When current Wyoming Lions Club President Catherine Zerwas joined the club five years ago, she was excited to volunteer some of her time to an organization that did so much to help the community. The club, led then by pastor Ed Wheatley, had a steady membership that was slowly growing. However, Wheatley died in 2016, and club membership has since seen a massive decline.
“We are down to about three (the bare minimum required by Lions International for the club to remain active) people who attend meetings each month,” Zerwas said. “We host or sponsor a lot of community events, and the work it takes to make it all happen is more than three people can manage.”
Zerwas, who works two jobs and has four kids at home, serves as both president and treasurer for the club, which currently consists of all women. The club has been active in Wyoming for more than 40 years. In a letter posted to the city of Wyoming Facebook page, the Wyoming Lions said they were the only community-service-based organization in the city and also the only group providing community-service-based scholarships in the Forest Lake Area School District.
“If the Stagecoach Days pancake breakfast, turkey bingo, Senior Spring Fling and Santa Days all went away, the community would be very upset,” Zerwas said. “What people don’t realize is that it takes a dedicated group of Lions to make these things happen.”
The senior breakfast is free to all area seniors, and each guest walks away with a door prize or a cash gift. Santa Days provides gifts to more than 300 area youth.
“If we can find a way to increase our membership, then the work load would not be so hard to manage,” Zerwas said. “We meet on the last Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Cornerstone Pub, and we only ask that members attend at least three meetings a year and help with at least two of our events.”
The Wyoming Lions Club boasts the lowest membership dues in Chisago County, with individual memberships at $60 per year. Families of two or more pay $90 per year. The club is hoping to add six to 10 members right away, and the plan is to expand from there.
“We really are a great group of people and we are doing important work,” Zerwas said. “Although the work is a lot for a small group, the club does have a lot of fun putting on these events. We really hope that this call for membership takes hold because the last thing anyone wants is for our club to longer exist.”
For more information on how to join the Wyoming Lions, contact Zerwas at 651-775-6159 or membership chair Barbara Grams at 651-462-3270.