by HANNAH BROADBENT
Patty Lanting grew up in New Jersey. She remembers a group of people who were heavily involved in the community, she said they would often give back in great ways. She remembers looking up at her mother and smiling, feeling proud because her mother was one of those people.
She was a Lion.
Lanting now lives in Mayer, and recently saw a Facebook post by Alisa Johnson who is starting a Lions Club in town. She jumped on the chance and started to reaching out to friends. She wants to give back to her community, just like her mother did.
The Lions Club mission statement according to their website is: “ To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.”
“When I was a child, Lions Club had a great presence in my community, I respected the community,” Johnson said.
Last Spring, Johnson met with past district governor for the Lions, Marvin Grimm. She said he has been integral in guiding the 10 members that are currently committed to the Mayer Lions Club. According to the Lions, you need at least 20 members to become an official club.
“Seeing the impact those clubs had on my community by enhancing public facilities, sponsoring community events, and their volunteer efforts by assisting people in need both locally and globally gave me the desire to bring those opportunities to the Mayer area,” Johnson said.
Johnson said so far, the progress has been slower than she expected. They still need more members to achieve those goals.
“I think maybe people don’t understand exactly what the Lions do,” Lanting said. “All the money goes right back into the community – this will help everybody.”
Johnson mentioned the Waconia and Watertown Lions Club’s, saying their membership reaches 100 or more. She said they have an incredibly strong presence in the community and often work with community organizations. Johnson hopes Mayer can do the same.
“Mayer is a growing city with a good foundation, and a Lions Club would just enhance the community as a whole,” Johnson said.
Johnson said a key aspect would be to have a diverse group of members. She said she wants to see a group made up of all ages, and especially various professions like local teachers and business leaders. Johnson said the most important thing is that the group of people should be community minded.
“The immediate goal is to find a group of good positive people,” Johnson said.
Once the group has their 20 or more members, Johnson said they will decide together what type of things they would like to see and contribute to the community. She suggested different things like park shelters and more family friendly events.
Lanting and Johnson would like hold events focusing on veterans as well. Of course all events would be fundraising efforts, but before they can get started on that they still need more people. Johnson said they are holding monthly meetings right now. She is putting announcements on Facebook and flyers around town. She said next she’ll start going door to door.
Johnson said she knows schedules are busy for families, but she wants to bring the community together to lend a helping hand. She’s confident though and says it’s not a matter of if – but when.
“We can assist organizations in the community and raise even more money for them – this can only be a positive,” Lanting said.
The next Lions Club meeting will be held Thursday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Mayer City Hall.