Monday, June 2, 2008

Orland Lions get their dander up over criticism of Orland Days Parade

I went to the Orland Days Parade this past week, but decided not to go to the Orland Days festival. The fact is the past three years of Orland Days have been a real disappointment. They just haven't been the same as they were in past years where the quality of the events seemed to far better. That doesn't mean the volunteers who work hard each year with no pay do not deserve credit for their efforts. But it does mean that something has been wrong and recognizing that wrong should be as important as patting yourself on the back.

So, I wrote about my feelings about Orland Days and the parade for the TribLocal, which has a popular segment called "Citizen Journalism." I expressed my admiration for the efforts of the Lions volunteers -- they are all volunteers, but also expressing my feelings that the quality just hasn't been the same.

Dave Neubauer, President of the Orland Park Lions Club which hosts and organizes the event, wasn't too happy about the criticism. They always love the praise but some just hate to be held to the standard of accountability.

But Neubauer made some good points. The volunteers worked hard to make the festival as good as it was. Maybe I will bring my family back to it next year -- we've attended everyone except this year, intentionally because last year's just wasn't that great at all. That's my opinion, but, it must be one shared by many Orland Park residents because I just didn't see that many at the Parade.

Now, the fact is I made some legitimate criticism that Neubauer either doesn't want to hear or he just doesn't agree with:

1 -- turnout at the parade was low. Why?

2 -- the past few years of Orland Days have been terrible, among the worst of any prior year.

3 -- It could have been a lot better.

4 -- With the economy tanking, it just didn't seem like a place where I wanted to spend my money.

I will say that Neubauer may be too sensitive to criticism, but he is a volunteer trying to do good. My suggestions to him include: doing a better job of public relations. Bring some volunteers in to help you do a better PR Campaign. Second, if this year was better than past years, you can't say it was the best and not acknowledge the poor performances of the past. Say that the past years haven't beebn the best but that the Lions are trying to do better. I think in fairness to Neubauer I should say he deserves applause and credit for doing what he can. At least he has his eyes on the priority, making it better and achieving the goals of the Lions organizations, which is one of the nation's best community service groups.

One of the things that everyone should keep in mind is is that good leaders are not people who pat themselves on the back. Good leaders are individuals like him who demonstrate that they are "accountable" to the publics they claim to serve by accepting both praise and criticism. Criticism is not destructive but rather a necessity to help make public good even better.

Dave Neubauer and the Lions Club deserve a lot of praise for what they have done for Orland Days ... I know they will make it better next year.

Ray Hanania

1 comment:

  1. Im am a daughter of a very involved Lion's member and feel as though your opinion is fair to have, but not valid if you did not attend the festival. Yes, in the past 4 years, Orland Days has been a festival with good intentions that fell short on providing the best entertainment. I can say, without a doubt, this year was the best it has ever been. The bands were great, no major problems occurred, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The parade was better than the past and the location and weather were perfect. For you to make comments such as the Lions were offended by your comments and can not handle critism is ignorant. You have no clue how much time, energy, money, and manpower goes into making 4days happen and for you to make judgements is uncalled for. Year and year they are continuing to bring good to the community of Orland and then people like you bring them down. Granted, I do not know you and do not care to frankly, but unless you are willing to dedicate your time then shut up. Why was the turnout from the parade so low? Because everyone was recovering from the fun at the carnival and live band!