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Crosslake-Ideal and Whitefish Area Lions Clubs Combine

Web posted June 3, 2014
By Kate Perkins, Northland Press Correspondent

The Crosslake-Ideal Lions Club and Whitefish Area Lions Club have joined after more than 20 years of serving the community separately.

Wednesday, May 22, marked the first time the two groups met as one. They’ll keep the name of the Crosslake-Ideal Lions Club, which holds a gambling license that allows the club to raise money through pull-tab sales.

The history of the two clubs goes back many years, to when the Crosslake-Ideal Lions began in 1982. Traditionally, Lions clubs were men-only. Crosslake-Ideal Lions was formed as a men-only club, and women in the community formed the Crosslake-Ideal Lionesses.

Lions clubs as a whole began allowing women into clubs in 1987. For a while the Lionesses stayed as they were, but in 2000, because the Lionesses didn’t have voting rights as a club, they decided to form their own group.

“The Crosslake-Ideal Lions supported the Lionesses becoming Lions, and the Lionesses became the Crosslake-Ideal Whitefish Area Lions,” said Doreen Gallaway, long-time member of the Whitefish Area Lions. Her husband, Scott Gallaway, is a long-time member of the Crosslake-Ideal Lions.

Later, the Crosslake-Ideal Whitefish Area Lions changed their title to simply the Whitefish Area Lions. Somewhere along the way, Doreen said, men wished to join the Whitefish Area Lions and did.

Doreen Gallaway said that having just one group will allow the strengths of each group to work together to help the community.

“The Whitefish Area Lions are more known for grassroots work like pickle sales and peach sales,” Doreen said, “where the Crosslake-Ideal is more known for pulltabs and the large amounts of money they invest into the community.” Now, those two groups will be working together in their efforts to help the community.

While the two groups never worked against each other, having two groups serving the same community was occasionally confusing, as each club sometimes ended up getting credit for another club’s achievements.

The two clubs began to come together after the Crosslake-Ideal Lions President received a letter from a member suggesting the two combine. The entire club was surveyed, and the survey showed that most members agreed that combining was a good idea.

The Crosslake-Ideal Lions then presented the idea to the Whitefish Area Lions, which in turn surveyed its members on the idea. Doreen said that 92 percent of the Whitefish Area Lions agreed combining was a good idea.

The two clubs have now come together under the Crosslake-Ideal Lions name and elected a new board including members from each former club. That board will take effect in July.

Scott and Doreen agree that combining the clubs will combine each club’s  positive qualities. The Gallaways also hope that combining clubs will make it easier for young couples to join; formerly spouses had wished to join but were hesitant because the club was all men or mostly women, Doreen said. Since the two clubs are combined, the couples can take up the activity together.

“I think it’s really great,” Scott said. “We’re trying to open up some doors to younger members.”

“It’s going to be a neat thing for young couples to do together,” Doreen said. "Lives are so busy, and being able to do something together and serve our community is kind of a big deal.”

Doreen said that while there were a few members of each club who didn’t favor the clubs combining, the transition has been smooth.

“It’s been really positive and I think it’s going to continue to be positive,” she said. “I’m excited to see what happens.”

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