Tail Twisting Guide
The Tail Twister within the Lions Clubs International Organization is one of the most fun, most rewarding, and most challenging jobs a Lion can have. In my 20 plus years as a Lion, I have been the Club, Zone, and District Tail Twister. I have read articles about Tail Twisting, researched on the Internet, gave presentations on Tail Twisting; spoke with Lions Clubs International (LCI) about Tail Twister information, spoke with other Tail Twisters, and read minutes of many different clubs meetings to see what their Tail Twisters do to make the meetings fun. And on two different times, about one year apart I did “posts” on the LCI website and requested Tail Twisting ideas from Lions members around the world, approximately 1.3 million people. My first post did not receive a single response, my second post, and request for ideas received one response. One response from 1.3 million people!
What have I learned? I have learned that Tail Twisting is unique to each person doing the task. I learned that there are some limitations on the Tail Twisters, some are limited to what they can do by “club tradition”, limited by the Tail Twister’s internal motivation-enthusiasm, limited by time at the meeting, limited by lack of support from the club officers and many other hurdles they must overcome.
What have I discovered? I have discovered that there are many Lions who are, or would like to be the club Tail Twister. Before they would, they wanted good, quality, and helpful training to give them some ideas and basic guidelines to get them started. We have training for virtually every other officer in Lions, why not the Tail Twister. So, this Guide is for all those Lions who would like to be the Tail Twister, but just needed the training, a step-up, encouragement, and basic ideas to get you started.
Lastly, some of the ideas included are mine, some from other Tail Twisters I know, some from different Lions meetings I have attended, and many are a compilation from other Lion and nonlion articles and research.
This amazingly valuable resource was written by Lion Bruce Beck from Palisade, MN.
Tail Twister Duties
Taken from the Lions Clubs International Officers Club Manual, the Tail Twister’s duties are; He/she promotes harmony, good fellowship, and enthusiasm in the meetings through appropriate stunts and games and the judicious imposition of fines on club members. There shall be no ruling from his/her decision in imposing a fine, provided, however, that no fine shall exceed an amount fixed by the board of directors of the club, and no member shall be fined more than twice at any one meeting. The Tail Twister may not be fined except by the unanimous vote of all members present. All monies collected by the Tail Twister (optional) shall be immediately turned over to the treasurer and a receipt be given.
History of the Tail Twister
The following depicts the history of the Tail Twister as taken from the LION magazine, March 2009, page 23. The concept of Tail Twisting predates Lions clubs by two centuries. Private clubs in England in the early 1700s good-naturedly fined members for telling tales or for using another member’s tobacco. But Lions perfected the practice of club hijinks. Tail Twisting had its origins in the pep committees formed at the chartering of the downtown Detroit club in 1920. The committees then shifted down to a “single, energetic personality,” according to The World’s Biggest Doers: The Story of the Lions.
“We were trying to find some way to liven up Lion meetings,” recalled Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions clubs in 1917. “One fellow who had been born on a farm said that what used to be done; when a cow refused to go through the gate, someone would grab her by the tail and twist. We all laughed, but one of the boys said, ‘Why isn’t that a good name?’ “We already had decided on ‘Lion Tamer’ for the sergeant-at-arms, so it seemed logical to confer the title ‘Tail Twister’ on the chairman of the pep committee.”
But the international board, “in a huff of offended dignity, issued an edict against use of the low-comedy term,” according to the Lions history book. The question was batted about at board meetings for a few years until International President Ray Riley in 1929 “got up at a session in Washington one day and told them they were taking themselves too seriously,” Riley added that clubs would have tail twisters “whether the board likes it or not.”
The role was established but the name remained in flux. Even by 1941, the LION Magazine could write: “Of all the novel and rich experiences which await the new Lion, none strikes him so forcibly as his introduction to that “Demon of the Dime,’ that ‘De-bunker of Dignity,’ known as the ‘Spizzerinkter’ or “Tail Twister.’ The Tail Twister, as we prefer to call him, is about the only absolute dictator we know who enjoys the affection of those whom he oppresses.”
Other Lions apparently preferred Tail Twister, too, and somewhere along the line, Spizzerinkter-fortunately-was dropped.
