Meadow Lake Lions celebrate 50 years

MLA Jeremy Harrison addresses the audience as he congratulates the Meadow Lake Lions on their 50th anniversary during a celebration Saturday evening.

 

by Phil Ambroziak

It’s been a half-century, and the Lions’ roar is just as strong as ever before.

The Meadow Lake Lions Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and although this occasion has provided members with a perfect opportunity to reminisce about their many accomplishments over the years, the club also has its sights set firmly on the future.

“Right now we have 33 members,” explained long-time Lion Bill Hart. “That’s fairly consistent, although we were as high as 60-plus members back in the 1980s. Like all the other service clubs, some have fallen off.”

Hart said he is optimistic the club will continue for another 50 years, stating the key ingredient to its ongoing success is a younger membership.

“I hope we don’t go the way of some service clubs where we dwindle away to nothing, but getting fresh blood interested and involved is sometimes hard to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of grey hair when it comes to most of our members, so hopefully we can attract the younger generation to continue with the commitment we’ve started.”

One member of the “younger generation” to understand the Lions Club’s insatiable desire to give back to the community is current club president Tracey Wolfe.

“It’s a good club to be a part of because of what we do,” Wolfe said. “When it comes to trying to recruit new members, however, we’re not alone. All I can say is how much fun I have at club meetings and how great these people are to work with. It’s really nice to be a part of something that does so much good for the community.”

In recent years, through various fundraisiers and other initiatives, the Lions Club has been able to contribute a considerable amount of money to the Saskatchewan Summer Games, the Meadow Lake Hospital Foundation, the development of an announcer’s booth at Lions Park, as well as various playgrounds throughout the city.

“We also get requests,” Wolfe said. “We’ve provided several scooters and wheelchairs for people, and we’ve helped students take part in exchanges.”

According to Hart, one of the club’s biggest fundraising activities, both today and in years past, has been its regular bingo sessions.

“The club was chartered in 1962,” he said. “It was sponsored by the North Battleford Lions Club at the time and started off with 21 charter members. They started off selling popcorn on street corners until the little machine they had caught fire and put an end to that project. They also ran a concession at the old arena during hockey games. After that, they started doing everything under the sun.”

Hart attended his first Lions meeting in 1969 and officially became a member in 1970. Since his time with the group, he said some of the bigger projects the Lions Club has contributed to have included the development of the current Meadow Lake and District Arena, the curling rink, swimming pool and what residents now known as Lions Park.

“We passed the motion in 1977, but the work didn’t start at the park until 1978,” Hart said. “It eventually led to four ball diamonds, a toboggan hill and a campground. It opened in June of 1983.”

To celebrate the club’s golden anniversary, a dinner and dance was held Oct. 20 at the Catholic Church Hall in Meadow Lake. The event featured a series of guest speakers and visiting Lions dignitaries from across the region, as well as members from the Makwa, Dorintosh and Goodsoil clubs.

Also on hand was Barry Gibson, the only charter member of the Meadow Lake Club who remains among its ranks to this day.

“I just like doing things for the community,” Gibson said. “The club has had some great people involved over the years and I’ve developed a lot of good friendships because of it.”

Hart agreed with the importance of giving back to the community.

“The better we can help make the community, the better things will be for us too – things will be better for everyone.”

Feedback? Text it at 240-4553 or email pride.news@sasktel.net

 

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