Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Living Heritage

Our Living Heritage
I have just returned from the Lions Legends Tribute, hosted by District 2-S2’s Past District Governor’s Association, and I am so thankful to have been a participant in this amazing ceremony. In an unprecedented act of patronage, three of our Camp Past Presidents (PDG Eddie Munger: 1967-1969, PDG Jimmy McPherson 1973-1975, and PDG Fred Hamilton: 1979-1981) were honored for their leadership and service to others before a crowd of ~200 Lions, family members and friends.
The event was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Houston and included multi-media (courtesy Terry Landers), a reception, lunch and myriad speakers, of which I was one. Master of Ceremonies for this auspicious occasion was IPD Don Buckalew, who did a fantastic job as always. Also on hand to commemorate the occasion, was the Nash 3, injecting their flare for music and a celebration of patriotism and heritage like only they can do.
One of the highest callings we have as people is to esteem and honor our seniors – especially our senior, seniors.  These living treasures possess a wealth of experience, knowledge, and wisdom…and when you look into their eyes, you are immediately confronted with the contrast of those who have learned first-hand what really matters in life.
To honor those who have lived their life with such dignity and who have paved the way for us to flourish is cousin to the act of expressing thankfulness. We must practice the discipline of thankfulness early and often if we are to live on the high plain for which we have been called.
My congratulations and heart-felt thanks go out to PDG, Dr. Irv Wishnow, PDG Ron Landers and the PDG Association of District 2-S2 for their tireless efforts in organizing this land-mark event.
I for one, found this to be a defining moment and a most welcome reminder of the things that really matter in life. I hope that the event is something that will not only be repeated in District 2-S2, but will become contagious and repeated as a matter of practice in the other 15 districts and beyond.

Best regards,

Stephen S. Mabry, CFRE, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Texas Lions Camp, Inc.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Champions for the Cause

Champions for the Cause

Texas Lions Camp has surpassed a number of milestones in her distinguished history, most notably of which is perhaps her 60 Years of Service to 60,000 children.  Our founders could not have known all that they were setting in motion so many years ago, but there is no doubt that we all have much to be thankful for as we reflect upon all that has occurred to bring us to where we are today.

In the 1940s, a polio epidemic was devastating America, and the hardest hit were the very young. As Lions do, they began questioning what it was that they should do in response to the crisis that was attacking without mercy and leaving shattered lives in its wake.

An idea sprang up in the minds of several Lions, who decided that a Camp should be built where children afflicted with the aftermath of this terrible disease could attend and begin work on their self-esteem.

There were numerous individuals who deserve credit for their work and courage displayed early on for an idea that seemed impossible and doomed for failure. And indeed, it was not possible, and on paper, probably shouldn’t even be possible now.

In the midst of all that needed to be done, one man in particular stepped forward to Champion this impossible cause. The idea was not an easy sale, but in the end, all Districts endorsed the concept of a Camp for handicapped children, and the Charter of the Texas Lions Camp was signed by seven (7) founding presidents. They were:

  1. W.R. Rutherford of Dumas, Texas
  2. Schley Riley of Big Spring, Texas
  3. Jack Wiech of Brownsville, Texas
  4. Pat Jackson of Nacogdoches, Texas
  5. Reagan Smith of Conroe, Texas
  6. Virgil Minear of Halletville, Texas
  7. J.I. Moore of Kerrville, Texas

Every great movement has a Champion. And indeed, with an operation the size of Texas Lions Camp, it takes Champions. However, the nature of our Organization requires that Champions be continually replenished. While we celebrate our heritage, and those who brought us to where we are today, it is not enough to rely on their courage and drive to carry us into the future.

We must be ever mindful that the future mission will be in the care of those who will carry the torch where we cannot. Some of these Champions are here now, and are actively working, others have yet to realize their full potential to make a difference, and still others have yet to join our ranks…but will some day.

As we reflect upon the past, and take up position for the future, let each of us consider what we have to offer, and offer it. Let us invite others to join in this noble endeavor called Texas Lions Camp. This goes beyond the issue of asking for money, rather it deals with the heart of the matter, which is an invitation to become actively involved, sharing the God given talents and experiences that each of us can impart. May we be ever more determined, and be… CHAMPIONS FOR THE CAUSE.

Best regards,

Stephen S. Mabry, CFRE, CAE
Texas Lions Camp, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our Case for Support


Texas Lions Camp is blessed with many tremendous resources, but among her greatest treasures, are the people that are involved. Few organizations have both the quantity and quality of people involved that TLC enjoys, and this is why we have been able to accomplish what would otherwise have been impossible.

Together, we have been speaking a simple message for over 60 years now…a message that has been spoken and heard by over 60,000 children…a simple message that “YOU CAN” and we are here to help you do it. They have heard it…and many now speak it in their own voice…I CAN!

