Old organization starts new group in Buffalo Grove
Harry Goldberg (right), vice president of the Lions Club of Buffalo Grove, holds the club's donation box Dec. 18 with the Rev. James Preston at Kingswood United Methodist Church in Buffalo Grove. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
TIME: 7-9 p.m.
DATE: Jan. 11
PLACE: Baytree National Bank & Trust, 1691 Weiland Road.
FOCUS: Hearing and vision aid, as well as keeping area food pantries stocked
Updated: December 21, 2012 11:26AM
BUFFALO GROVE — An organization that is getting older in average-member’s age around the world is getting younger in Buffalo Grove.
The Lions Club is expanding into Buffalo Grove, and its founding members are hoping to build their presence on what service fraternities of all kinds are searching for: Youth.
“The big problem the Lions have across the board is the membership is getting older,” said Dennis Spaeth, who will be President of the Buffalo Grove club once its paperwork is finalized. “I wanted to make sure my kids saw that I was getting involved and volunteering. This is like Scouts, for adults.”
This is, to be more precise, the newest branch of a 1.35-million membership organization with 46,000 clubs around the world, founded in 1917 in Chicago and now headquartered in Oak Brook. Spaeth and club cofounder Joe Jordan reached their required 20th member earlier this month after Village Hall published an announcement about their search, and turned in the paperwork needed to start their own chapter on Dec. 11.
Both are younger brothers of longtime Lions who had, according to Spaeth, been nagging their kid siblings to start a Lions branch in Buffalo Grove.
“Joe and I together thought this is the right time,” Spaeth said.
Buffalo Grove has held two Lions Clubs in the past, he said — the first disbanded after a member was hurt in an accident, the second fell apart from infighting. For the new edition to have a long future, recruiting will be crucial, and will likely also be tough.
“It’s not the easiest thing in the world,” Spaeth said. “I came to this with no idea about what I wanted to do, I just wanted to help.”
Leaders of other local service fraternities said that having a mixture of experienced older members, energetic youngsters and ambitious new recruits is difficult to maintain. The Lincolnshire Morning Star Rotary Club has hovered at approximately 28 members for the past 10 years, as some leave and new names join the roll, said Neil Perlman, that group’s past president.
“We’re trying to expand, but we lose members, some members join for a short period of time, and we have lots of job transfers,” he said. “But there’s a base of stable members.”
Perlman said the ideal size for a Rotary Cub in Lincolnshire is around 50 participants.
Spaeth said that, for an organization with no political or religious affiliation bent on helping those in need, membership should not be an issue. But, as their branch began the Lions Club’s third chapter in Buffalo Grove, he noted that there are plenty of do-gooders in the area, serving all types of concerns.
“There’s a lot of good groups out there,” he said. “Join the one that fits you. I joined the one that fits me.”