Aside from being beloved Seal Beach events, what do the Fish Fry, the Christmas Parade, and the Arts and Crafts Show all have in common? None of these events would be possible without the Seal Beach Lions Club.
An over 300 member strong organization, the Seal Beach Lions Club assembles Seal Beach residents with a love for the town and a heart for enriching the community. According to six year member and president Seth Eaker, the club consists of “people who are interested in service for service’s sake.” “It’s not because we want recognition or awards,” Eaker emphasizes, “It’s because we want to make a difference in our community.”
Serving the Seal Beach community for over 75 years, the organization’s history dates back to 1939. Since then, the Seal Beach Lions Club has become the largest in North America and among the top 5 largest in the world. Encouraging younger generations to serve as well, the Seal Beach Lions Club also sponsors five local Leo Clubs for those aged 11 to 17.
The impact of the Lions Club is felt widely throughout the Seal Beach community. Just in this past year, the organization has sponsored the Every Fifteen Minutes program at Los Alamitos High School, begun a new Seal Beach tradition through organizing an Easter Egg Hunt, created a Ted Talk, and made it possible for the Los Al robotics team to go to nationals. The Lions Club also contributes in many lesser known ways such as through its Lions Against Graffiti program. Created by longtime member Ray Longoria, the program removed 156 graffiti tags last month. “Nobody really talks about that,” says Eaker, “We just do it.”
Even more, the Lions help sponsor and organize some of Seal Beach’s greatest signature events. Eaker predicts that, without the Lions, nearly two-thirds of Seal Beach’s major events would cease to be. “The Fish Fry would vanish, the Christmas Parade would vanish, the Pancake Breakfast would vanish, the Car Show would vanish, the Arts and Crafts Show would vanish,” says Eaker. “There would be a tremendous void created if the Lions vanished,” he stresses, “I don’t think there is any possibility of filling that gap with any current structural entity.”
Eaker encourages all Seal Beach residents to join the Lions Club. “We should be asking every citizen to be a Lion. If they’re not engaged in some type of service, we want them,” he says, “We can help them realize a passion that they might not be able to bring about by themselves. We want to help others do what they want to do to make the lives of other human beings in our community better.”
In order to become a Lion, you must be sponsored by an existing member and then be voted in by the board of directors. All members also must be eighteen or older. Those ages 11 to 17 can join one of Seal Beach’s Leo Clubs through a similar process. Eaker encourages prospective members not to be discouraged by the process, however, as almost all who wish to join are welcomed in. “It’s really pretty simple. We invite people to simply reach out to us,” he says.
Personally, Eaker calls it “an honor and a privilege to serve.” “It has certainly rededicated my love of service,” he says, “I’m really humbled and proud to be part of such an organization that not only has such a vibrant past, but an active present, and, I believe, an enriching future.”