Basic Guidelines for Tail Twisting
This is taken in whole or in part from The International Association of Lions Clubs pamphlet S-231. How do some Tail Twisters manage to keep club meetings lively and fun for all? How do they maintain the good-natured informality that inspires comradeship among club members? What is their secret in keeping meetings cheerful? And where do they come up with their bags of tricks, their rib-poking methods of getting laughs and money from fellow Lions?
Their primary goal is not to raise money, but to inject fun and laughter into club meetings to help prevent them from becoming dull. Practically every club with continually well-attended meetings has an active Tail Twister who keeps members alert and looking over their shoulders to see what he/she’s up to. The Tail Twister must never intentionally embarrass a fellow Lion or guest or interrupt a speaker. The money collected is of secondary importance. The principal reason for the Tail Twister’s antics is to generate fun and, in so doing, prevent meetings from becoming boring. The goals of Lionism are, of course, serious. Community betterment and aid to the sick, the handicapped, the elderly and the destitute are the noble objectives of Lions International. However, good times and fellowship are important, too. They’re important to the members who enjoy each other’s company and who welcome some hearty laughs at meetings. When these meetings combine the serious business of Lionism with Tail Twister-inspired fun, the resulting spirit of comradeship will maintain full attendance and significantly raise the level of enthusiasm. This means an active, highly motivated club, one better able to meet the challenge of planning and conducting successful service programs.
The following information is taken from the LION magazine, March 2009. Granted, Tail Twisting sometimes can seem old-fashioned and corny. But, Tail Twisting generally is alive and well. Lions say it builds camaraderie and puts all members on the same level no matter their age, gender, or job. It reinforces the notion that, yes, service to those in need is serious and important but let’s have some fun while we do it. Society often is a whirl of change and traditions fall by the wayside. But a Tail Twister is a comforting sign of permanence and stability. It remains one of the most distinctive characteristics of being a Lion. A Tail Twister can actually make or break a meeting as far as people having a good time. In one quick sentence: They’re in charge of the fun. We don’t want a sterile environment. And that’s where the Tail Twister’s job is probably a little more complicated. You don’t want to offend anybody, but you also want to have fun. What hasn’t changed is the qualifications for the job: Someone who is outgoing with a good sense of humor, who’s not afraid to get up in front of people, and sometimes make a fool out of yourself. A Tail Twister is a person who plans well, so that people afterwards will go, “Wow, that a really cool.” The last thing you want is for the president to say, the Tail Twister has the floor, and everybody groans.
Tail Twisting is a kind of glue that binds members. The art of Tail Twisting can be a bit messy and awkward, but for many clubs it beats the alternative --- not having a traditional, reliable way to build cohesion. Fun is fundamental to being a Lion and the Tail Twister keeps the laughs coming. So, if we can keep the mood light, fun, social, that helps attract new members and retain our current members. It just keeps everyone excited about Lions.
REMEMBER: Tail Twisting is probably the hardest job in Lionism. It takes someone who is uninhibited and willing to spend time researching timely issues, planning humorous activities, and how to make the members relax before, during or after a stress-filled day. The Tail Twister is the salvation to a good club meeting, he/she lets the members forget their problems and have a fun meeting with fellow Lions. When the meeting is over, it IS the Tail Twister they will remember.
Do's and Don'ts of Tail Twisting
Plan ahead for your meeting
Limit Twisting time to 10 minutes
Extract humor & laughter with jokes, puns, witticisms, mimicry, acting, singing, etc.
Move about the room, motion is lively
Be enthusiastic, smile, and laugh
Mention and welcome visitors (without fining them)
Have a different activity for every meeting
Inspire & promote fun in others
Speak loudly and clearly
Be original and creating in your planning
Have a creative bank to collect money; don't just put it in a cup or your pocket
Keep fines reasonable.
Be creative, professional, police, and have fun
Have a "no change" policy
Be the center of attention, and command respect
Use position to keep meetings interesting, on track, and maintain order
Know your crowd and use diplomacy
Don't insult anyone
Don't use vulgar jokes or language
Don't make anything personal
Don't fine guests
Don't just tell a joke
Don't interrupt the Speaker, President, or an ongoing program
Don't take yourself too seriously
Don't underestimate what your members will do
Don't always pick on the same people
Don't be crude, be imaginative!
