Klaas van Veller, left, accepts his special award, the International President’s Certification of Appreciation. This certificate is awarded to Lions who go above and beyond the call of duty. Two of these awards were given out, the second went to Doug Norris.

Klaas van Veller, left, accepts his special award, the International President’s Certification of Appreciation. This certificate is awarded to Lions who go above and beyond the call of duty. Two of these awards were given out, the second went to Doug Norris.

Sylvan Lake Lions Club celebrates 65 years of community service

The club was founded in October 1954 and celebrated its 65th anniversary on Nov. 16, 2019

The Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club have helped many people over the last 65 years, and plan to continue to do so for another 65 years.

On Nov. 16, the local Lions Club gathered to celebrated the 65th charter anniversary, along with members from neighbouring clubs and dignitaries.

The club was found in October, 1954 with the first Charter Night taking place on Nov. 1, 1954.

Special guest speaker for the evening was Past International President Judge Brian Stevenson, who spoke about continuing with the spirit the Lions Club and the importance of humanitarianism.

Lions Club President Jim Watson and Chair of the anniversary event Fred Schmaltz said the judge was very motivational.

“He is a very inspirational speaker,” said Schmaltz. “He mixes stories with the Lions motto of ‘we serve.’”

For both Schmaltz and Watson, the message presented by the Past International President has motivated them and their club members.

Watson said it has renewed their focus on helping the community.

“For me, as president, it has renewed my focus to find the needs in our community and attract new members,” Watson said.

Moving forward, Watson says he will be looking to increase membership, in particular garnering interest from young members.

Like many volunteer-based service groups and clubs, membership and gaining young members is a challenge.

“Our younger members typically come to us after we have helped a family member or a friend in some way,” Watson explained.

Schmaltz added the Sylvan Lake club is one of the largest in the area with around 40 members.

A lot has changed for the group in the 65 years since it officially became a club in 1954.

In the late ‘80s, Lions Club International began to accept women as members. Before then, it was a men-only club, and women had their own club, the Lionesses, under each individual club’s banner.

“It was a really slow process to switch over to. A large majority of our female members now were once Lionesses,” said Watson.

Another big change for the Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club was the purchase of the current Lions Hall.

“We are one the few clubs to actually own their own hall,” said Schmaltz.

He continued to say after purchasing the hall, which was once a small church, it is often rented out for community purposes, such as meeting, family reunions and small weddings.

One thing that hasn’t changed for the club is its service and devotion to its community.

“Our motto is to serve, and that is what we plan to continue doing,” said Schmaltz.

Since the club’s inception 65 years ago, the members have helped thousands of people and have helped to raise thousands of dollars for community needs.

The club has worked to raise money to build the Lions Legacy Park, donated to the Christmas Bureau, the food bank, the spray park, they have scholarships available to students at the high school, and sponsor children in need to go to camp He Ho Ha.

Watson says the club’s first priority will always be its community.

“The Lions Club has international missions as well as local. Our club will always prioritize our local needs,” Watson said.

The club intends to still be helping those in Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area for years to come, and hope to see another 65 years in Sylvan Lake.

As times change, the club will change as well. Watson expects there will be changes occurring at the local level over the next few years as younger members begin to increase.

“Right now we always meet at the same time and we are known for wearing the red vests. Who knows, with the younger generations coming on we may change to have our meeting Saturday morning over coffee, and wear pins instead of vests,” said Watson.

For more information about Lions Club can be found online at www.lionsclubs.org. Those interested in joining the Lions Club can find out more information through the club’s website www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/sylvanlake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club President Jim Watson cuts a cake made special for the Lions Club’s 65th anniversary.

Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club President Jim Watson cuts a cake made special for the Lions Club’s 65th anniversary.

Just Posted

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Community Christmas Eve Dinner cancelled

The 20th anniversary of the Community Christmas Eve dinner is cancelled amidst COVID-19 concerns

The consensus around the Sylvan Lake council chamber Wednesday was the town does not have the ability to properly enforce a proposed mandatory indoor mask bylaw. File Photo
Sylvan Lake town council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

Sylvan Lake RCMP are looking for the identity of the suspect who stole from over 40 resident mail boxes. (Photo Courtesy of Sylvan Lake RCMP)
Over 40 mailboxes broken into at Sylvan Lake apartment building

Sylvan Lake RCMP are investigating the incident and searching for the identity of the suspect

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read