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Colchester Lions History

1. Colchester Lions Club

a. Started in 1951

b. In 2001 we celebrated our 50th year in Colchester

c. We have evolved over the years

d. We are always looking for something that will work today.

e. Remembering that our motto is ‘We Serve’.

2. International Club

a. Founded in Chicago, Il in 1917

b. First convention had 23 clubs represented

c. Has grown to 1,400,000 members

d. Clubs in over 175 countries

e. 40,000 clubs

f. Lions have for most of their existence sponsored blind activities

g. Helen Keller got us started

3. Good training ground

a. Allow members to go through the officer and board positions

b. Try to give them a sense of accomplishment and self worth in a less threatening way.

4. Early years

a. We operated like a usual service club

b. Early accomplishments and activities

i. crossing lights at US 136 and Coal St

ii. city street signs assign house numbers to each house in town

iii. helped Dewy Kipling who was blind

iv. pancakes and sausage meals for fund raiser

v. light bulb sales

vi. meet in restaurants for meetings and always had a ladies night each month

vii. for a time had noon meetings

viii. Sponsored a boy to attend (junior in high school) Boys State

ix. Bought glasses for needy school children, We always have had a close relation with the school when there has been a sight-related need.

x. Create the current house numbering system and sold house numbers. Later turned the system over to the city.

5. Colchester Lions changed direction in about 1971 until early 1980’s

a. We inherited the sponsorship of Labor Day

b. We inherited a 14 acre bean field that the Boosters owned that became known as Friendway Park

c. We become park planners and builders

i. Eliminated the swamp in the southwest corner

ii. move ball park to south end of park

iii. built Victor Williams Shelter House

iv. held mud slings, ATV races, and tractor pulls, horse shows

v. moved Labor Day to the Park

d. Then came the opportunity to really improve the park with the Fellheimer Grant that Dr Roth was able to obtain for the club

i. $50,000 grant for three years

ii. Formed a not for profit park board

iii. built tennis courts

iv. community building

v. maintenance building

vi. parking lots, lighting, and sidewalks

vii. sewer lines into both buildings

viii. named park Friendway

e. In 1976 we held the county Bicentennial Celebration

i. Very large celebration

ii. Busses to Argyle to the first Gas Engine Show

iii. very large tent Lynn Anderson flew in from Nashville

iv. We went into debt from expenses of the celebration

f. Maintaining a Park and eliminating the debt

i. We started bingo – we were out of debt in less than a year

ii. We used the money to maintain the park

iii. We continued to hold labor day in Friendway

g. Changed direction in early 80’s

i. Sold Friendway to City of Colchester for $1.

ii. Move Labor Day to City Park in 1984

iii. Purchased the Simpson Powelson Lumber Yard for a meeting place and to hold all of our equipment we had accumulated at Friendway

6. What have we done since 1984?

a. Labor Day has gone back to the tents in the city park

b. Argyle Gas Engine Show has grown and so have we

c. We have expanded to a 5 day celebration

d. Started the Labor Day booklet in 1996. It has helped our finances and advertising. More community involvement. Organizations are involved earning money towards their projects. All town flea markets

e. In 1998 we invited women to be a part of our club. Our membership has increased and club vitality has also improved. The women have contributed many good ideas. They have held several offices including president, secretary, treasurer and board member.

7. What are we doing now besides Labor Day?

a. Diabetes Day

b. Host Vision and hearing mobiles

c. Purchase Eye glasses for children and adults in need

d. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS

e. Pancake and sausage and biscuits and gravy

f. Candy Day

g. Furnish a place for people to have functions

h. Regional township road commissioners meals and tent

i. Expanded our kitchen and storage area. Continue to maintain our buildings and equipment.

k. Sponsored the community development meeting