by: Lion Nicole Fruit
The 93rd Lions Club International Convention was in Sydney, Australia this year. Ron and I had the privilege of going. This was Ron’s fifth International Convention and his fifth time in Australia. His first convention was when he was twelve in Honolulu, Hawaii. He went with his grandparents that time.
For me, our trip was a whole new adventure. With the Kirkland 4th of July festivities usually falling during the convention, I never had the opportunity to go, so this time we made the time. The flight to Sydney was surprisingly long, but I was lucky enough to sit with a nice lady whose husband was also going to be district governor in New Jersey. They were so enjoyable. By the end of the three hour delay in Brisbane, I was ready to see Sydney. Nineteen hours is too long to be trapped on an airplane.
Finding the Star City Hotel beautiful and the bed extremely comfortable, I really wanted to sleep, but instead our council assembled to go to Steyne’s Restaurant, which I hear makes a killer kangaroo steak. By 9pm Australian time, I was beat. Because our time was limited due to work schedule, the convention, and district governor elect school, Ron and I stayed in Sydney. We took a boat tour with our council and saw the Sydney Harbor. We also went on a tour to see the Sydney Opera House and listened to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra practice. Many of the things we did, we did with the other members of our council. By the end of the trip, we all really got to know each other better and became good friends.
The most memorable moments for me in Sydney were actually of the convention and spouse training during DGE School. The speakers were wonderful and they made me feel excited to be a Lion. During governor elect school, the spouses had their own sessions to go to. PIP Bill Biggs was inspirational when he highlighted the nine attributes someone needs to have to be successful. He even stressed that our #1 job was to build stronger and more Lions Clubs.
On the second day of spouse training, Lion Judy Scruggs and the representative from Minnesota (sorry, I don’t recall his name) hit home when they encouraged us as spouses to become Lions and to find our own service project to promote during our many visits to the clubs in our district.
Well, I am a Lion, so that leaves me to create or support a service project to speak about at the club visits. I knew before the convention from Ron and his family that the spouses are encouraged to speak at the club meetings, so I had a project in mind. However, I was leery about whether this new project would be acceptable. Learning more about all the service projects all over the world, I learned that I had to at least try.
All throughout DGE School and the convention, President Sid Scruggs III talked about the importance of service. His theme, “A Beacon of Hope,” encouraged me to become that light in the light house to combat the darkness from someone else’s life.
Another person who was truly awesome to hear speak at the convention was Wangari Maathai from Kenya who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and who also received the Lions 2010 Humanitarian award. Her endeavors to save the rainforest and teach her people the importance of democracy and basic human rights brought tears of awe to my eyes. She really is a remarkable woman. I loved the parable of the hummingbird that she ended with. The parable encouraged everyone to do the best that they can even if the task is impossible.
As a Lion, I plan to do the best I can by organizing a new service project in our district. I may be like the little hummingbird trying to put out the forest fire with the water from my beak, but to me it is better than doing nothing at all.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller