Our Virtual Community Highlights recognize Lions who are using digital tools to connect and serve. Chartered in May 2019, the Hawaii Cyber Lions Club is the first Cyber Lions club in District 50, serving the entire state of Hawaii. At the end of their first year as a club, they are proud to have more than 50 members and associate members, including many first-time members, whom they are introducing to the spirit of Lions.
The board of the Hawaii Cyber Lions Club includes President Peggy Oyama, Vice President Christopher Lum Lee, Secretary Loyal Mehrhoff, Membership Chair Shelby Billionaire and Marketing Communications/Service Chair Chris Aguinaldo.
Q. What digital tools do you use to connect your club and/or your community? How do you use them? (This can range from teleconferencing tools to social media to messaging apps.)
A. As a new club, and encouraged by Past District Governor (and Associate Cyber Lion) Robert Lee and District Governor Angie Haramoto, we took to heart “Your Club, Your Way!”
In the beginning, there were emails and phone calls, and we gradually added more communications and collaborative tools along the way, like Google Drive and Calendar, Facebook Pages and Events, Instagram, Slack, Zoom and the MyLion tools.
- Email distributes info (and is used for voting).
- Zoom is for discussion (and also used for voting).
- We love using social media @HawaiiCyberLions to share how “We Serve” the community.
- Slack was an exciting new addition as we launched the Hawaii Lions Hui. “Hui” is Hawaiian for partnership. This group brings Hawaii Lions and other statewide volunteers together to 3D print PPE face visors to donate to medical professionals and first responders. We plan to donate 4,000 face visors to the community. Slack allows the group to share best practices and technical info with each other to best move along the project. See hawaiilionshui.org.
Q. What specific benefits have you seen from using these digital tools? What benefits have you experienced from hosting virtual meetings?
A. Digital tools means flexibility in how work gets done. Let’s be honest. A Cyber Club still requires a level of administrative work, just like any other club. That coordination helps any club succeed, whether Cyber or traditional. It’s a mistake to think going digital automatically solves your club’s challenges or issues. You will still need people committed to using digital tools and focused on community service.
Digital tools, especially Zoom meetings, give you the convenience to schedule a meeting when members can participate. So it’s our responsibility to our members to use our collective time wisely. Our weekly board meeting, for example, is loosely structured as a “lunch brunch” so we get a chance to take care of our personal lives before jumping on to Zoom to talk. The agenda is emailed ahead of time and we do a good job of sticking to it. But we always leave a bit of time to talk about something in a round table. It doesn’t have to be about Lions—it might show what we cooked at home, or sharing about what small business reopened, or even singing to a Lion who recently got married. Being a Lion is also about sharing friendship and a sense of community. Especially on digital, we can’t forget that human connection.
Q. How did you get started using these tools? How do you train other members?
A. We jumped in. “Your Club, Your Way,” remember? Email, Google Calendar, Facebook Events, MyLion invites—we sent them out, posted and inputted. This helps to inform or remind to report about service projects. Much of preplanning and information sharing can still be done by email. Zoom meetings involve turning on the screen and participating. The technical and business professionals already knew how to participate in conference and Zoom calls. They helped advise other Lions in these meetings. One thing we try to do is wear our club shirts or vests to remind us that we’re part of this greater presence of world volunteers as we stay safely at home to flatten the curve. The best training is by doing and improving.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge when using digital tools for your club? Have you been able to overcome this challenge, and if so, how?
A. It’s not perfect because the tools change or evolve. We’re challenged by connectivity as network bandwidth goes up. Sometimes members need more help to participate in calls (and we’ve had our behind-the-scenes Lions troubleshoot via private message to those experiencing issues). We still continued to have our Zoom calls, eventually having other District 50 members and clubs participating in Zoom Socials or as members on our committees.
The more people participate, the more we practice and refine. To address network issues, we know who will take over as Zoom coordinators if someone has a glitch to keep the meeting going.
It was our honor when Hawaii Cyber Lions were tasked with coordinating the District 50 cabinet meeting that would have happened in person at the District Convention. The convention was cancelled due to COVID-19, but state representatives and officers met via Zoom, with hosting and coordination by Hawaii Cyber Lions.
Q. How have you been using digital tools to continue to meet and serve during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A. The digital tools help us move things “at Cyber speed,” as President Peggy likes to say! The 3D printed PPE project is our best example. One of our newest members proposed it and another new Lion took charge as committee chair. The board met via Zoom to push it along as the committee coalesced together and evolved into a statewide network of PPE makers, distributors and volunteers.
Q. What are the three most useful tips for getting started with virtual meetings that you’d like to share with Lions and Leos?
A. Plan it out, set some rules, stick to an agenda.
Don’t just talk about it. Do it. Pick the tool—Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook Rooms—and send the invites. Use the one that sticks best. Keep meeting.
Be patient. Repeat. Take the successes and glitches in stride. Remember…you’re still serving, giving your members a forum to interact with each other, and reminding them that they are part of an ohan—a “family”—of Lions.
Jacqui MacKenzie is the social media and community manager for Lions Clubs International.