During a professional stay in Boston (USA) in August this summer, I was invited and took the opportunity to attend a local Lions Club meeting in Somerville. This afforded me the chance to compare their situation with our experience in Luxembourg.
Their welcoming manner to guests reflected a similar openness found in Luxembourg. However the lead-in to the evening highlighted some marked differences. The club flag was mounted in the dining room provided by the local restaurant for regular meetings. Both the club song and the national anthem, of course, were sung and the president of the club spoke a prayer before dinner began.
Our exchange of ideas focussed on club structures and activities as well as fund-raising ideas. These aspects revealed we are in the same boat. As in our club, decreasing membership numbers and attracting new members are an on-going challenge. However, the group present of mostly long-serving members was very committed. Fund-raising ideas that attract public support are also a regular point for reflection. Their idea to organise a kind of special event each month is rather similar to our approach.
Of course, it was obvious we could not avoid exchanging views on current US and EU policies and politics.
This will remain a memorable evening for me and I hope to experience more such contacts when travelling.
Though I was mistakenly represented as President of Lions Luxembourg, it remained an honour to be mentioned in the local newspaper.