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Woodbury Lions Club recognized for growth

For the first time in a long time, the Woodbury Lions Club has members of all ages and both genders.

It used to be mainly seniors, said member Don Place, until the group began recruiting younger, dedicated members who plan to be involved for years to come.

The efforts got the group recognized recently by District 5M-6, which includes Washington, Ramsey and Dakota counties.

"For many, many years, up to the mid-80s, it was a male only organization," said Dave Dominick, district 5M-6 governor. "We've been trying since then to expand invitation to women to join the Lions."

The Lions Club is the largest international service organization that gives back to many different communities worldwide.

But the Woodbury Club is mainly focused on local projects and helping those in need.

"The Woodbury club is very strong -- it's one of our larger, stronger clubs in the district," Dominick said. "They just do a lot of great things for Woodbury."

The primary focus is to provide funds for youth programs, including a partnership with the YMCA, as well as scholarships for area students.

The group also puts a lot of its funds into sight and hearing service projects and donations to the local food shelf.

"We entertain requests for needs from local residents that aren't funded from other sources," Place said.

Once in a while, though, the group would take on larger projects outside sight and hearing assistance.

The band shell at Ojibway Park, for example, was a Woodbury Lions undertaking.

Additionally, the first-ever Woodbury ambulance was purchased with Lions funds, Place said.

District 5M-6 consists of a total of 1,484 members, of those 47 were new over the past year.

Locally, the Woodbury club has recruited 11 new members this year with overall membership at 61.

"In the United States, many clubs are showing a decline in membership," Dominick said, adding, "Woodbury has been showing growth all year."

The group has been visible at large public events like the Woodbury Community Expo and has done plenty of advertising to recruit more members, Place said.

"It's amazing how many people didn't realize who the Lions were," Place said.

The regional organization has three opportunities during the year where it recognizes various clubs. The first one is in the fall, where a dozen clubs come together and some are recognized.

The midwinter convention provides another opportunity, and the recent spring zone meeting is the third one.

Dominick said he recognizes clubs with the most growth and encourages them to continue recruiting a diverse membership.

Since many senior members resigned or passed away, it was important for the Woodbury Lions Club to recruit younger men and women who engage citizens in projects that have a positive impact.

"We want to make sure that those younger clubs, clubs in general, could continue to survive and grow," Dominick said.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.