Sharing my Lions Australia MD Convention Thoughts from Melbourne

National Volunteer Week (NVW) is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and will be held on 16 – 22 May 2022. Volunteering brings people together; it builds communities and creates a better society for everyone. Within this, National Volunteer Week is a chance for all of us to celebrate and recognise the vital work of volunteers and to say thank you.

Together, through volunteering, we are (all) changing communities for the better. We are, Better Together. As Lions, #weserve

My take away notes started with the welcome to country, which shared the story of belonging and passing on (traditions and beliefs) to our next generations.

Essentially this theme was spoken of time and time again.


The theme of belonging was brought home and cemented in the statement that we are bigger than one person, one club, and we are a community which needs to sustain our future by looking to our youth.

However, as an intergenerational organisation, it also acknowledged that our “age is climbing” and from what I have personally experienced, heard and witnessed, many of our older Lions agree and are tired.

So, what to do and where to start…

In speaking with my travel companions it didn’t feel like the problem was insurmountable however, it was acknowledged that we would have to just ‘start doing’. We would need to be setting our stakes high and pressing forward with the ‘how we wish to be treated is to lead by example’ rule.

With the encouragement that everything is a blessing and we should celebrate the deserts of our collective effort, we need to look for the gift in every opportunity and become the

  • Storytellers
  • Sensemakers, and
  • Translators

Of course my PR head lapped up this thought process. It is basic PR 101.




Are you a Storymaker or a Storyteller? The answer is always BOTH. Our mind is constantly processing and broadcasting stories to make sense of the world around us.

The Storymakers Institute, says “Stories are timeless. They are told, shared, passed on and passed down. Stories have a purpose, a beginning, an end. They have layers in between, whether truthful or fictitious. Stories are secrets that unravel and unfold, asking questions, evoking emotion and inciting action.”

We know that science says that sharing stories helps people feel more connected to what you are saying.

Great stories can leave powerful impressions on us. According to media psychologist Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D., “Stories are how we are wired. Stories take place in the imagination. To the human brain, imagined experiences are processed the same as real experiences. Stories create genuine emotions, presence, and behavioural responses.



So, you’ve heard the stories, but how do you make sense of it, enough to translate it back to your own world. Meaning by way of example, how can you implement a new change such as the Lions Australia Doing Good rewards app.

There is a consensus that sensemaking is a process that allows people to understand ambiguous, equivocal or confusing issues or events.

Sensemaking is the ability to look at what has happened – to understand something better (and that better may be the future). The idea of retrospective sensemaking derives from Schutz’s (1967) analysis of “meaningful lived experience.” The key word in that phrase, lived, is stated in the past tense to capture the reality that people can know what they are doing only after they have done it. Reference

When talking about sensemakers making sense of sensemaking to make a difference… – say, some of the most important ways we can make a difference are at the micro level, those fleeting moments when we augment or diminish an experience. Examples are:

  • Giving people a voice
  • Seeking to understand another’s perspective
  • Helping another person without acknowledgement
  • Being an exemplar of professional behaviour
  • Offering hope in the face of set backs
  • Moving mountains so others can progress
  • Exercising courtesy in trying circumstances.



By now, you are most likely thinking all of this is just a way of explaining something to your fellow Lions, friends and family – or a target audience to get your message out. To be honest, I am too.

It’s also more than “Google Translate” although that service does come in very handy.

حكواتي ، صانعي الحواس ، مترجم

It is a way of living by demonstration, by encouraging others to go on a journey of discovery through the explanation set or laid out in front of them.

Translators provide the casual observer with a simplified explanation which is easily digestible. After a busy day or an overwhelming social media news feed, a simple piece of content or instruction, in context, can make so much more sense to a person that trying to decipher it all themselves.

I reflected on our District Public Relations – as I hold this position for District 201 C1 and thought, this is essentially a key role for our District Chairpersons… that of translator. Taking all the information and distilling it to ‘make sense’. I read a whole raft of information about translators in this scheme of storytelling, sensemakers and translators to see if my thoughts matched.

One of the words I stumbled over which I like is “Transcreate

Transcreation is a concept used in the field of translation studies to describe the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context. A successfully transcreated message evokes the same emotions and carries the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language.

Transcreation theory was first developed in the field of literary translation, and began to be adapted for use global marketing and advertising in the early 21st century.[1] The transcreation approach is also heavily used today in the translation of video games[4] and mobile apps.[5]

The concept of transcreation emphasises the translator’s independent creative role.[2] In the context of marketing, the professional translators engaging in transcreation are often referred to as “copywriters” or “copyeditors”, or alternatively as “transcreators”.[6]

If we look at this in a Lions District sense, where a person on becoming a Lion can be all at once overwhelmed and astonished by how much information is out there, it would be the role of District to “transcreate” our purposes back to common or rather a local community language. Because, like all organisations, we do get washed up in our own language and stories. So, translating those to the community, you could say, falls onto the shoulders of public relations, however hopefully we see it as our collective role to achieve.

And in this, may be a few new members who “finally get it”.

We are here to serve.

Salisbury Lions Club Lion Alex Coates and Glenside Lions Club President Lion John Standingford
Salisbury Lions Club President Lion Alex Coates and Glenside Lions Club President Lion John Standingford
Youth of the Year winner Lions Australia MD Convention, Melbourne.
Youth of the Year announcements for Lions Australia MD Convention, Melbourne. Image by 
Charlie-Helen Robinson, South Australian District 201C1 Public Relations
Youth of the Year announcements for Lions Australia MD Convention, Melbourne.
Charlie-Helen Robinson, South Australian District 201C1 Public Relations
Charlie-Helen Robinson, South Australian District 201C1 Public Relations

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