By HARRY CLARKE
THE induction of a new Lions Club member aged only 19 is giving a country branch hope that the younger generation will continue embracing community service and help to keep volunteer organisations alive.
Rishabh Chhabra was honoured to recently receive his offical badge and membership status at the Chinchilla Lions Club, becoming its youngest member in living memory.
In joining at 19-years-old, Rishabh widens the age range of Chinchilla Lions members from about 30 years to more than 60 years, with the current oldest member aged roughly 80.
Rishabh, who volunteers at various other local organisations including the race club and AFL club, said he wanted to become involved with the Lions because of his passion for community service.
“I used to go down every Saturday to the RSL and I’d see the Lions Club members there doing the raffles,” Rishabh said.
“I showed an interest and thought I’d like join the club and get involved. I always liked doing community things and helping other people.
“This looked like a good way of doing that, so I decided to join and now I’m having fun.”
There’s no doubt service club membership is ageing and that such organisations are going out of fashion, admits former Chinchilla Lions Club president Doug McNally.
As such, Mr McNally said it was becoming more challenging to keep maintaining the club’s ongoing services such as local fundraising and the provision of volunteers at various community events.
But he said the interest shown by Rishabh was a positive sign that dedication to community service still existed in the younger generation.
“Volunteering definitely seems to be a foreign word to a lot of the younger generation and that’s why Rishabh sets a great example,” Doug said.
“We are lucky to have him and if he can entice a few other young people to come a long and keep it going, that’s a great thing.”
Doug said that while service club membership wasn’t as popular today as it once was, the organisations still played a vital role in country communities.
“I’ve always believed that if you live somewhere, you don’t just live there – you live in the community, you do things for the community,” he said.
“Chinchilla is tremendously lucky. There wouldn’t be many towns in Australia where they’ve got a Lions, a Rotary and an Apex club among all the other things, like the Cancer Council and all of those other people that are active in the town.”