The Sylvan Lake Lions and District C-1 held their annual convention at the Community Centre this weekend and it was a well attended event.
With attendees traveling from the U.S. and the northern areas, convention chairman Fred Schmaltz said the event went excellent and theturnout was great, as he said it is a new district as of last July and some people are used to their old districts.
A Halloween themed social event went on Friday evening with entertainment and Saturday the voting on policy and the district governingfor the coming years took place.
“We had a fun night, we had a Halloween costume theme with probably 70 to 80 per cent participation which I was shocked with,”Schmaltz said.
He said people were dressed up in everything from Tin Man to Miss Piggy, to the Hulk and many others.
“We had games and people participated and it was very successful,” Schmaltz said.
The convention was also filled with several booths such as Lions Quest Canada, Canadian Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre and STARS.
But perhaps the icing on the cake was when motivational speaker Chris Koch got up to share his story.
Schmaltz said this motivational speaker was brought in to encourage people to continue working hard in their lives as he said if there is aneed – the club is there to help.
Koch, 36,is a farmer, motivational speaker and traveler and has partial arms and legs, although climbing up the stairs to the stage whilecarrying his skate board was no problem. Nor was it a problem to open up a bottle of water or balance his iPhone on half an arm.
Even though Koch is different than the people around him he is very comfortable in his own skin and has the attitude of living life to thefullest regardless of the obstacles he comes across.
Being a motivational speaker and having visited a wide variety of different places and speaking to a variety of different audiences Kochsaid he does it because it is fun and because he really loves people.
“Sharing my experiences is a lot of fun,” Koch said. “Getting them to look at life a little differently with a more positive frame of mind andattitude and breaking down people’s misconceptions if they do have any.”
He said he gets stared at all the time, is asked all types of questions and has gotten every reaction imaginable but he is still comfortablein his own skin and with who he is.
People will notice when you are having fun and the big smile on your face more so than the disability you have he said.
A lot of people assume that his life must be really tough or there’s only a few things that he can do – among other presumptions but hesaid this is far from reality.
“The fact of the matter is it’s far from that,” Koch said. “It’s been an amazing journey, I’ve had a lot of fun and have done some incrediblethings.
“I have more activities crossed off my bucket list than most.”
Some of the incredible things he has done is travel through Europe where he found people were very kind towards him.
In his speech Koch said you choose whether you decide that having no arms and no legs is a bad hand dealt to you or just another minorobstacle.
You choose the fact that whether or not your car didn’t start this morning is a bad hand or just a minor obstacle, it’s all a choice.
He also said how if you worry about how you look you cheat yourself out of opportunity.
“I am confident and comfortable in my own skin,” Koch said. “I am proud of how I look and I like being different. We’re all unique andspecial in our own way.”
Something that may have surprised his audience was how he said he’s more afraid of regret than of failure and he said there’s nothingwrong with failure because at least you’ve tried.
“You get out of life what you put into it,” Koch said. “You put out positivity and kindness and you get that back.”