Breslau Lions raising funds for community splash pad
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Breslau Lions raising funds for community splash pad

Breslau Lions Erin Smith, Dennis Lougheed, Cheryl Sage and Craig Mason are among the 25 members that the new club has welcomed in its first year.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Breslau Lions Erin Smith, Dennis Lougheed, Cheryl Sage and Craig Mason are among the 25 members that the new club has welcomed in its first year. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
An ambitious fundraising effort, which will get a boost at an upcoming fish fry even October 5, shows just how far the Breslau Lions Club has come in just over a year.

Now 25 members strong, the Lions Club offers many reasons to join, says Dennis Lougheed, membership chair for the group.

“We’re the largest service organization in the world. We’re the youngest service organization in the world. We’re the first service club in the world to go co-ed. We’re the only service club in the world that has an advisory role in the United Nations. We’re the only service club allowed to operate in Mainland China…”

Since its founding in 1917, Lions Clubs International has indeed amassed more than 45,000 clubs in some 205 countries (even more, noted Lougheed, than participate in the UN). But for club member Erin Smith, the new Breslau branch offers some more practical rewards.

“If you want to volunteer, you do what you can, when you can,” said Smith. “Nobody’s judging you for the amount of volunteering you do or how involved you get – it’s all what you want to do. As the mom of two small kids, that was appealing.”

The Breslau Lions have expanded greatly since its first embryonic meeting in March 2012, when five people convened at the Breslau Community Centre as a subcommittee of the St. Jacobs Lions branch. When the group hit 20 members on June 21, 2013, it qualified to become an official standalone branch. The October 5 fundraiser will give the group a chance to highlight one of their pet causes for the community.

The Lions are currently looking to raise $300,000 for a Breslau splash pad, partly funded by the community with an eye towards supplementing fundraising with grants.

“The idea basically came from hearing different people in the community talking about wanting something else,” said club president Craig Mason. “People were mentioning a splash pad, and I proposed it for the club, and everyone was unanimous and excited about it.”

The splash pad idea was key to rallying enthusiasm for the club itself, added Lougheed. “The moment that we announced that, suddenly there was this smattering of interest. ‘Oh, okay, splash pad, great idea. Lions are doing it? Okay, I can help there.’”

Indeed, the club’s other signature program, its dance for kids in Grades 5-8 (scheduled to return on September 20), is also a fundraising opportunity. “When we start to make it to the point where we made a little money off the program, and the money grows, that money comes from kids. So let’s take that money and put it back into something for kids,” said Lougheed.

The splash pad, the fish fry, and the dances are part of the club’s family-oriented mandate, Lougheed added. Families are welcomed to get involved with the club.

“We’d like to see mom and dad out. If you’ve got kids, bring them to the meeting – you don’t have to hire a babysitter. You’ve got pre-teens? Bring them to the Lions. As the numbers have grown, we’ll be at the point where these kids who are 9 or 10 or 12 start to find things that they would like to organize.”

The Breslau Lions’ fish fry will take place on October 5 at 5 p.m. at the Breslau Community Centre, 100 Andover Dr. More information on the Lions can be found at www.breslaulions.org.

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