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The Bowsman and District Lions Club: Serving the community since 1984

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The Bowsman and District Lions Club (BLC) was officially formed on Dec. 7, 1984, with the club’s charter president, Jerry Boychuk. “He was a part of the Swan River Lions Club (SRLC) at the time, and noticed a need for more service groups in the Valley,” said BLC Secretary Tyson Boychuk. “With the help of the sponsoring SRLC and ‘Guiding Lion’ Gary Mills, the BLC came to be. “The BLC later sponsored the Birch River and Area Lions Club and Minitonas Lions Club (MLC) to help them form their clubs.” Back at the helm of the BLC is President Jerry Boychuk, who is joined by Secretary Tyson Boychuk and Treasurer Ken Sutherland. “There are different tiers of membership,” said Boychuk. “Right now we are sitting at 53 members, with 33 being ‘active members’ and the other 20 are ‘members at large’ or ‘privileged members’, which are members that maybe don’t attend meetings as much but are still there to help out when they can. “Members can be both men and women. Lions Club International (LCI) used to have a Lions Club for men and a Lioness Club for women, but in 2008, they dissolved the Lioness title and amalgamated both male and female members under one club, the Lions Club. “Our club currently only has male members but is open to and would welcome female members moving forward alongside LCI,” Boychuk continued. The many members of the BLC have worked hard in the 32 years since their inception, planning and implementing various community events, helping to make the Valley a better place to live. “We have held various soup and bun luncheons and pancake breakfasts,” said Boychuk. “We host a Super Bowl raffle each year. “We also held the Bowsman Bull-A-Rama annually for 14 years. “The BLC has also teamed up with the Swan River Golf and Country Club for the past two years to host the ‘Friends of the Valley Fun-Draiser Bonanza’, a one of a kind social event at the golf course,” continued Boychuk. “This event had a steak supper, silent and live auction, live entertainment, and a social and dance on the fairway. “We’ve also worked together with the other two Valley Clubs, the SRLC and MLC, to bring the Billy Beal Ice Fishing Derby.” The BLC has also put on local Christmas parties at the Bowsman arena, with sleigh rides, wiener roasts, hot chocolate and of course, Santa. At Halloween, the BLC has also thrown a Halloween bash with mini haunted house, candy giveaways, and prizes for best contest. “The Christmas and Halloween parties are free to attend, because they’re all about giving back and making sure there’s a celebration for our local children to have a little fun,” said Boychuk. Most recently, the BLC saw the ‘Journey for Sight’ ride through town. “The LCI has a lot to do with sight and continually supporting people to get the help they need,” said Boychuk. “The snowmobile derby is a perfect example, as it is riders from all over the province riding from Flin Flon to Brandon over the course of five days, raising money to help people fighting the loss of sight or those who have already lost their sight.” Through each and every event the BLC is involved in, the focus is always on building a better community. “Proceeds from many events go towards local projects,” said Boychuk. “We support local Diabetes and Heart and Stroke foundations through smaller fundraisers. Through larger events, we’ve been able to sponsor a variety of other medical needs. “We worked towards the Central Cardiac Monitoring System for the Swan Valley Health Centre, and were able to support the Cataract Surgery department, which to date has facilitated more than 1,000 surgeries. These improvements bring people to our town, but also allow local people to stay in their own town to have various procedures done.” But, these projects just scratch the surface of what the BLC does. “We host these events to make sure that the community gets what it needs, when it needs it,” said Boychuk. “If it weren’t for all of the service groups that the Valley hosts - Lions, Kinsmen, Knights of Columbus, Rotary, and the Elks/Royal Purple - there would be a lot of equipment that the Valley either would not have, or would have a lot more difficulty getting. “A perfect example would be the central cardiac monitoring system or the cataract ‘wing’ of the hospital,” Boychuk continued. “This is the entire community pulling together to make these things happen.” But, without community support, the BLC cannot make these things happen. “We are always looking for new members to grow our club bigger and stronger with dedicated people, those who come with new ideas  and new life to make projects happen,” said Boychuk. “We have meetings twice a month, and do the odd pancake breakfast or BBQ luncheon, but the main requirement is that members have the desire to want to better and  give back to the community, and to try to be the most upstanding person you can be.” If you are interested in learning more about the BLC, or becoming a member, talk to any current member and sit in on a meeting. “We also have to express our huge appreciation to our sponsors and supporters that come to bat for us, each and every time we ask them,” Boychuk concluded. “The work that the Valley Lions Clubs do would not be possible without the generosity of you and the community. “We need to show our gratitude for helping us accompish many great things. We look forward to your continued support in the future, allowing us to accomplish many more great milestones.”

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Jessica Bergen
REPORTER
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