Club Introduction

An introduction to the Falcon Heights – Lauderdale Lions Club

LIONS ORGANIZATION

Lions Clubs International (LCI) was founded in 1917 as an affiliation of Lions Clubs. The mission of LCI is “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.” The motto is “We Serve.” There are now over 46,000 clubs in 207 countries with over 1.3 million members. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), the financial arm of LCI, has awarded over $700M in grants to support humanitarian projects since 1968. FHL Lions Club supports LCIF through the Parade of Green.

The Falcon Heights – Lauderdale Lions Club was chartered on May 14, 1986. Our club is part of Multiple District 5M, which covers Minnesota and parts of Manitoba. More specifically, we belong to District 5M-6, which covers Washington, Ramsey, and Dakota counties.  There are 43 Lions Clubs in District 5M-6 led by the District Governor and staff. All are volunteer positions. The clubs come together at the Midwinter Convention in early January each year.

FHL Lions club officers and board members are elected every April. The President runs the monthly board meetings, runs the annual banquet, represents the club at district meetings, and generally oversees club operations. The 1st VicePresident assists the president and acts in his or her absence. The 2nd Vice-President acts in the absence of the two senior officers and is also responsible for planning the monthly social meetings. The Secretary keeps the board minutes and maintains the club records, except for the financial records. The Club Treasurer maintains the club’s finances including monthly reporting to the board on the state of the club’s finances. The Lions Pen is the club’s monthly electronic newsletter to all members.

FHL LIONS SERVICE PROJECTS

Snelling Avenue Cleanup: The Falcon-Heights Lauderdale Lions perform the Snelling Avenue Cleanup twice a year – in April and in September. We meet at Curtiss Field in Falcon Heights early on a Saturday morning and pick up trash on Snelling avenue between Hoyt and Roselawn. Kids are welcome as this activity provides an excellent opportunity to involve the entire family.

Falcon Heights Ice Cream Social:  This popular event is usually held on the last Thursday evening in July from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Our club has traditionally been asked to put up the tent, usually around 7:00 the evening before, and then serve ice cream sundaes or root beer floats the evening of the event. We divide into two shifts that are responsible for setup, food service or cleanup. In previous years, we have had a table to tell people about the Lions Club and encourage them to consider being part of this great community organization. 

Lauderdale Day in the Park:  Date and time are set by city staff.  Our Lions Club has traditionally been asked to put up a tent and donate funds for live music.  In previous years we have had a table to tell people about the Lions Club and encourage them to consider being part of this great community organization.

Bike Drive:   Every other year we partner with Cycles for Change, a nonprofit community bike shop, to sponsor a bike drive to collect abandoned or unused bicycles. Club volunteers help publicize the event, staff the collection site on the Saturday of the drive, and transport the bicycles to the Cycles for Change shop on University Avenue near Dale where they are refurbished, reused, or responsibly recycled.  

Dictionary/Thesaurus Project:  Every fall our club distributes dictionaries to third graders and thesauruses to fifth graders at the following elementary schools: Brimhall, Parkview, Falcon Heights, and St. Rose. We visit each classroom and personally hand them to each student. The distribution is usually split up between two days. We spend a few minutes in each classroom to explain who we are and why we value their education. Three Lions members are needed each day for this event. This is a great opportunity to see our work in action. The kids are always excited and thankful to receive their dictionary or thesaurus. 

Harvest Pack:   Periodically Lions and their guests volunteer to pack supplies for nutritious meals for food banks and schools in our area. In 2017, we funded and packed over 2,500 meals in one hour at our Community Park meeting location. For many years we provided meals at a church in Saint Paul through Loaves and Fishes but, after that location was no longer available, we began working with Harvest Pack.

Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center Backpack Building:  Some of our club members volunteer to work with other local Lions Club members to pack supplies into backpacks at the Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center in Roseville. 

Public Programs:  Periodically our club sponsors an evening program at Falcon Heights City Hall on a topic of interest to the public. Past programs have included the Bell Museum, Minnesota State Fair and The Good Acre. 

FUNDRAISERS

Christmas Tree Sales:  One of our two major annual fundraisers is Christmas tree sales. These date back to the founding of the club in 1986. Each year we sell 500 to 550 trees from FH Community Park earning about $8000 in the process. Sales shifts run from 3-6 hours. The work schedule is posted on our website. There are a minimum of two members working at any time and one worker is the designated purse keeper. That worker picks up the purse and key before the shift, opens the building, closes up at the end of the shift, and completes the reconciliation sheet.

State Fair Parking:  For many years our club sold parking spaces for Saint Paul Saints games.  When the Saints moved their stadium to downtown Saint Paul, our club started selling parking spaces at an office parking lot south of the fairgrounds during the evenings and weekend days of the State Fair. Club volunteers sign up for shifts at which they flag cars into the lot, collect parking fees, assist drivers with finding open spots and help clean up the lot. 

OTHER EVENTS, DUTIES, and INFORMATION

Monthly Social Meetings:  In addition to business meetings the 2nd Monday of the month, the club holds a monthly social meeting. The social meetings are held on the 4th Monday from September through April or May, depending on when Memorial Day falls. At these we enjoy the fellowship of a meal or snacks. We have some guest speakers who may be from groups looking for support or from groups that we support and would like to know more about. Or we can choose to get together for light business or just for fun.

