Join in … with the Lions Club of Murray Bridge
Paul Wade and Dawn McLaughlin invite you to help the community while feeling good about yourself – even when standing feet away from a real lion.
This regular feature is free to read. Your support helps Murray Bridge News tell important local stories – subscribe today.
Lions Awareness Day is held each year on March 4 to celebrate the valuable work that Lions Australia clubs do for their local communities and beyond.
To promote this year’s Lions Awareness Day, Lions Club volunteers Mr Wade and Ms McLaughlin visited Kashka the lion at Monarto Safari Park.
Kashka is one of the lions you may encounter in the Lions 360 experience at Monarto, where you can interact with lions up close.
In Lions 360, seeing a lion in captivity is turned 180 degrees – the lions at Monarto have plenty of room to roam, while the people visiting them are in a cage, a metal dome.
Mr Wade and Ms McLaughlin described their thrilling encounter with Kashka.
“It was invigorating,” Ms McLaughlin said.
“I was mightily impressed, especially by the lion’s size, and I was quite chuffed that it was for Lions Day, and I’m a Lion.”
When did you first get involved with the Lions?
Dawn: About six months ago.
Paul: About 10 years ago.
What do you spend your time doing?
Dawn: I’m involved in the Peace Poster, an international artwork competition for around 600,000 children aged between 11 and 13 years. This year’s theme is “dare to dream”. It has a first prize of $5000 and a few $500 prizes. I also help sell cakes and do Bunnings barbecues every six weeks.
Paul: I’m one of the catering organisers for the barbecues, and I’m the cake organiser. We sell a lot of cakes every year. The profits go to local charities, and we donate cakes to local charities around Murray Bridge. I’m the club treasurer as well. Lions are immensely proud of the fact that we don’t take public donations to cover our operating costs – and it’s one of the reasons for our reputation in the community.
What do you get out of your involvement:
Dawn: It broadens the sphere of life.
Paul: I didn’t realise the mental benefits of feeling good about helping people in the community and making new friends and new networks. Giving a bit back to the community, it’s surprising how as a volunteer you feel good and get satisfaction. Giving is a win-win! And you’re never lonely in Lions because we’re always meeting people, helping people and helping each other.
What is your fondest memory of your time with the Lions?
Dawn: I’ve learnt a lot from all the people-contact I get in the Christmas cake sales and the raffles and the barbecues. There’s an enormous variety of people I come across.
Paul: My fondest memory is giving out the first prize at our annual Christmas raffles and the look on the kids’ faces when they get a trolley full of toys to the value of $1000. And, like Dawn, just the thought of donating to and helping very appreciative local organisations.
What is your goal with the Lions?
Dawn: To become more involved with projects as time goes by.
Paul: Just to continue putting in. And I’m the treasurer of a convention in a couple of years for all of South Australia and Northern Territory.
Why should people join the Lions?
Dawn: We’re a great crowd. And it gives you an outlet for doing things.
Paul: To put back into the community. All we want is a couple of hours of people’s TV time a week. We want more people in general, and the club needs more younger people over 18 for new ideas. Otherwise, a club can get stale when it’s just got old people in it. It’s an aging club, and there’s only two people who can lift furniture.
Dawn: With younger, stronger people, we can expand our recycling to include furniture.
More information on the Lions Club of Murray Bridge: Call club president Hylton Moritz on 0408 803 723, email email@example.com or visit murraybridge.sa.lions.org.au.
More information on Lions 360: www.monartosafari.com.au/lions360.
Your support helps Murray Bridge News tell important local stories – subscribe today.