Opinion: Lionizing Seal Beach

Scott Newton

Seventy-three years ago this month, local businessmen organized one of the first men’s service organizations in Seal Beach dedicated to helping the less fortunate and improving the community.

Today, the Seal Beach Lions Club is made up of more than 300 men, women and teens from all walks of life whose goals and objectives are essentially the same as our founders.

In 2011, Lions were involved in nearly every community event that occurred in our town. Lions worked on community service projects benefiting multiple facets of our community including Pony Baseball, Girl Scouts, McGaugh School, Run Seal Beach, SBPD’s CERT Program, the Animal Care Center, Save-our-Beach and more.

Lions again managed the Christmas Parade, co-host the Breakfast with Santa, became designated drivers on St. Patrick’s Day, conducted a student speakers contest, provided eye examinations and hearing tests, hosted a beep ball exhibition for the visually impaired and conducted our first ever Roar for Autism event. In addition, Lions expended hundreds of hours refurbishing park benches, removing graffiti and planting trees.

Lions perform this work thanks to the generous support of the community at our two major fundraisers: The Fish Fry and the Pancake Breakfast. Proceeds help fund community service projects and allow the Lions to donate funds to numerous community groups and charitable organizations. Outside of our local community, Seal Beach Lions cook for the Ronald McDonald House, provide eyeglasses for the needy, support local veterans’ programs, cook for the homeless, and provide needed help throughout the world through our Lions International Foundation.

Lions do all of this and more because our members really do care about their community. Our motto “We Serve” is embodied in nearly everything the Lions do. During this past year Lions have been more “hands on” in the community with our bench refurbishment and Lions against graffiti programs.

Nearly every weekend Lions can be found combing the city cleaning up graffiti or on our backs staining one of the many park benches in Eisenhower Park. People often ask who pays us for our efforts and our response is always the same: Lions are paid through the smiles and “thank yous” of the citizens of this great community.

Volunteerism is declining nationwide but certainly not here in Seal Beach. The Seal Beach Lions Club has grown significantly over the past few years and is now the second largest Lions Club in California. Many feel that this growth is tied directly to our town’s strong sense of community and a desire for citizens to be involved through more than just their checkbook. The Lions club offers opportunities to serve that are tangible and meaningful for people of all ages. More recently, we have seen a significant growth in the number of younger people who are joining to serve. People are seeing that in Seal Beach, community service through the Lions organization can also be a lot of fun.

The Seal Beach Lions Club looks forward to serving the community in 2012. Lions will continue to seek out new opportunities to serve our community and to help the less fortunate.

We are the Lions … and “We Serve!”

Scott Newton is the Seal Beach Lions Club vice president. He may be reached at scottnewton2@hotmail.com.