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Kicking Off the 31st Annual Choteau Lions Vacation Giveaway Project

The Choteau Lions Club is thrilled to announce the launch of the 31st Annual Choteau Lions Club Trip of the Month Raffle marking another exciting chapter in our community’s support for the beloved Choteau Lions Club Pool! As we dive into the 2024 swim season, we celebrate the pool’s 12th year since its grand re-opening in 2013. This vital community resource has flourished under the dedicated management and financial support of the Choteau Lions Club since 1934.

Our pool is more than just a place to swim—it’s a hub of activity, learning, and recreation. From swim lessons and swim team practices to lap swimming and countless hours of fun, the pool provides endless opportunities for our community to stay active and engaged. Despite the challenges that rural communities in Montana face in maintaining public pools, we are determined to keep this cherished facility open and thriving. This effort is made possible through the unwavering support of our community, the dedication of our volunteers, and the tireless fundraising efforts of the Choteau Lions Club.

One of our most impactful fundraising initiatives is the Choteau Lions Club Trip of the Month project. For over three decades, this project has been the primary source of funding for the pool’s yearly operating expenses. The generous contributions from both local community members and supporters from beyond Choteau have been instrumental in our success. The raffle offers participants a chance to win a fabulous vacation for two each month, thanks to our collaboration with Main Connection Travel Agency, now based in Havre.

This year winners can choose between a $2,500 Main Connection travel voucher or a $1,500 cash prize, making it an enticing opportunity for everyone involved. This year, approximately 300 tickets have been mailed to past supporters who get the first chance to purchase a ticket. Tickets are also available through Choteau Lions Club members. Our dedicated members are reaching out to new and former participants, but if you haven’t been contacted and wish to join in, you can find information brochures and tickets with any Lions Club member. Feel free to contact our project committee co-chairmen, Lion Clayton Ketcham at 406-466-2412 or Lion Tom Rogers at 406-466-5326, with any questions.

Every dollar of profit from this program goes directly to the Choteau Lions Club, supporting the pool and other vital civic and charity projects in our community. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all who contribute to this project, making a significant difference in maintaining our pool and enriching Choteau. While only 12 lucky participants will win a monthly prize, we believe everyone who purchases a ticket is a true “WINNER” for making such a valuable donation. Together, we are ensuring that the Choteau community pool remains a vibrant and essential part of our lives.

Join us in this exciting endeavor, and let’s make a splash for our community!

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Choteau Lions Club’s New Constitution and Bylaws

The Choteau Lions Club is thrilled to announce the adoption of our newly-updated Constitution and Bylaws. As a club dedicated to serving our community and enhancing our operations, this essential update reflects our commitment to best practices and to the principles of Lions International. The new governance documents follow the Lions International Club Constitution and Bylaws template, with a couple of key modifications that honor our longstanding local practices.

Key Modifications:

  1. Biennial Elections/Officer Terms: Unlike the standard annual cycle, we have codified our tradition of holding officer elections every two years, ensuring a smoother transition between leadership teams and allowing for strategic continuity.
  2. Four-Year Director Terms: We extended the alternating director terms to four years, reinforcing stability and continuity in decision-making while providing ample time for directors to implement meaningful initiatives.

Hosting on Gitbooks:

You can now access these updated documents easily and conveniently via our new Gitbooks platform at By hosting them on Gitbooks instead of our WordPress website, we can offer a modern, user-friendly platform that:

  • Improves Accessibility: The intuitive and responsive design adapts to any device, making it easier for all our members and stakeholders to stay informed.
  • Enhances Searchability: With Gitbooks’ built-in search features, you can quickly locate specific articles or sections, improving productivity and reducing the frustration of manual searches.
  • Facilitates Version Control: The platform’s version control functionality ensures that all users have access to the most current and accurate documents while maintaining a transparent update history.
  • Supports Collaboration: Gitbooks enables real-time collaboration among our leadership and committee members, streamlining future updates and making the editing process more efficient.

We encourage all members to review these documents and familiarize themselves with the updates. Your understanding and engagement with our governance framework help ensure that the Choteau Lions Club continues to operate with excellence, transparency, and dedication to our mission.

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Trip of the Month Raffle 30th Anniversary: Celebrating Community Support

The Choteau Lions Club extends its heartfelt gratitude to all supporters who have bought tickets for the ’23-24 Trip of the Month Raffle!

