Lions Of South Dakota
  District  5 SE
DG Notes

From the District Governor - Neil Bowes

Happy Valentine's Day!   Interesting, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday are on the same day, and so April Fool's day is on Easter Sunday.
When asked what they want most, most people want peace, love, and happiness. So each one of us has the power to decide whether we will be at peace, in love with ourselves and others, and happy with the world and our lot in life.   Anger, Jealousy, greed, hate are also decisions that we might make during our life.   Most all of us have to the power to decide what our state of mind should be.   We have the power to change the world, with peace, love, and happiness emanating to everyone around us.   Happy Valentine's Day!

We who attended the SD State Lions Convention at the Crossroads in Huron had a great experience.    We enjoyed the exceptional hospitality of the Huron Crossroads Convention Center.   They put together a good menu, served a sit-down banquet featuring an excellent turkey dinner.  In my opinion, the only way it might have been better was if they would have put oysters in the dressing.  The agenda and the venue was always on schedule.   And the convention was finished before many of us realized that it had started.  So, our compliments to the Crossroads and especially to the Huron Lion, Lionesses, and the Eyeopeners are certainly in order.   Thank you very much, for your time, your planning, and your action to make this a very successful convention.  One of the highlights was our International Director, N Alan Lundgren, who probably had the most fun of all, and who rated our District and Convention very high.    You will find some of his Pix in this newsletter.

Now, it is time to move forward.   Time for more membership drives, time for more service, more vision screening, more Strides events (This was one of the most fun events at our convention), more youth projects (The exchange camp is coming in July at Augustana), more peace poster contestants, more environmental projects, (The cleaner the environment, the less extreme weather events and hopefully, healthier people).   Can we do this?   I believe we can.

Club meetings, conventions, leadership forums, service events, etc always produce great ideas for the future, so we look forward to the next Council of Governors and training session in Minot, ND, March 23-24, 2018 and the MD5 convention in Mandan/Bismarck ND in May.   I also look forward to visiting clubs in Huron, (Lionesses), Alcester, Dell Rapids, Volga, Sioux Falls Siouxland, North Sioux City, and Rosholt.  See you down the road.

DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top
Now that we all enjoyed the Holidays,  maybe we are thinking about making some resolutions for 2018.    Here are some suggestions.
State Convention:
Plan to attend the SD Lions Convention,  Jan 19-20 at the Crossroads, Huron, SD.   The Huron Lions are planning a fun, informative, and a very worth while agenda featuring our International Director from Arizona,  Allen Lundgren.   ID Allen is scheduled to arrive at Foss Field, Sioux Falls, shortly after 5pm Thursday, Jan 18.   I will be there to meet him.   Anyone who wishes to help welcome him to South Dakota is certainly welcome to join me at the airport at approximately 4:45pm, after which we will have dinner. We'll rest for the night and proceed to Huron on Friday morning.

At the convention, we will be Striding for Diabetes, talking about 25 project ideas for each of  five service initiatives from Lions International, which are Vision, Diabetes,  Pediatric Cancer, Hunger, and Youth.  Bring your checkbooks for parade of green, your singing voices, your appetite for good food, and your strong desire to have fun.   Within this newsletter you will find a proposed agenda.
Membership: 5SE  has declined to 1255 members as of November 30, 2017.  We hope to start seeing some increases as the fall membership drives turn into membership activation.  We installed seven new members at the Canistota Lions this month.  And I know of some clubs that are planning Lions information meetings for prospective members.   Please review the membership drive plan as outlined in a previous newsletter.  Make a list or prospects,  send them an invite,  give them lions service information, talk about the Lions organization, and provide them with an application.  We need more members.   More members means more service and there are plenty of opportunities to serve.

We salute you for your service,  reaching out to your communities and beyond.  See you in Huron.

DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top

The Yankton Lions had Diaper Showers the past few years to celebrate Make a Difference Day.  Last year we donated over 3000 diapers to the Yankton Contact Center.  This year we decided, at our Mon 6:30pm meeting, to celebrate "Be Thankful for Dry Bottoms” Day.   We are collecting diapers from members and friends, to be counted at our Nov 20, 6:30pm meeting at JoDeans and delivered to the Yankton Contact center.   So next time you see me in the next few days, you can give me a package of diapers.   I should have no problem collecting the most diapers. 

In the meantime, be sure to support your local food banks in the Lions effort to defeat Hunger.

Nov 14 is World Diabetes Day, a good day to indulge ourselves in diet and exercise education and information that can help control and maybe, someday, eliminate this debilitating, dreadful, rampant disease. 