Don't make anyone feel uncomfortable
Don't make anyone feel unwelcome
A good tail twister knows when to stop and not push their luck too far
Lions International says: Fining members is a key element of a successful Tail Twister. But fining for funds only and not for fun is a mistake. Where possible, a good Tail Twister should fine every member at least once every second meeting. It might be considered in poor taste to have a member continually overlooked in fining because that Lion may well come to feel that he/she is not really part of the club. By fining, the Tail Twister involves everyone and assists the president in general management of the meeting.
Having stated the above, there is still room for discussion, discretion, and diplomacy when it comes to fining. As previously stated, Tail Twisting is Not About the Money! You will go far as a Tail Twister if you use that as your guidepost. I will put out the following information for your consideration; you know your own club and what principal would apply best to your situation. It has been discussed that “fining” unto itself promotes a negative context, instead of fining, it has been suggested that everyone pay an “admission fee” to play the game, watch the skit, etc. By all paying admission, you collect the funds without the negative connotation. Another version of fining is to now call it “donation”. When you go about the room with your Tail Twist time, you collect donations from people instead of fines. Still, some clubs like the history and tradition of fines and expect to get “fined” at their meeting. All are good techniques and useful depending upon the situation you are in. I have used all three methods in different circumstances and all were received well. If you want, mix it up and rotate them just to keep your club members on their toes.
The Tail Twister's Calendar
Plan ahead before the start of your year, get out a calendar and highlight all your club meeting dates. Indicate which club meetings have a special program, i.e.: charter anniversary night, Christmas Party, installation of new officers, etc. Next, look at the possibilities to tie in your Tail Twisting activity to a calendar event. The following is a list of numerous annual events, seasonal Tail Twisting are very timely and fun.
The New Year
St. Patrick's Day
April Food's Day
Back to School
and any other days you can think of
Remember when Twisting to Speak Loudly and Slowly. Members need to be able to hear and to understand what it is you are trying to do, or have them do. If they cannot hear or understand you, the fun you were trying to create will be lost.
Prizes: Quite often I stop at dollar stores or second hand shops. They are great for Tail Twisting prizes. I keep a large supply of Tail Twister prizes in a large plastic tub so I can be flexible and ensure I have “interesting” prizes for my contests, games, or auctions.
Standards for Fines
These are the old tried and true ideas that Tail Twisters have been doing for years. I would not recommend using them all the time, but they are still useful, quick to deliver, and very effective depending upon the circumstances. So…. Here ya go!
Members who: arrive late, or too early, do not have on a vest, name tag, Lions pin, etc. Fail to use “Lion” before every name when talking. Talk too long giving a report, etc.
Hair—too long, too short, wrong color, too curly, too bald, etc.
Uniform of the Day at your next meeting: mis-matched socks, rope instead of a belt, specific color hat, shirt, etc. Donation from all for playing, winner doesn’t pay.
Wear your “wildest”: one month hat, next month T-shirt & jeans, next month sweater, ugly sweater contest, backwards clothes day, etc. Donation from all for playing
Cause to celebrate: If one or two have cause, get up and tell about it- new grandkid, anniversary, etc., fine everyone who didn’t have a cause.
During meetings, a Lion may be called upon by the Tail Twister to stand and formally introduce another Lion (picked by the Tail Twister). Any mistake in the introduction, fined!
For quick impromptu fining, pose riddles or ask tricky questions. Go right down the tables or move around with the questions. Fine for wrong answers
Magic Word: Give a slip of paper to the club president. On it is written a word. The first Lion to use that word during the meeting will be fined.
Tail Twister directs that each member pay the fine of the member to the right (or left). Usually this will generate more fines or activity since the person does not have to pay their own fine. (may need to set limits)
Have the meal served with no flatware on the table, Lions pay for their silverware if they want it to eat, or no drink cup, etc.
President: for starting the meeting late, early, failing to laugh at a members joke, closing the meeting without the proper motion.
Secretary: for not taking good notes, for falling behind, etc
Treasurer: for counting money during the meeting, for not giving a report.
Members: for poor posture, too erect, to quiet, too boisterous, too alert, daydreaming.
