Camp CaPella I know. A picturesque handicapped-accessible campground on Phillips Lake between Bangor and Ellsworth, Camp CaPella is a recreational resource for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. I help promote Camp CaPella to the news media.

But I knew little about Lions Clubs, though their logo we have all seen for many years. Last Saturday, April 14, at Searsport Lions Club, four local Lions Clubs — Searsport Lions Club, Searsport Bay Area Lions Club, Belfast Lions Club and Monroe Lions Club — held a four-hour all-you-can-eat breakfast with proceeds to be given to Camp CaPella.

Since I was there in case any reporter or TV news crew happened to show up, I decided to do some reporting on my own and find out what these Lions Clubs were all about.
Under the subterfuge of poking fun, I began conversations with Lions Club members — some new, some participating for decades — officers and past officers by recommending they all change names to be “Lyon’s Clubs” – a couple chuckles, but no votes in favor. So then I asked what the Lions Clubs were all about. And why were they sponsoring this breakfast to help Camp CaPella?

While I expected various views and interpretations, maybe some conflicting opinions here and there, everyone said just about the same thing, and made it simple and basic.

“Giving to those less fortunate,” said Denis Howard, chairman of this Zone 9 Lions Clubs group.

“I wanted to do something for the community,” said Priscilla King, former president of the district Lioness Club a few decades ago.

“I wanted to do something to help, and I wanted my kids to see me doing something to help,” said Teresa Robbins of the Searsport Lions Club.

“Not only that – it’s fun!” added Hollis Bagley, a member of Searsport Bay Area Lions Club for more than 25 years.

“We have fun working on our projects,” agreed 35-year- member of Searsport Lions Club Bill Shorey.

“Our motto is simple,” noted his wife Jean Shorey. “We serve.”

Several members referred to various Lions Club programs and services in our area: sight and hearing programs, including providing eyeglasses at minimal cost for those who need them (a longtime Lions Club specialty); college scholarship programs (three per each of these clubs); a new forestry program for fourth-graders in Searsport; wreath decorating and Christmas tree sales; oncology programs; Habitat for Humanity dinner fundraiser, and the list goes on and on. Still the focus is always on local projects in our neck of the woods.
Nonetheless, it turns out that Lions Clubs here are part of the world’s largest service club organization. That I didn’t know until I googled Lions Clubs.

The breakfast was delicious. As I was finally ready to depart, I was awarded a large circular plastic plate with a huge pancake on it. Lions laughed; Lyon gawked. I drove to The Playhouse in Belfast and gave the huge pancake to the kids rehearsing their next performance, and they ate the whole thing.

There was hope expressed earlier the breakfast might bring in $500 for Camp CaPella. The actual total was more than $1,000. This will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Peggy and Steve LaVerdiere Challenge grant Camp CaPella received April 1.

“We all worked together to send a kid to Camp CaPella!” concluded Pam Ware, a member of the Camp CaPella Board of Directors.

Each local Lions Club is an “organization that really helps our community,” added Hollis Bagley.

Indeed, from what I learned, this is what community means.