The club has been selflessly committed to fellow human beings for 60 years
By Rudi Hoffman
ZUTPHEN/WARNSVELD – As a reporter, the chances of meeting a president and governor at the same time are extremely slim. However, this was recently achieved in Warnsveld. Lionsclub Zutphen president René Hissink and district governor Henk Derksen met here to explain what the organization stands for and to make it clear that Lionsclub Zutphen is actively looking for new members.
“We are a really nice organization where you can contribute selflessly to society in a pleasant atmosphere. Helping our fellow man, but also togetherness and mutual friendships are central to us,’ says René Hissink.
The 55-year-old owner of farm shop Klein-Graffel in Warnsveld (and VVD councilor) can call himself president of Lionsclub Zutphen since 1 July. Lionsclub Zutphen, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last March, has members from very different backgrounds. These are, for example, a gardener, a practicing state attorney, a former dentist and an owner of a bicycle shop. She and the others volunteer for charity; in a material and immaterial sense.
Annually recurring actions include: door-to-door sale of tulips in February (proceeds go to local causes), collection of old and foreign money in March (with the proceeds from Zutphen, more than 600 eye operations have already been performed in developing countries). , splitting wood (profits from wood sales this year went to refugees from Ukraine) and in December collecting DE coffee points in supermarkets. Last time, it gave more than 2,000 packages of coffee to customers in the food bank in Zutphen.
“We saw and split wood on Saturday morning with a number of club members in the garden of our member Erik Haverkort from Eefde. Collecting and counting the coffee savings points together is always a lot of fun,’ says Henk Derksen.
Derksen (67) worked in healthcare for 43 years and has been a member of the Lions Club Zutphen for about ten years now. After a training period, he has been appointed as the governor of ‘District 110 BZ’ with effect from 1 July. The Netherlands has around 400 Lions clubs in six districts. Each district is divided into six or seven zones.
“My district runs from Oldenzaal to Amersfoort. 70 clubs are active in this and number 71, in Doesburg, is being established. The theme of the Council of Governors is ‘friendship and strength’. We want to increase Lions’ brand awareness, strengthen each other and activate young people to be involved,’ explains Derksen.
Lions Clubs International, headquartered in the United States, has more than 48,000 affiliates with a total of 1.4 million members. According to Derksen, the Lions organization has many interesting training and development programs to offer, both nationally and internationally, especially for young people. The Foundation of the Lions organization spends millions every year on charitable causes. Last year, the province of South Limburg received e.g. financial support in connection with the flood disaster.
Back to the currently around 25 members of Lionsclub Zutphen. “We have chosen the theme ‘outside’ locally. Concretely, this means that we want to literally and figuratively get out there more and be more visible to work with our brand awareness and recruit new members. We really want the latter, because our membership base is aging, and we could really use rejuvenation,” says René Hissink.
Lionsclub Zutphen is so far a male stronghold. Henk Derksen does not rule out that it will change in the coming years: “We want more diversity. As a governor, you have to look at the future with an open mind, and you will also have to discuss a number of taboos.” Members’ partners are now welcome several times a year during so-called ladies nights.
The Hampshire Hotel at ‘s-Gravenhof is the base for Lionsclub Zutphen. The members meet here every first and third Wednesday of the month. Hissink: “We often have a lecturer who comes on the first Wednesday, or we visit a place, e.g. Daily Existence recently. There is always a dunk on the third Wednesday; a two-course menu.”
Interested Lion aspirants can attend a club night in the Hampshire Hotel several times without obligation and participate in one or more activities. You can register by sending an email to Zutphen@lions.nl.
For more information about Lions Club Zutphen, visit the website.