As in all things, these are only suggestions that others have done. Please feel free to change, adapt, or modify them to fit your club. Once you feel comfortable, your own ideas for Tail Twisting will probably work the best for you.
Membership Survey: In order to help the newsletter editor to do a regular member profiles, I put together a fun survey for the members to fill out at a meeting. There were questions to do with Lionism, and personal “getting to know” questions. I passed it around, and encouraged everyone that they could have fun with the answers if they wanted (i.e. Why did you decide to join Lions? ‘Because Heather made me!’ is a perfectly acceptable answer, and makes the writing of the profile a bit more fun.) Afterwards I collected all the surveys, and charged everyone who did NOT fill it in completely. I was amazed that only two people filled it out completely, so I collected a lot of money that night! 8 This survey can also be extremely useful when you have to purchase a gift for a member, or an award or something, because you can include questions like ‘What are your hobbies or interests?’ If, for example, they say something like golf, playing cards, and gardening, you’ve now got some great gift ideas. Also, you can use the information in that question as a resource for guest speakers. One of our members loves skydiving, so I plan to have him share his experiences as one of our programs. Another loves wine making, he can bring samples and talk about his hobby!
Ask your membership, What happens to a guinea pig’s eyes when he’s picked up by the tail? Many answers include; the eyes bulge, they roll, etc. Every member who gave an answer or incorrect answer was fined. Guinea pig’s have NO tail!
Ask your membership, What do you think a Turkey Dinner should cost. You will receive many guesses. The correct answer is about 25 cents, a handful of crushed corn.
During your meeting, confide that you are behind in your budget and will accept all offerings at the close of the meeting. Ask the members to let their conscience guide them. When the meeting is adjourned, the Tail Twister hurries to the exit, places his bucket in front of him and gets down on his knees, hoping to touch the consciences of his fellow Lions.
The Tail Twister puts a drawing of an object, item of note, etc., in the club newsletter. Lions failing to identify it at the next meeting are appropriately fined.
Ask your membership, How many 9’s are there between 1 and 100? Only allow them so much time to think about it. Correct answer is 20.
Don’t lose your marbles: Give each member a marble at one meeting and they have to bring it to the next meeting. Those who forget are fined.
Silent Greeter: This encourages all members to greet one another at each meeting. Assign a Silent Greeter and everyone who didn’t shake his/her hand gets fined.
Pass out newspapers and have members make a “paper hat” and wear it. Now that they have their thinking hats on, come up with new or profound ideas. Anyone who doesn’t gets fined.
Straw Paper long jump. Collect a donation from all for admission fee. Get drinking straws in paper wrappers and pass them out to each member. Have them tear off one end, blow in the other and try to make their wrapper fly the furthest. Winner should get a gag prize.
Anniversary Night: Have all members stand up and announce to all how many years they have been married, fine them for each year married. You will have to be sensitive to the single, widowed or divorced members in attendance and come up with a separate fine for them.
In March: Everyone is Irish. Direct everyone to address each other with an Irish sounding name during the course of the meeting, such as O’ Ralph, Mc-Alice, etc. Anyone caught not doing so is fined 25 cents for each occurrence.
Prom Night: Ask every member to bring in a picture of themselves from their high school prom. Attach the photo to a glass jar. Ask the members to choose their favorites by dropping the coins or bills into the respective jars. The winner gets half or all the jar’s contents and the club gets the rest.
Table Setting Ideas: Use the table settings to create tail twisting fines. Using 3 or 4 different seasonal stickers on the placemats and have a different fine amount for each. This could also be done with colored napkins or placemats. Use seasonal table favors at each place setting with a hidden message telling what their fine is, i.e.: plastic Easter eggs.
Blame a member for something he/she didn’t do, if they object, fine them for NOT doing it. It works if done in good taste.
Happy Dollar: Allow some time for Lions to contribute a dollar and brag about themselves, their kids, grandkids and so on. It’s 30 seconds of advertising for $1. Be sure to fine them if they go on too long.
Auctions: have auctions to help raise funds for the club. Don’t take too long. Something quick and fun. Maybe folks pay NOT to get the item.
Salute the Flag: Most clubs use the Pledge of Allegiance as part of their program. The Tail Twister ask each member who wrote it and when. Francis Bellamy wrote it in August 1892, in Rome, New York for a public school celebration. Fine those who fail.