So far, I have visited 30 of the 47 clubs in DSE 5.  It is a fun and rewarding experience, and I hope that this feeling is mutual.  My message emphasizes The Power of We, who have the power of Action to accomplish the Power of Service which is the Power to change the world.  The only problem with " We" is that there is not near enough of us.  The District Health Assessment leaves us with 1266 members, a significant drop from 1360 reported last year at this time.  This means less action, less service, as the need for more service is continuously growing. 

Our website,, has the tools to assist clubs in membership growth, and sponsoring new clubs in neighboring communities.   So far, we have new club activity in Webster, and a strong hint of new club activity in De Smet in the near future.   Later on, we will assemble membership teams to reconstitute Lions clubs in Milbank, Bon Homme County, Wagner and other communities.  I am confident that there are many who want to be Lions.   We need to plan an open house event, invite them, show them what we do, give them an application form, install them, guide them, then get out of the way but try to keep up with them.

We will be attending the Council of Governors MD5 meeting in Minot, ND, on Nov 18-19, and then looking and planning forward to the SD Lions Convention in Huron Jan 19-20.  We hope to see you then.   Until then we hope that everyone has an enjoyable fun holiday season.    The next newsletter will be in January 2018.

DG Neil Bowes

Return to Top
Holy Cow! The Lions centennial celebration continues.....
The Vermillion Lions put together a Fall Forum that left some in awe, others giddy with excitement and everyone with memories for a lifetime. The stories they tell are real whoppers, but they are true!

In the meantime, the news is not great. Hurricanes and earthquakes have wrecked havoc. Each time LCIF has stepped up with initial grants of $100,000 for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The money will help restore services, but even more important, Prayer will help restore the spirit, especially in Las Vegas.

Peace poster kits have been distributed and the artists are working. The deadline is Nov. 1st to be returned to Leanne Gutormson in Huron, where the best will be selected. I will take it to MD5 Council of Governors in Minot, ND on Nov 17, 2017. One of six will be selected to go to LCI for final placement.

October is traditionally membership month, however, there are no months that we will not accept new members. Bruce Beck, our ID from Palisade, Mn gave us proven membership drive instructions.

Each member writes down 5 names with addresses and phone numbers of people who would make good Lions. The club sends a letter to each one inviting them to an "Open House". Send the letter three weeks prior and followup with a call within one week of the open house. The open house should have food and beverage with a program for no more that one hour. Speakers explain the club service activities, why they joined Lions, and a long term speaker will tell why he is still a Lion. The final speaker will tell about the District, Multiple District, and Lions Clubs International activities. Prospective members will receive a brochure and a membership application. This open house concept has produced an average of 9 new members. So get your membership committees, (i.e. the entire club) together and brainstorm your Open House. It will be fun, exciting and rewarding with many new friendships.

My Club Visitation/Event Schedule:
Wed. Oct. 4 - Sioux Empire Club (noon) - Aberdeen Club (7 pm)
Thurs. Oct 5 - Huron Eye Opener (7 am)
Oct. 5-6 - 5SW Fall Rally in Sturgis Tues.
Oct. 10 - Wagner Thurs. Oct. 12 - Lennox
Thurs. Oct. 19 - Beresford Mon.
Oct. 23 - Madison Tues.
Oct. 24 - Parkston Thurs.
Oct. 25 - Corsica Wed.
Nov. 1 - Clark Thurs.
Nov. 2 - Duel County

See you down the trail!

DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top
Thank you Lions of D5SE, thank you for taking action with the Vision Van to screen hundreds of kids, 6 months to 18 years old, as well as all of the other individual community projects. It seems that every club has their own centennial celebration. If you would like a Vision Van to be in your community for a special event, please call the SD Lions Foundation in Sioux Falls. It is a great tool for screening for vision problems, getting acquainted with people, and to identify those who might be interested in joining the Lions.

We have 32 registrations for the Fall Forum in Vermillion September 29-30, about 1/3 of the goal to make the Forum a success. Registration forms can be printed from the August newsletter. We suggest that each club send their allowance of delegates. The Vermillion Lions have a great program planned including International Director Bruce Beck, an exciting speaker from Palisade, MN. You can find more about Bruce on his Facebook page.

It will be a fun day for everyone. It you need Peace Poster kits, please let me know. Peace Posters are due November 1 to be judge and forwarded to MD5.

Lions International Foundation granted $100,000 for immediate aid for Hurricane Harvey victims on Friday, August 25. The LCIF website has a link to accept individual donations. Remember that 100% of your donations will go to the project that you designate. During such a catastrophe, 1000’s of eyeglasses are sure to be lost, so there is also an appeal in the news for eyeglass assistance. Used eyeglasses would certainly be welcome.

