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More than a little slice of our history: Lions Clubs New Zealand

30 May 2022

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As a charitable organisation, Camp Quality is deeply indebted to incredible supporters who make our magic – big and small – happen. In this issue of Camp Chat, a special mention is due for one of our longest and most treasured supporters: Lions Clubs New Zealand.  

Lions Clubs are more a part of our story than most realise; they originally established Camp Quality back in 1985, before later stepping back from running the camps, and instead stepping up as one of our primary donors. We are blown away by the generosity of the Lions who repeatedly heed our call and get involved in many more ways than one.   

A rich shared history

Following the success of the concept across the ditch in Sydney, the first-ever Camp Quality NZ camp took place in Auckland in 1985 – organised by Vera Entwistle, with the help of leading Lions Club member, Wilton Boyle, and his community. From there, Lions Clubs throughout New Zealand picked up the baton – forming regional committees the following year and, beyond that, we are now governed by an independent board of trustees. In recent years, Camp Quality has grown substantially with the continued support of Lions Clubs to preserve Vera Entwistle's incredible legacy.  

A spotlight on Julie and her Canterbury-based Lions  

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The bloodlines between Camp Quality and Lions Clubs New Zealand run deep in the Camp Quality Christchurch region – where we receive most of our funding through our Liaison Officer Julie Syme and her amazing friends from the majority of the 44 202E  District Lions Clubs – spanning from Golden Bay to Haast Pass, and down to Rakaia River below Christchurch. In classic Lions fashion, they are a pillar of support in the region showing endless commitment and enthusiasm for our camp initiatives.  

“Having built Camp Quality, Lions love to see it succeed,” according to Julie.  

From golf tournaments to book fairs, to bingo nights, Lions from all around the region raise thousands of dollars each year for their chosen charities. For Julie, alongside making a difference, it’s the dedication and the passion of the volunteers that sees her and her Lions wave our Camp Quality flag time and time again. Their generosity reflects their shared history with CQNZ – a relationship we hope to nurture for the many years to come.

 Answering our call for help  

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Lions Clubs not only financially support what we do here at Camp Quality, they also get stuck into the camps themselves and always step up to the plate when we need them most. Many of our South Island-based Lions aren't afraid to roll their sleeves up and get hands-on, travelling from Kaikoura to take charge of our camp kitchen each year, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lions Clubs from Kaikoura to Canterbury travel to Living Springs where camp is held. Camp Quality’s Christchurch Regional Manager Ange was amazed to hear that there was a ballot to decide which volunteers would make the trip – a testament to the invaluable enthusiasm we receive from our Lions every year.  

Lions Clubs New Zealand answered our extra call for help when COVID-19 compromised our usual camp activity in 2020 – ramping up fundraising and, in 2022, supporting the delivery of our new initiative, ‘Camp-in-a-Box’. According to Ange, their help relieved some of the pressure during a stressful and uncertain time for Camp Quality across the country.  

Lions made sure the fun wasn’t compromised this year when camp was brought to kids' home’s up and down the country. They boosted funding and generously donated competition prizes. When we had to adjust our budgeting to accommodate the new format, the Lions went above and beyond to ensure joy and fun could be delivered without the need to scale back.  

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank the Lions Clubs New Zealand for their unwavering support of Camp Quality. With their help, we can continue to do what we do best – making a difference in kids' lives across New Zealand along their cancer journey.

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