Proceeds from this initiative enable the Choteau Lions Club to subsidize the operating costs of the Choteau swimming pool, as well as support other civic and charitable endeavors within the Choteau community. This marks the 30th year of this project, and the unwavering dedication and support from the community and friends remain commendable. To date, over 315 dedicated supporters have bought tickets and contributed donations that will be allocated towards the Choteau pool’s expenses for 2024. The expenses for operating and upkeeping the pool rise annually. Members of the Choteau Lions Club, along with other volunteers, tirelessly work each year. Their efforts are not just limited to fundraising and maintaining pool equipment, but also encompass hiring and training staff, offering swimming lessons, and facilitating recreational activities for all age groups.

While the first winner has already been announced, tickets for the subsequent 11 monthly drawings are still up for grabs at a discounted rate. Those interested can reach out to any Choteau Lions Club member or make a purchase directly on our website:

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District 37 LCIF Giving Initiative

Our Commitment for the New Lionistic Year

The Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) can play a pivotal role in our community’s development and well-being. In August 2023, the District noted that our contributions in the past year were slightly below the usual standards.

Yearly Goal:

The District has set an ambitious target of raising $41,000. With the collective strength of 59 clubs, they believe this goal is within reach.

How We Plan to Achieve This:

  • We encourage each club to contribute $100 every other month, leading to an annual contribution of $600 per club.
  • This collective effort will amount to $35,400 over six months from all clubs.
  • With additional contributions during our annual parade of green at the convention, we are confident in meeting, if not exceeding, our target.

Your Contribution Matters:

Every member’s consistent contribution, no matter how small, can lead to significant results over time. Whether it’s a couple of dollars during meetings or larger donations, every bit helps us inch closer to our goal.

LCIF Grants:

We also urge clubs to identify opportunities within their communities where an LCIF grant could make a difference. These grants can be instrumental in supporting local initiatives and projects.

Contact for More Information:

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Celebrate 30 Years of Community Support: Announcing the 2023 Trip of the Month Raffle

The Choteau Lions’ “Trip of the Month” raffle, an exciting vacation giveaway, has been the lifeblood of the Choteau swimming pool for nearly three decades. As we step into its 30th anniversary, we reflect on how this fundraiser has kept our beloved community pool afloat.

Originally, this brilliant idea was borrowed from a Canadian Lions Club in 1993, when our own Choteau Lions Club was teetering on the brink of financial collapse. The continuation of our cherished local pool seemed bleak, with no fresh source of income in sight. Our only hope lay in the promise of this “Trip of the Month” raffle or an unexpected miracle.

The decision to proceed was not an easy one. Many of our Club members had concerns about the community’s support, especially given the pool’s deteriorating condition and the escalating cost of annual repairs. There was an air of uncertainty around the future of our community pool. Yet, deciding to “Do or Die Trying,” we plunged headlong into the Trip of the Month raffle, issuing a maximum of 300 tickets.

With a combination of relentless determination and a well-pitched sales effort, our members went door to door. Within a span of four months, every single ticket was sold, a testament to the community’s unwavering support for the pool, a support that continues to this day.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Trip of the Month raffle, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the 2023 edition of this cherished tradition. We’ve made it more convenient for you to join in on the excitement by providing two ways to purchase your ticket. You can get your ticket online, right here for a seamless digital purchase experience.

Alternatively, if you prefer the traditional method, you can purchase your ticket with cash or check directly from the Choteau Lions Club (checks can be mailed to the Choteau Lions Club at PO Box 633 Choteau, MT 59422-0617). Join us as we continue to support the heart of our community, our Choteau pool, and get a chance to win some incredible prizes. We’re grateful for your continued support and look forward to another successful year of the Trip of the Month raffle!

Now, 30 years later, the Lions Club, through its annual fundraising efforts and countless hours of volunteer time, keeps providing safe and enjoyable summer swimming opportunities. Many rural communities in Montana are grappling with the challenge of keeping their pools operational. Several have had to shutter due to high operating and staffing costs. Our Choteau pool, while vital for recreation and swim lessons, isn’t a profitable venture. Revenue from the pool doesn’t offset the costs of operations, lifeguard wages, and maintenance.

Without the Lions Club’s ongoing support and its fundraising projects, including the Trip of the Month raffle, the City of Choteau wouldn’t be able to maintain full pool operations. Remarkably, our pool is the last public pool in Montana supported and operated by a civic organization.

As Lions Club members, we hope you revel in the chance to win an incredible vacation or cash prize. Even if you don’t win, we hope you appreciate the value your contribution brings to our community. By purchasing a ticket, you’re already a “winner.” Your support in maintaining Choteau as a fantastic place to live and visit is invaluable and deeply appreciated.

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Choteau Bandshell Progresses with Help from Lions Club and Community

The Choteau Lions Club has been working hard to bring a permanent bandshell stage to the Choteau City Park adjacent to the Choteau Pavilion and Community Center. After local musician and Lions Club member Rich Clough presented the idea, the City of Choteau agreed to a location, and the Lions received an outpouring of support from the community. Donations and pledges of financial support, including a generous donation from the First Bank of Montana, provided the Lions with the confidence that this project could be accomplished and would be a welcomed asset for the community.