Thank you to the Britton Lions, Brandon Lions, MD 5 Council of Governors in Minot, ND, Watertown Lions, Milbank Lions, and the Huron Noon Lions for their great hospitality. The Schedule picks up the pace in September. Avon Lions, Sept 7; Plains Lions, Brentford, Sept 11; a Mitchell Lions, Sept. 12; Lennox Lions, Sept 14; Vermillion Lions, Sept. 21; Sioux Rise Lions, Sept 25; Redfield Lion, Sept 26; Corsica Lions, Sept 28; and the Fall Forum, Sept 29-30.

What I like best about the Lions is that it is a volunteer organization. So, there is always encouragement for every member for anything that they do or don’t do. Of course, the more you do, no matter how you do it, will certainly increase the joy, satisfaction, and encouragement received from others. Thank you for volunteering me for this DG job.

Past DG’s tell me that this will be the best year of my life. I have already had a lot of great years, but so far, this one is shaping up to be one of the best

DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top
The fun has begun! Of course, I am still enjoying the memories of the fantastic centennial convention in Chicago, and I like to talk about it as I visit our 5SE clubs. On July 13, The Groton Lions welcomed me with delicious grilled burgers, potato salad, and other fixings. After the officer installation, they discussed the second annual Fall Fest. You can see how it turned out on Facebook. On Monday, July 17, my home club in Yankton invited me to install their new officers, and talk about the convention. On July 25, The Freeman Lions and I enjoyed broasted chicken Blue’s Family Restaurant. They presented a community service scholarship award to a local student and shared the results of their recent annual BBQ event. The Freeman club has been growing and are excited that they have installed seven new members over the last two years.

On July 31, Carol Becker, Nancy Haas, and Lyle Malone from the Yankton Club joined in a visit to the Noon meeting of the Downtown Lions in Sioux Falls. We heard about their scholarship presentations to members of the McCrossan Boys Ranch, and installed three new members. We also toured the Dakota Lions Eye and Health center. On August 3, I will be in Britton, and on Aug 8, I will travel to Brandon.

I remember 40 years ago, we would visit clubs and steal their bells, gavels and whatever else was not tied down. And the clubs would always return the visit to get their items back. It is fun and informative to visit other clubs and we all should do more of this.

There are many clubs across the country planning fall open houses with vision screening and other service projects. These events are fun for the public and they are a wonderful opportunity to inform people about the Lions organization.

I heard about a club in Minnesota that put on a beer-tasting event and ended up with 20 new members. A District Governor in India reported that he was increasing his goal of 14 new clubs to 20 new clubs this year and if everything goes right they will have 1000 new members this year in their district for a total of 3500!

In India they also drink some beer, and they like to dance. Twice a year they will dance from sunset to sunup. India has a lot of people including 700 million living in poverty, so there is a great demand for the Lions service work.

The Lions service framework this year includes Diabetes, Hunger, Pediatric cancer, Vision, Youth, and Environment. Believe me, there is plenty of room in all of these areas for improvement, so we need more Lions. More Lions, more action, and more service. We, the Lions, have the power to make the world better. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and we will see you down the trail.

DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top
Mary Ellen and I have returned from the International Centennial Celebration Lions convention in Chicago. The celebration could not have been more spectacular, entertaining and educational. It was wonderful, the best convention that I have ever attended. They are still counting and auditing the number of registrations. At the Omaha Leadership Forum last September, they told us that we would see 15 times more than we had seen in our last five visits, and they were right. Search for Lions International Convention on Facebook to see a lot of convention celebration. We will have more details to talk about as we visit each of the 5SE clubs

One of the highlights was Monday afternoon when most of the South Dakota delegation gathered along with members of the LCI staff to enjoy a presentation by Lions Marie Anne Ben and John Daum. You will find pictures of this event in this newsletter and on Facebook.

We also bring greetings from our new international President Naresh Aggarwal and his wife Navita, from India. “Namaste” (Noma-stay) means the divine in me salutes the divine in you.

In this newsletter you will find the 2017-18 5SE cabinet. Thank you, Cabinet, for your willingness and service. The District Directory has gone to print and should be ready for distribution within a week or two. The International framework of service includes Diabetes, Pediatric Cancer, Environment, Hunger, Vision, and Focus on Youth. We will be working to overcome the associated problems with prevention and cure.

Schedule of club visits so far includes July 13, Groton Lions; July 17, Yankton Lions. August 5, Cabinet meeting in Redfield August 18-19, MD5 Cabinet Meeting in Minot.

If your club as a specific date or a special occasion in mind please give me a call, 605 660-7468, or an email, and let us get it scheduled. I am anxious to tell the stories and ideas I found at the convention, for growth in membership and growth in service. Remember, More Members, means more service and more fun!
DG Neil Bowes
Return to Top