President’s End-of-Year Message – June 2017

"All Good Things..."

Matthew Cioffi, Easton Lions President 2016-2017 at Holiday Festival (width 150)

This year has been a blast. We threw a few stones into the pond and the ripples are still spreading out today.

  • - In May, our new Fishing Derby was a big hit with the families and kids,
  • - We found a new home for the Auction at Stonehill,
  • - The Holiday Festival had a banner year raising over $7,000,
  • - We raised over $50,000 from the Thrift Store for the second year running
  • - And I really appreciate all the Board members for writing up their bios, that was not an easy task. And also for Nancy Sullivan for taking our newsletter in new directions.

I want to thank everyone for their hard work this year at all our events. And a huge thank you to the core Thrift Store crew for being there every week. This year was a lot of fun, despite the gray hairs a few have kindly pointed out to me recently. You guys were simply awesome!

And most importantly, I need give a special thank you to my lovely wife, Marie. She supported me throughout the year, from proof-reading publicity cards and newsletter articles, to helping make the cookie swap possible. She also put-up with my countless evenings away at meetings and the many Saturdays at the Thrift Store. I could not have done it without her! With all my heart, I thank you Marie.
Tonight, I'd like to share with you two things I learned serving as your president and a mission, if you choose to accept it, I hope will inspire you for next year.

  • The first, is the power of "Wait, what?" moments;
  • Which led me to understand what it means to be a Lion;
  • And finally, the mission: “If this were your last year as a Lion, how would you make it be the best year ever?

So, what is a "Wait, what?" moment? Well, it’s a moment when you're caught totally off-guard, where you need to pause and listen before acting. It’s also a moment that is so awe inspiring it takes time to sink in, like looking out across the Grand Canyon on the North Rim for the first time, as I did with Marie last July. Over the year there was a series of "Wait, what?" moments that brought home for me what being a Lion was all about.

First there was the Thrift Store issues with drop-offs and parking and not seeing eye-to-eye with our neighbors on many fronts; thank you Kevin for helping on that one. Next was the vandalism at Yardley Wood Rink and the draining of the pond. In March, I was amazed to see how our club pieced together all the changes for our Auction at Stonehill. And my final “Wait, what?” moment had to do with a deepening rift between two Lions that took patience and many 1-on-1 conversations to find a resolution. I got to say, it was this last one where both Lions coming from opposing perspectives, truly showed me what it means to be a Lion. These moments caught me off-guard, but by taking a step back and with your help I finally understand what it means to me a Lion.

Piglet asks pooh how do you spell love, pooh answers you feel it. So, how many of you are Winnie the Pooh fans? (O.K., did any of you just think "Wait, what?") All right, bear with me!

Well, my daughter is a big Pooh fan, as am I. There is one scene that really touches my heart.

On the edge of the woods, Piglet and Pooh are sitting on a log next to a babbling brook. When Piglet asks Pooh, “How do you spell love?” and Pooh answers “You don’t spell it --- You FEEL it!

Well, as Lions we love what we do. It’s easy to tell someone about a Lions event and who we raise money for. That's spelling out who we are. What's not so easy is describing what it means to be a Lion. To do this I think of Piglet and Pooh and "Feeling the Love". As Lions we tell our stories all the time. But, when it comes right down to it, to understand a Lion, you’ve gotta feel it. You’ve gotta experience it. You’ve gotta be with other Lions helping others, because it comes from the heart.

So this brings me to the final mission. Over the summer, ask yourself this question: "If this was my last year as a Lion, how would I make this the best year ever?". You guys are full of ideas and I want you to bring your ideas to life. Maybe it’s a new event, or an idea to transform an old event, or building new relationships in our community. We need your ideas to make our club grow and change as Easton changes.

We also can be the catalyst for bringing ideas to our Fund Screening Committee. I’d love to have Lions find new causes that we have not supported in the past. Get together with 2 or 3 other Lions and bat around ideas. Talk with others in town and ask them how the Lions can help. Maybe they could use $100 or maybe thousands. Maybe they need warm bodies to help plant trees, clean a neighbor’s lawn, or place flags? Well, we have over 150+ willing and able bodies to bring to bear. This is how we started our Centennial Legacy Projects at Ali's Playground and Smith Farm renovation. Let your values as Lions guide your actions and find what matters most to you.

Before our year ends, I have one final story and quote to share.

Star Trek The Next Generation All Good Things...As many of you know, I am a Trekkie. The Star Trek stories are often about optimism and the human potential to solve problems. My all-time favorite episode is "All Good Things..." from the series finale of "The Next Generation". In the last scene, Captain Picard enters Ricker's room with the bridge crew playing poker. They're all pleasantly surprised (you know, one of those "Wait, what?" moments) when Picard joins the game. He never had done so in seven years on the Enterprise. As Data hands Picard the cards, the Captain takes a moment to look around the table at his crew and friends and notes that he should have done this a long time ago. As Picard starts to deal, he names the game:

"Five-card stud, nothing wild... and the sky's the limit."

That's exactly how I see all of you. You are my good friends, and as Lions we know the sky's the limit. This brings me back to Pooh and Piglet, and a quote from Maya Angelou, an American poet and civil rights activists, she says:

“People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Thank you all for a wonderful year! I know next year will be just as fun with Pattie leading the ship and the only Lions Club in the world that has all of you!

Godspeed to us all!

Matthew Cioffi