
In addition, we want to become the best-known volunteer brand and organization in the world, while achieving best-in-class service to clubs, districts and our Lions family, and while developing new and innovative ways to engage people in humanitarian endeavors under the Lions' umbrella.
We look forward to a significant announcement during the 2017 Centennial convention in Chicago as we launch a new global humanitarian service area of focus - a unifying service platform that will be embraced by all Lions and be highly recognized by the public. A new mountain that we, the Lions of the world, will be eager to begin to climb.
The View From The Top
New challenges to meet. New goals to achieve. New people to serve. New mountains to climb. Our job is far from concluded. We know we must ascend to the next level of service and mark our path along the way for the next generation of Lions. Incoming President Corlew invites all Lions to join him in this continuing journey as we climb to new heights.