March 6, 2016

When Kempton Lions Club member Tom Kerr was seeking a project for the year, he leveraged his other civic involvement to identify needs in the community. The Kempton Lions Club is a rural club in the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania. Kerr, a Kempton area resident, also sits on the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation board and was heavily involved in Leaser Lake environmental issues and outdoor activities.

One idea identified by the Heritage Foundation was to make the lake more accessible to those with handicaps and mobility limitations. This was of special concern to Kerr’s friend and Heritage Foundation board president, George White. White is an environmental engineer whose younger brother is an avid outdoorsman who is wheelchair bound. The foundation had numerous ideas to improve the lake and provide access, including paved nature trails, wheelchair-accessible picnic grove and tables, as well as an adaptive fishing pier and ADA kayak launch. While the ideas were easy to generate, the money was not. That’s where Kerr’s affiliation brought in the expertise of the Kempton Lions Club.

Lions Clubs strive to encourage volunteerism with the goal of improving local and global communities. The idea of an ADA fishing pier and adaptive kayak boat launch was a perfect fit. Kerr presented the idea to his local club, who quickly jumped on board. Through local fundraising activities, the Kempton Lions Club and neighboring Ontalaunee Lions aided Kerr through grant writing to the Pennsylvania Lions Foundation and International Lions Foundation. All told, the manufacturing and installation of both the ADA fishing pier and ADA kayak launch totaled $57,000.

The Kempton Lions Club not only made a huge impact in their local area, but also in the region — Many adaptive kayakers and paddlers enjoy the facility because it’s the only adaptive launch of its kind in a 100-mile radius. Additionally, the project serves as an inspiration to other civic clubs, both small and large, demonstrating that big impacts can be made through their commitment of community service.

If you would like to bring an ADA fishing pier or kayak boat launch to your community, contact BoardSafe to learn more about grant opportunities, fundraising techniques, and product options, at 610-899-0286.