Annual Banquet: Our annual Club Banquet is held in the fall and takes the place of the social meeting in either September or October. The banquet includes a happy hour, dinner, and a brief program such as an address by our District Governor. The highlights of the evening include the installation of club officers, the presentation of various awards, and the induction of new members. The past few years the banquet has been held at Grumpy’s in Roseville. Non-member spouses and significant others are also invited.

Midwinter Convention – Parade of Green:  Our District Lions Mid-Winter Convention is held in early January and is an opportunity for clubs and the District leadership to meet and share ideas, explore opportunities and recognize successes. Each club is encouraged to donate to designated 501(c)(3) organizations such as LCIF, MN Lions Eye Bank, Lions Vision Foundation, Lions Hearing Foundation, Leader Dogs for the Blind, Camp Friendship Ventures, Camp

Confidence, and Camp Needlepoint. Our club generally has been donating $9,000 to $12,000 each year to these groups. The donation process is termed “parade of green” because each club files up (parades up) to drop their donation (green) at a central location.

Midwinter Convention – Hospitality Room:  Many clubs at the Mid-Winter Convention participate in sponsoring Hospitality Rooms on the Friday night of the convention. The clubs all provide snacks in their rooms for members from the other clubs. Our club usually serves eggrolls and shrimp. Some clubs put on much more elaborate spreads and some clubs like to dress up based on the theme for the year. 

Lion Tamer:  One club member is designated as our “Lion Tamer”.  He or she keeps track of our equipment, which is housed in our ‘warehouse’ (a rented single car garage) in the Midway area. This equipment consists of the Tree Lot supplies, parking items, tents, large lighted sign, and a trailer. Our tents, ranging in size from 10’ x 10’ to 20’ x 40’, are available for rental.

Contribution Process:  Our Board of Directors approves an annual budget that includes about $20,000 or more for contributions.  For example, if $10,000 goes to the Parade of Green the balance will go to groups/individuals as designated by our Board of Directors at the monthly business meetings on the 2nd Monday of the month. All members are encouraged to participate in these meetings.

Scholarships:  Two $1,000.00 scholarships are awarded each year to students who are residents of either Lauderdale or Falcon Heights. Criteria for the scholarships are that the student must be active in the school and/or community. There is no grade point average requirement for these scholarships. The scholarships are awarded at a presentation ceremony held each Spring.

Annual Dues:  Annual membership dues are $10/year. The dues are waived in the initiation year.

CLUB TEAMS 

All members are encouraged to participate on at least one of the following Teams that develop recommendations for club projects, fundraising, budget, outreach and donations. 

Budget Team

  • Review past, current and projected income and expenses and make recommendations based on this analysis Recommend contribution budget for the upcoming year
  • Develop contribution policy
  • Recommend contributions
  • Vet contribution requests upon request by the Board
  • Propose and evaluate future fundraising ideas

Membership Team

  • Develop activities for retaining current members
  • Propose activities for leadership development
  • Coordinate activities for recruiting new members
  • Review all new member applications
  • Propose candidates for board elections
  • Recommend candidates for awards
  • Organize other Lions activities

Program Team

  • Arrange for speakers and refreshments at social meetings
  • Arrange other social outings
  • Coordinate annual Induction Banquet
  • Coordinate Mid-Winter Convention

Public Service Team

  • Organize and provide supplies for Snelling Avenue Cleanup
  • Schedule Harvest Pack events
  • Schedule backpacking sessions at Twin Cities Kids in Need Resource Center
  • Organize Bike Drives for Cycles for Change
  • Collect and ship used eyeglasses and hearing aids

Communications Team

  • Publish Lions Pen
  • Distribute email blasts
  • Maintain club website
  • Arrange publicity for club events
  • Club photographers
  • Social media

Christmas Tree Sales Team

  • Determine and order proper mix and quantities of trees
  • Order lot supplies
  • Order food for lot workers
  • Mail post card coupons
  • Organize signage
  • Arrange for youth athletic team to help unload trees
  • Schedule and coordinate workers
  • Maintain purse
  • Coordinate lot tear down

State Fair Parking Team

  • Negotiate and approve contract with Wellington Management
  • Schedule and coordinate workers
  • Solicit and coordinate volunteer group workers, if needed
  • Organize signage
  • Maintain purse
  • Order tickets
  • Set up and take down lot equipment

Youth Outreach Team

  • Organize Dictionary and Thesaurus distribution project
  • Support RAHS Senior Party
  • Present RAHS scholarships
  • Develop other opportunities for service to youth

Senior Outreach Team

  • Support Roseville Area Senior Program
  • Support senior care homes
  • Support Block Nurse programs
  • Develop other opportunities for service to seniors

Community Relations Team

  • Provide liaison between club and cities of Falcon Heights and Lauderdale
  • FH Ice Cream Social
  • Lauderdale Day-in-the-Park
  • Falcon Heights-Lauderdale Family 5K Fun Run/Walk

Equipment Team

  • Maintain inventory of equipment and supplies
  • Store and maintain club equipment
  • Assist Lion Tamer in setting up and tearing down equipment