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Coloring in the lines

January 14, 2014 - Dawn Bliss
Coloring in the lines has never been a strong suit of mine. Still, I greatly respect the people who lay those lines down and make the coloring activity possible. I admire those who join in groups and pursue causes with an enthusiastic heart, even though group events and activities often leave me feeling out of step and a page behind. Fort Dodge and Webster County are lucky to have many active volunteer and civic groups tackling issues and organizing community events. I have experienced this personally. The Fort Dodge Noon Rotary Club sent me on a goodwill trip to Bavaria, Germany, several years ago with the purpose of improving international relations and cultural understanding. It was an experience I have never forgotten and the lessons I learned during that tour served me well when I went into the Army and was tasked to study the differing cultures of both Afghanistan and Iraq. I again recently benefited from the efforts of a nonprofit civic group when I purchased giant, oversized coloring books from the Badger Lions Club. These coloring books helped both me and the community. Personally, their pages offered a chance to spend some time with my friends’ children who I haven’t connected with in many years due to being away. For the community, the proceeds generated by the books’ sale were donated to the Salvation Army. The coloring books are one of many ways the Badger Lions contribute. They have also supported the Leader Dog for the Blind program at the minimum security prison in Rockwell City, as well organizing drives to fill the Lord’s Cupboard food bank, and annually sponsoring Easter egg hunts, safe Halloween parties, and fun pancake dinners. “A lot of the time people don’t realize we do more than support the main cause the national organization champions,” said Jim Dexter of Fort Dodge. “We also do a lot of local community projects.” The International Lions Service Club Organization is the world’s largest service group with more than 1.35 million members and 46,000 clubs. They focus on four primary efforts: restoring sight, providing disaster relief, supporting youth and addressing humanitarian needs such as health and disabilities. The Lions are most known for their efforts in eyesight assistance, but as Dexter pointed out, the local groups try to take an active role in addressing local needs regardless if they are sight related or not. It’s about improving the communities in which the members live and work. This purpose has grown a little more difficult to do in the last few years, said Roger Horton, a long-time member of the Badger Lions. “We usually have to depend on forced family member volunteerism to man the posts during events,” he said. “The younger generation, they have family and are working and just don’t seem to have the time to spare to be involved. They give money, just not time.” The club, which was chartered in 1973, nearly had to cease its efforts in 2013 due to a lack of members; however, the four remaining Lions rallied and each brought in a new body dedicated to doing good works. The Badger Lions are now up to eight members and hoping the momentum continues. “We doubled our membership,” said Lori Gascho, of Badger. “We made Lions history and were featured in the state magazine. We’re proud we could do it, but we need to continue to add to the roster.” Funny thing about momentum, though. Once it gets rolling, it just might carry you outside the lines, but then maybe spreading a bit of color and creativity beyond the traditional boundaries will attract attention and new involvement.



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