Have you ever been to a birthday party with over 20.000 participants? Would you like to?
From June 30th to July 4th, 2017, Lions and Leos from all over the world will gather at the Lions Club International Convention in Chicago to celebrate together 100 years of Lionism and 60 years of Leonism.
If, though, taking part to the biggest and most amazing Leo/Lions party in the world is not appealing enough for you, let me give you a few more reasons as of why to take part to an LCIC is going to blow your mind.
My name is Eleonora Fresia and, in my life, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to take part to six International Conventions already.
During the first one, Indianapolis 2001, I was a sort of mascot for the Italian delegation: daughter of an Italian DG and at the tender age of 6, there was nothing else I could be. I can’t say I remember much of that experience, other than trading pins, receiving gifts and playing around the tables during the French Reception. But it was already pretty awesome.
It’s my second one however, Busan 2012, that made me a loyal International Conventioneer.
It was my third year as a LEO and my first time being able to meet international Leos and connect with the whole Lions Community. I remember sitting in the audience during the first plenary session, having a hard time coming to terms with how many people were attending the event: the room was huge and the number of seats was uncountable. The going out President of that year, PIP Wing-Kun Tam, was on stage talking about the service activity he had actively promoted during that year: planting one million trees. I can still see the screen in front of my eyes reaching that fated number and then climbing up at a vertiginous speed, going past the number of 12 million.
Over 12 million trees were planted during that single year, by a little less than one million and a half Lions Club members. That number shocked me: I hadn’t planted a single tree and yet number was so much greater than what seemed feasibly achievable: that instant, is the first time I realized exactly that we – as Leos and Lions – can change the world.
My third Convention, Hamburg 2013, showed me how fun a convention can be. I have not seen a more amazing wave than the one done in a loop by the audience while waiting for the International Show to start and I can’t remember laughing harder than when watching our International Executive Board dancing on the notes of YMCA.
During Toronto 2014 and Honolulu 2015, instead, I got shown the strength of Leos and how amazing it is to be part of the “Leos of the World” Delegation during the parade. The feeling of joy I felt in that moment, giving out flags, high-fives and hugs to total strangers – some Lions and some simple spectators – receiving so much love in return and sharing it with my fellow Leos was simply indescribable. The severe lack of voice due to becoming head chanter during the parade is quite hard to describe as well!
Fukuoka 2016, finally, was the time where I realized that there is nothing more special than finding yourself in the same place as more than 20.000 other people that believe in your same values and are as passionate about them as you are. Conventions become the place where to make good friends: a special meeting point where to get to see them all, even if you are all from different sides of the world.
Conventions are all about sharing, learning and friendship. Sharing the happiness and joy of reuniting with friends and meeting new ones, of results achieved and of new objectives discovered. It’s a time of learning differences across countries, similarities in values, new service ideas and personal discoveries. It’s about connecting with the world, improving mutual understanding and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.
Every Convention is a unique opportunity, but this one, Chicago 2017, I can’t wait to take part to: A Centennial is something not many get to see and I’m happy I’ll be able to share it with many fellow European Leos. As a matter of fact, the more the merrier is a statement that well fits Conventions: if you want to join us for this incredible event, please know that you are still in time to register and we can’t wait to see you there!
Website link: http://lcicon.lionsclubs.org/EN/index.php
By Eleonora Fresia – International Liaison Officer MD 108 ITALY