Lions Rich Clough and Sean Darby led the fundraising and construction efforts, and progress has been steady. Last fall, a concrete stage was constructed, and during the fall and winter months, large timber support materials were purchased and milled in Western Montana. Once they were transported to Choteau, winter work was done indoors to get ready for erection of the shell framework.

Following the recent Choteau Chamber of Commerce Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the park, the timbers were transported to the park area, and Lions Club members completed sanding the timbers while Sean and Dave began the process of measuring, notching, and preparing the framework for its erection. Once the framing is up and secured to the concrete stage, it will be ready for roofing and enclosing the side walls. Electricity for lighting and music equipment outlets will then be installed.

The Lion’s Club hopes the Bandshell will be ready to use over the 4th of July weekend, and the community is welcome to watch the progress of the project during the next couple of months. Donations for the completion of this project are welcomed and would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made online or checks can be mailed to:

Choteau Lions Club
PO Box 633
Choteau, MT 59422

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Small Efforts, Big Impact: The Choteau Lions Club’s Project to Provide Access to Resources for Improved Vision

Girl getting eye exam, examined by an eye doctor in the foreground, the child's mother in the background

The Choteau Lions Club, located in Choteau, Montana, is collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids to provide individuals in need with access to necessary resources to improve their vision and overall quality of life. Through the project, trained volunteers sort, clean, and determine the prescription strengths of the donated eyeglasses. Usable recycled eyeglasses are then carefully packaged and stored until they are needed for eyeglass dispensing missions.

If you’re interested in donating your used eyeglasses and hearing aids, the Choteau Lions Club has established various collection points in the community, including Choteau Ace Hardware, City of Choteau offices, Choteau Senior Center, and Mountain Front Family Vision. By contributing to the project through these collection points, you can help make a significant impact on the lives of individuals in need.

The project is part of the Lions Clubs International effort to address the issue of uncorrected refractive errors that affect millions of people worldwide. According to Lions Clubs International, an estimated 120 million people suffer from uncorrected refractive errors that can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. The lack of access to these resources can negatively impact the quality of life of individuals, preventing them from pursuing education or employment opportunities.

Through the Choteau Lions Club’s project, eye care professionals and trained Lion and Leo volunteers perform vision screenings and dispense the appropriate recycled glasses, free of charge, to children and adults in need. The project helps bridge the gap for those who lack access to resources and support.

The Choteau Lions Club’s project is a reminder that small efforts can make a big difference in the world. By donating used eyeglasses and hearing aids, members of the community can contribute to a worthy cause that is making a significant impact on the lives of many people.

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Tennis Courts, Swimming Pool, and Band Shell: Lions Club Makes Progress on Three Projects

First Bank of Montana-Choteau Vice President Karrie Crabtree and President Lyle Hodgskiss stand with Choteau Lions Club member Rich Clough last week at the site of the new permanent band shell being built this summer with a major $20,000 from the bank to start the project rolling. Acantha photo by Melody Martinsen

Back in 2017, the Choteau Lions Club launched a fundraising campaign through a hunting gun raffle in a bid to renovate the tennis courts situated across the street from the swimming pool. The initial target was to generate between $30,000 to $40,000 for the project, which was later revised upwards. With three more gun raffles in 2018, 2019, and 2021, the club managed to raise the required $40,000. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a delay in the renovation work due to rising costs.

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29th Annual Choteau Lions Pool Vacation Giveaway Project Begins

The 2022 swim season marks the 10th season for the new Choteau community pool since its completion and opening in 2013. The Choteau pool is unique. The pool is owned and partially funded by the city but it has been managed and financially supported by the Choteau Lions Club since the original pool was built in 1934. Annual fund-raising projects and hundreds of volunteer hours are needed each year. Most rural communities in Montana struggle to keep their pools open and some have even had to close. A pool is an important asset for the community providing recreational swimming, swim lessons, and a competitive swim team. However, a community swimming pool is not a profitable business. Pool revenue does not come close to covering the cost of operation, lifeguard wages, and pool maintenance. The Choteau pool could not stay open without the support of the Lions Club volunteers and continued community supported fund-raising projects.

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Message from District Governor Mike Collins

Where there is a need, there is a Lion

Dear Montana Lions, 

What a privilege to be the Governor for District 37.  It is very humbling following the many great district governors who have led the way before me. I want every Lion to know I do not take this position lightly, it is a lofty responsibility, and I will work hard to meet expectations.

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