SMiLE’s First Anniversary!

Follow your dream …

The theme of our International President Barry Palmer has been well adopted by a couple of visionary Belgium Lions in 2012.

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In spring 2012 Hugo DelbekeHarry Buelens and Elien Van Dille were looking for a small team of motivated social media enthusiasts within the Lions community to place the seed of their dream.

The dream:

Using social media is common practice for Lions and helps them boost the success of their mission.
Support Lions on their way to utilize the power of social media and the internet.
Encourage Lions to use or to continue to use social media.

Hugo, Harry and Elien became the founding fathers of SMiLE.
On September 8th, 2012 the initial SMiLE core team was officially given birth at the Europa-Forum in Brussels, Belgium.

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Today we are proud to celebrate our first anniversary with you. We want to say “thank you” to all of our supporters during this first year. We are also looking forward to move on together with all of you on the Lions way of social media.

Find below the full story of SMiLE …

September 8th, 2012… 1 year of SMiLE, the story…

In April 2012 the District 112-A (part of the Belgian Multi-District) was looking for some members willing to prepare a seminar about  Social Media for the 58th European Forum September 5th  till September 8th 2012 in Brussels.

Lion Tom Van Kerschaver  (LC Brugge Maritime), Lion Sylvie Louagie (LC Oostende BO4) and Lion Ludwig Van Boxelaer (LC Dendermonde) immediately embraced the idea and started working. Together with Lion Roman Jansen-Winkeln (LC Reinheim-Lichtenberg, 111-MS, Germany) they prepared and presented two social media seminars at the Lions Europa-Forum.

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In order to make all work and effort last beyond the Forum, a workgroup was setup called SMiLE (at this point in time meaning ‘Social Media in Lions Europe’).
With the help of Hugo Delbeke (Immediate Past District governor D 112A), Harry Buelens (Past District governor D 112A) and Elien Van Dille (Past Council Chairman MD112-Belgium 2009-10) and the endorsement of the attendants of the Social Media seminars, the European Council approved the official creation of the European platform for social media (SMiLE) on September 8th 2012.

The SMiLE mission was soon picked up by LCI headquarters in Oak Brook and weekly

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videoconferencing calls (Free Google Hang Outs) were establed. Together with Online Communication Manager Athen Grey from LCI the SMiLE core team discussed the mission and future of the SMiLE initiative.

In December 2012 LCI approached SMiLE with the idea to repeat SMiLE’s activities from the Europa-Forum at the International Convention 2013 in Hamburg, Germany. Still having only 4 members, the SMiLE team accepted this challenge and started their preparation.

During this phase a new member, Stefan Kaufmann (LC Rüsselsheim, 111-MS Germany) joined SMiLE. And it was Stefan who put up the question why the SMiLE team was still “labeled” ‘European’, while providing seminars for an international convention as part of an international organisation. Why not broaden the scope to Global?!

In February 2013 the SMiLE team decided, with full support of LCI, to switch officially from an European to a global scope.

Since then SMiLE reads “Social Media Including Lions Everywhere”.

Immediately the team started a small campaign to attract new members world-wide, which resulted in five new core team members:

  • Lion Winster Ceballos (LC Passaic-Clifton, 16-A, United States)
  • Lion Mahesh Chitnis (LC Edison Visionary, 16-D, United States)
  • Lion Rodney Law (LC Aspley, 201-Q3, Australia)
  • Lion Suranjan Sarkar (LC Ranchi East, 322-A, India)
  • Lion Kwame Senou (LC Cotonou Nokoué, 403-A2 Benin, Africa)

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Together the increased core team completed preparation for the International Convention and in July 2013 the whole SMiLE team managed to provide

  • four social media seminars,
  • one social media forum (with 3 online panelist and 3 live panelists) and
  • a social Media lounge for helping Lions register on social media platforms…

to the Lions community at the International Convention in Hamburg, Germany.
It turned out as a great success.

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Even IP Barry Palmer showed up at the social media lounge and congratulated SMiLE chairman Tom Van Kerschaver and the whole team to their great job.

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The SMiLE core team is looking forward to continue on their way together with all of their fellow Lions world-wide!


  • Is an initiative to centralize all information about social media for use in Lions Clubs.
  • Is a project that supports Lions Clubs to use social media in their social mission.
  • Wants to build a network that supports Lions in using social media to serve the community and the misfortunes worldwide.

Tom Van Kerschaver
Chairman SMiLE

Author: Tom Vam Kerschaver
Co-Author: Stefan Kaufmann
Seminar presentations available for download

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@lionsclubs … We know, you have been waiting for this since you came back home from the International Convention 2013 in Hamburg (#lcihamburg) …

Finally we proudly present our updated convention web page with all download links for our seminar presentations. All files are in PDF format and contain the slides we presented to you. Download can be launched by either using the links or the QR codes provided.

You are just one more click away from the SMiLE seminar presentations, just click this link:

SMiLE International Convention 2013 Seminar presentations (Download)

Please read and adhere to the usage policy at the first slide of each presentation!

#lcihamburg - remember? :-)

Dear Lion friends,

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picture provided by LCI Convention web page

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picture provided by LCI Convention web page

We all had a great time being at the international convention in Hamburg and the SMiLE team really enjoyed meeting and discussing with you. You showing that incredible interested in Social Media and Internet within Lions made all our efforts a big success -
thank you for that!

And a big thank you to all who supported us and made this possible!

The SMiLE team is now – as you guys – on their way home. So bear with us for a moment about updates and documents.

We try to compile great stuff for all of us summarizing the #lcihamburg from a “smiling” perspective.

Stay tuned!