LEOS:  After Saturday’s opening formalities we listened to the 5 Leo of the Year finalists and were thrilled with the quality of young people involved with Lions, especially last years’ winner Matthew who is an exceptional young man.

YOTY: A boost for women in Lions came when Qlder Ruth Spence won, and then on Monday when Hannah from Busselton WA won the YOTY.
During the lunch break we attended the YOTY forum run by Chairman Brian Williams which was interesting in that a lot of clubs are holding their club judging in July just after school holidays so that the students have time to prepare their speeches. Given the trouble we had getting teachers and students involved this year I would recommend that the club looks at that immediately. Then zone and district judging can take place later in October leaving only regional and state judging for February/March. Quite a few areas have their judging at state convention. Lions Junior Public speaking competition was accepted as a category B project so it is hoped that it will be up and running nationally this year.

Sunday’s remembrance ceremony was very moving especially considering we found a friend from Clifton Lions had passed away very recently.

After which Lauren O’Keefe from Missing Persons Advocacy Network spoke on the heartbreak being helped when a family member goes missing. More than 100 Aust are reported missing every day and while most are found quickly, many remain missing long term. Research shows at least 12 people are directly impacted when someone goes missing – emotionally, psychologically, financially – almost half a million people every year. MPAN was established in 2013 after Lauren’s brother Dan went missing in 2011. His disappearance prompted the biggest campaign of its kind. Over 18 months the search for Dan gained significant traditional media attention and a captive social media following of over 70,000. Other families in similar situations began to make contact, desperate for advice and support which led Lauren to found MPAN.
When someone goes missing time is of utmost importance. This was the motivation behind their foundation project  ”Missing Persons Guide” a world first practical guide of what to do when someone goes missing. Another focus of MPAN is to establish corporate partnerships in industries such as print media, communications, transportation, hospitality and retail. These partnerships not only help to promote the faces and stories of missing, which increases the likelihood that they may be found but it also lessens the financial impact of those actively searching. MPAN harnesses the people power exemplified by “Dan come home” to humanise missing loved ones and provide much needed support to those left behind. Lauren works on a budget of $80,000 per year. Q4 opened up with a donation of $500 which then had other regions donating too, and ALF will match all donations.

Before lunch we heard from Dr Ngaire Elwood who gave a very informative address on Lions Cord Blood and the great progress they are making in medical research There are now 3 Cord Blood Banks in Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane with 13,383 cord blood units stored since inception in 1996. 558 units have been released and we have access to over 650,000 units around the world.  The stem cells contained in cord blood are being used in the treatment of Leukemia and other blood disorders in children where it is 90% successful. At present a child with Leukemia can be diagnosed with Geneome research and receive the correct treatment immediately, has a quicker recovery and is out of hospital within a year, and therefore does not have to undergo numerous bouts of chemotheraphy etc. Stem cells are also widely used in research into diseases like cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease surgery trials on babies, and mothers who have diabetes at the time of baby’s birth. At present they have developed Decoran to aid the repair of spinal cord injuries. Over the last 3 years researchers have made significant progress towards establishing a new type of stem cell from cord blood. These cells are called induced pluriopotent stem cells and are able to give rise to any cell in the body.  This is a long term project with the ultimate aim to be able to provide an accredited and safe bank of stem cells for new types of cellular therapies such as retinal repair, muscle and nerve repair. A joint program with researchers at Florey Institute are undertaking experiments to show that the stem cell line can produce nerve cells which may be used for a clinical trial for treatment of Parkinsons disease.

PID Tony Benbow presented the ALF report where a total of 186 grants have been made totalling $2.6M for the past year.

Lions Hearing Dogs take 9 months and $35,000 to train to a stage where they can distinguish 10 different sounds and react in 10 different ways 100% of time. 1 in 6 Aussies have hearing loss and have an 18 month – 2 year wait for a dog. They are currently releasing 35 dogs per year and have supplied 600 dogs in last 39 years. Their aim to supply 1 dog a week, will necessitate doubling their complex at a cost of $11M which they hope to raise through commercial donations and not through Lions Clubs.

LCI Stamp Club last year collected 200Kg stamps – can you imagine how many stamps that must have been. Their proceeds of $48,000  was donated to Childrens Mobility Foundation. I have already been given a bag full of stamps so if you ever get a stamp on envelope please bring it along to a meeting and we will pass them on to Ross Paine who lives in Peregian.

Monday started with awards going to W2 (YOTY Region) for the greatest percentage increase in cake & mint sales (5,000kg increase for cakes)
Q3 sold over 48 tonne cakes. The Centenary cake tin sales was won by Gympie. We had lunch on Monday with John & Wendy Robson from Keperra who say hello to John & Kris Heron.

Another project under way in Victoria is 123Read2me where they aim to give 2 books a month to each of the 739,000 children living in poverty in Aust. They receive donations to buy books but also encourage kids to donate books that they have finished reading. Books are set up in Childcare centres, Kindys, Primary schools, shops and in shopping centres. Can we collect, sort or deliver books or fundraise for them. Story dogs in another outlet for children to read a book to a dog who won’t judge them or embarrass them.

Also happening in Vic  is Operation Safe Plate, a program introduced by Victorian Police to deter thieves from stealing your number plates. They do this by removing your number plate screws and replacing them with oneway security screws. So far Glenroy Lions have replaced the screws on 2000 cars.

The Lions Crimewatch committee also have posters to put up in Childcare Centres, Kindy’s, Primary Schools and Clubs reminding people “Not to leave Kids in Cars” and “Keep your driveway safe”. Just another way of keeping the Lions logo in front of people.

A new law from Royal Commission on Child Safety says that each club must have a Child Safety Officer and a club Counsellor for YOTY & Leos. Everyone who has any dealings with children MUST have a blue card and we have to fill out a Child Safe Risk Assessment form 1.

As for what the future of Lions will look like – we have to encourage Leos, YOTY and Junior Youth to become involved and keep them active while they are 30’s and 40’s.   35% of Lions are women (25,048) so we also have to keep them interested and bringing friends. Q4 has 42% and Q3 - 43% women members. Here at Fraser Lions we have 24% women.

Finally - There is a bag with some information from Convention if anyone is interested in looking at it.
Geelong National Convention 2019  ---- by Robin Calder