Williams Lake Lioness members Sharon Burnier (left)

Williams Lake Lioness members Sharon Burnier (left)

Lioness Club celebrates 35 years of service

The Williams Lake Lioness Club is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a tea and open house on Sunday, May 3.

The Williams Lake Lioness Club is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a tea and open house on Sunday, May 3.

Since its inception the Lioness Club has raised and donated more than $200,000 to a wide variety of local organizations and recognized charities and volunteers helping hands at many community events.

You will find them out and about in the community several times during the year in their distinctive jade-coloured jackets, T-shirts or aprons helping out at the Terry Fox Run, Seniors’ Fishing Derby, Adopt-a-Block, Children’s Funfest for Literacy, Mothers’ Day Market and assisting the Lions Club members with their concessions at other events such as the recent Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo and the upcoming Mother’s Day pancake breakfast coming up on May 10.

You will also find them raising money through bake sales, flea markets, selling garden products and applying for government gaming grants.

Their  service comes with a great sense of camaraderie.

“As a Lioness I appreciate the opportunity to serve our community as a volunteer for the betterment of all,” says club president Carolyn Ball.

President-elect Midori Kozuki and treasurer Joanne Laird, both charter members, have fond memories of the organization.

“My best friends are in Lioness,” Laird says. “I value so much the friends I have made over the years and helping the community to be a better place is rewarding. What would we do without all of our volunteers, not just the Lioness. Williams Lake is such a great place to live.”

Kozuki adds: “It has certainly helped with my personal growth and helping in the community is very satisfying.”

They say some of the highlights for the club over the years have included having two Williams Lake members, Marlene Davis and Maree Benoit serve terms as district presidents.

Another fun event was having Midori’s husband, Ed, transport about eight of their members to a conference in Nanaimo where they did a musical comedy skit Standing on the Corner Watching all the Lions Go By based on the song by a similar name.

“We didn’t win but we sure had a lot of fun,” Laird says.

Kozuki said the members also had an enjoyable time attending a district meeting at Camp Winfield for children which is a Lions Club project to which the lakecity Lioness Club contributes $1,000 a year toward the cost of a child to attend the camp.

The lakecity Lioness Club also donates annually to the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre which provides camp-style education for Grade 6 students.

“We’ve been contributing to that project for a while now and get a lot of cute letters of thanks from the students,” Kozuki says.

A highlight of this past year was receiving the Spirit Award from the Lioness District president. The award is given in recognition of the enthusiasm and spirit of a club within the district.

The Lioness District includes six clubs ranging from Moses Lake Washington to Williams Lake.

The Lioness Club actually got its start in 1967 when some of the wives of Lions Club members wanted to get to know each other better. Between 1967 and March of 1980 when the Williams Lake Lioness Club received its official charter with 16 members, Laird says they were known as the Lionettes.

Sponsored by the Williams Lake Lions, the club joined thousands of Lioness Clubs around the world dedicate to improving their communities.

As Lioness Charter President Maree Benoit said: “Membership is open to all women who would like to enjoy the friendship of some of the finest women in our community.

“Lioness provides an opportunity to do service which you and I cannot do as individuals. You won’t be asked for more of your time than you can give. Your family and job come first.”

Members meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Seniors’ Activity Centre. Women who would like to join the club can call membership chair Mary Lewis at 250-398-5045.

The executive includes president Carolyn Ball; vice-president Judy Garlinge; secretary Sharon Burnier; treasurer Joanne Laird, and president-elect Midori Kozuki who will assume the position at the end of June.

Everyone is invited to the Lioness Club’s 35th anniversary tea and open house at the Seniors’ Activity Centre on Sunday, May 3 starting at 2 p.m.