Don't hide your pride

Do you remember what you were like when you were 21? I do, and let me just say I still had some growing up to do.

I was shy, even timid. Yet when I joined the Mesa Host Lions Club in Arizona, even though I was its youngest member, I felt comfortable, even empowered. The club put me right to work, and several members served brilliantly for me as role models and mentors.

Today I am at ease with leadership and in public speaking, as I need to be as your new international president, of course. I owe my growth as a Lion and as a person to other Lions.

I cite this story because it not only introduces me to you but also because it perfectly illustrates my presidential theme. This year I urge Lions to “Strengthen the Pride”. Strengthen the pride through service, membership development, club dynamics and other ways. But also cultivate your own growth as a Lion by taking advantage of the best resource we have: other Lions. Role models and mentors surround each of us. Let’s all grow our clubs and our personal desire to serve by leaning on each other and learning from each other.

”Lion” is a great moniker. Our founders chose it because it symbolised courage, strength, activity, and most of all, fidelity. The lion symbol “stands for loyalty to a friend, loyalty to a principle, loyalty to a duty, loyalty to a trust,” according to a LION Magazine story in 1931. So this year, as we launch our celebration of the centennial in 2017, let’s strengthen our courage, strength, activity and fidelity.

As the great Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Strengthen our pride, indeed, and always keep in mind that our pride, both in terms of our self-esteem as volunteers and our family of Lions, is our strength.

Strengthen the pride through membership development. Strengthen your own club. Strengthen the pride through leadership, creativity, partnerships, rededication. Strengthen the pride through courage and conviction.

Focus on community and humanitarian service, and STRENGTHEN THE PRIDE.

Joe Preston

Lions Clubs International President

Read the International President's theme in full





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