Our effort to increase the Endowment Fund by $25,000,000 is among the most important and ambitious tasks we have ever undertaken. Not since our founding, has such a monumental task been suggested. As we embark upon this CAMPaign to build the Endowment Fund, I am reminded that we did not arrive where we are as a result of one person’s initiative, but a collective response to a challenge. It is now that same collective response--that is born of each member doing their share--that suggests that our goal can be achieved. Together we can do this…we must do this.

Our Case for Support is simply this…Children should not have to face their challenges in life alone. Our very act of coming together is in fact a declaration to them that they are not alone, and that as a result they can dare to explore their potential, in an environment that is determined to see them succeed.

The magic of Camp is that children often speak our message that “YOU CAN” to each other long before they learn to speak it to themselves. You see this in action at the ropes course when the only reason a child decides to attempt a climb is because a bunkmate says, “come on…you can do it!” or at the horse barn, when a horse seems too scary to climb on top of, until other campers are seen doing it. Think a child would enthusiastically run down in front of 500 people to accept an award if the crowd was stone silent instead of yelling YOU CAN? Think again…they believe it because we believe it.

Thank you for joining this noble effort and being willing to give of your time and talents. It is together and by those that we will invite to join us that we will succeed, and thus pave the way for the success of children who have even yet to be born. Together, we are making TODAY’S PROMISE, FOR TOMORROW’S CHILDREN.

All my best…
Stephen S. Mabry, CFRE, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Texas Lions Camp, Inc.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“Today’s promise for Tomorrow’s Children” - Endowment CAMPaign

“Today’s promise for Tomorrow’s Children”
  Endowment CAMPaign

Imagine what it is like for a child who uses a wheelchair to participate in activities most people would consider to be out of their reach…to be included in activities such as riding horses, swimming, repelling, field sports and overnight  camping just to name a few.  What an incredible transformation is made when children who are normally told “You Can’t” experience firsthand in their own voice, the words, “I Can!”  There are few replacements for building self-esteem than this kind of firsthand experience…and it happens every day at Texas Lions Camp because people like you choose to get involved.

In a visionary move to underwrite these experiences for future generations of children, Texas Lions Camp recently opened an Endowment CAMPaign, now known as “Today’s Promise for Tomorrow’s Children.”  The CAMPaign is designed so that everyone, no matter their income level, can participate in our quest to provide Today…for Tomorrow’s children. 

Beginning in the Spring of 2011, the next phase of the CAMPaign will focus on the invitation to Texas Lions Clubs. TLC will be visiting and personally inviting Texas Lions through their local Lions Club to join in this most important effort of providing for children’s future by making a pledge to the Camp’s Endowment Fund.

It is estimated that there are more than 250,000 children in the State of Texas that have some kind of disability – in addition to this tremendous need, many of the children who will need our services in the future have yet to even be born.  In the face of such tremendous need, now more than ever before, it is vital that TLC position itself to meet the present and future needs of the many children who are depending upon us… today as well as tomorrow.

Focus on Facts
TLC has $4,000,000 dollars in its Endowment Fund and current operational activities equating to $2,300,000 per annum.  In order to ensure future generations of children are provided for, our CAMPaign has been organized to increase the Endowment fund by $25,000,000.  Phase 1 of the CAMPaign has a target goal of $10,000,000 and is well underway. In fact, since beginning our solicitations in January of this year, we have already achieved pledges and cash gifts in excess of $1,340,000, including, our Board of Directors, individuals, foundations and staff of the Texas Lions Camp. 

Gifts made to the Endowment CAMPaign fund will be held in perpetuity and professionally managed so that the earnings and dividends generated from this corpus may be used to provide life changing experiences to more than 1,500 children who have special medical conditions each year. Those gifts made to the Capital Projects of the Endowment CAMPaign will go to improve areas of need on campus and programs for summers to come.

The Invitation
Texas Lions Camp representative will be visiting your Club soon.  Join us and become one that ensures children are afforded the invaluable experiences that Texas Lions Camp can give designed to teach them important life lessons that every child should experience.  There are many ways that you can give to Texas Lions Camp’s “Today’s Promise for Tomorrow’s Children” Endowment CAMPaign, from one-time cash donations to multi-year pledges of cash or other assets.  Your Promise Today is truly an investment into the lives of Children Tomorrow.

For more information on ways to give, pledge forms or for answers to your questions contact Texas Lions Camp at (830)896-8500 and ask for Trish Wilson, Development Director or me. We look forward to our partnership of service together!

Sincerely yours,
Stephen S. Mabry, CFRE, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Texas Lions Camp, Inc.