Students reflect on Lions Club Leadership Forum

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

The Charter Anniversary of the Helena Lions Club was honored at a gathering on Aug. 24.

Two high school students who were selected to attend the Alabama Lions Club Leadership Forum at Troy University gave a presentation about their experience there on July 16-18.

Clara Atchley, an HHS senior, and Jacob Bradford, a student at Evangelical Christian School, had many positive remarks to share with an audience composed of current Lions Club members and visitors. Members of the Helena Teen Council were also in attendance.

The motto of the Lions Club is “We Serve!” and notable projects of the local chapter include raising over $12,000 for the community through pecan sales, gumball machines, raffling eyeglasses and a dunking machine at Helena First Fridays.

They have invested in local youth with generous donations to the HHS Choir, Science Lab and Athletic Association. They have also awarded $1,000 to leadership scholarships and sponsored a Peace Poster Contest at HMS.

Additionally, Helena Lions have provided glasses for local residents, baked pastries for First Responders, recycled used glasses, conducted vision screenings and delivered snacks to the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Membership is by invitation to service-minded men and women who are interested in improving their communities.

To become a Lion is to become an active volunteer, a member of a respected international organization, a leader in your community and a friend to people in need.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but knew I would be meeting a variety of teens,” Atchley began. “We met in small groups called ‘ice breakers,’ initially. I met another student whose school sponsors a day called, ‘Drive Your Tractor to School.”

Attendees played games like “Butter & Egg Adventures” and “Dogpatch Olympics.”

“And we listened to a series of speakers including Liz Huntley (a committed child advocate and litigation attorney) who herself experienced abuse as a child and now fights for children’s rights,” she said.

For Jacob Bradford, the outstanding key words he heard were “generosity, confidence, integrity and service and leadership without complaint.”

“We make a life by what we give,” Bradford said in his remarks. “And we all behave in a way that glorifies God.”

Both Atchley and Bradford found the Troy University Campus beautiful.

Helena Lions meet each second Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at Jack’s.

Facebook.com/helenalionsclub