Historic or Lions Events: The same idea as above, using other events. By using Lions information, you can educate the club as well. The Lions Orientation Guide is a good source of information, as is The Lion magazine.
News of the Day: Club President appoints a different member each week to stand and ask another member of his/her selection two questions pertaining to the news of the day. If he/she answers both questions, the member asking pays the fine. If he/she can’t answer, then they pay the fine.
Tit for Tat: Arrange with a neighboring club to exchange meetings. The other club comes to your meeting and their entire staff of officers takes over and runs the meeting in their own way. The other club does everything such as bringing their own speaker, stunt man, song leader, etc. When your club visits them, your officers take over in a similar manner. This make for two wonderful meetings s each club tries to outdo the other!
Fluxed: When a member’s birthday falls during the week, serve them a special meal at the meeting or provide them special recognition. Then fine them for taking up too much time at the meeting.
WELCOME FRIENDS: When the guests are being introduced, be sure to do it in this manner: “And now, we have a guest from Pequot Lakes, MN, Howard Jones.” All members shout, “Hi Howard!” Be sure to mention their names last in the introduction. Fine members who are too loud too soft, or too annoying.
Good Old Days: Call on Past President to tell the most important or most amusing thing that happened while they were in office. Lots of fun and good for the club.
Honor the Veterans: Place members who have been Lion for 10-15-20+ years at the head table. Have them give a short talk, sing a song, or tell a story. This is appreciated, as they feel they are looked up to, as they should be.
SUGGESTION: occasionally, if a member is clever enough to out-smart-you, and in doing so, provides laughter and entertainment for the other members of the club, pay him out of the Tail Twister pot, or, you pay in instead of that member.
If you weigh more/less than on your driver’s license, pay a donation. If someone claims it is right on or correct, must show their drivers license as proof. What color is Bald on a driver’s license?
If a members picture was in the local paper and they did not mention that they were a Lion in the article, collect a donation.
If a member goes on a trip and does not send a post card to the club.. Donate!
Cut out news articles from the paper. At the club meeting, read the article out loud and insert members names instead of those listed in the article.
Auction: a “monthly” Pass It On card. A card that allows the holder of the card to pass a fine on to anyone he chooses in the club.
Special Presentations to members: This always brightens the meeting, a hairbrush to a bald headed member, gardening tool to a gardener, etc.
Special Recognition: If any member has: their picture in the paper, gets married, good golf score, new car, anniversary, promotion at job, business trip, birth in family, tales form fishing trips, new home, or an important announcement. The Tail Twister should always recognize these things to the entire membership. Get donations accordingly to the event.
Introductions: As they are seated at the dinner table, each person must introduce the one sitting on their left side in one minute. This gives them three minutes to find out all about the person and then introduce them to the group when called upon.
Mixed Company: As each person enters the meeting room, they are given a number at random. Before the meeting starts, numbers are drawn and you sit with the pair numbers as drawn for the evening. Example: 1&2 sit together, 3&4 sit together, etc.
Have all members bring in a childhood photo to the next meeting, usually under the age of ten. Before the meeting begins, display them all on a table and have the members guess who is in each photo and write it on a piece of paper and turn in to the Tail Twister. At Tail Twist time, count to see who got the most correct answers. They do not have to pay fine, all others do.
Match game: After Xmas or Valentines Day, pass around a sheet and have ½ the club write down what their partner gave them. Then have the other half of the club try to match the gift with the Lion that wrote it down.
“Getting to know You” Jeopardy: topics you could use include; middle name, top 2 bucket list, nickname in grade school, If I could have another profession, etc. Make up your own topics, very fun and get to know each other better!
Lying Lions: The tail twister contacts one Lion before the meeting and asks them to get up tell a story about themselves, it can be real or completely made up! The members then have to give a ‘thumbs-up or thumbs-down” if the story is true or false! Losers have to pay.
The Tail Twister brings in a cake and places it at the head table and challenges the members to guess the number he had placed beneath it. Each Lion was charged for his guess and the closest guess won the cake. The real drama unfolded when the winning Lion tried to cut into the cake. The Tail Twister had a block of wood inside some Styrofoam panels in the shape of a cake and his wife covered it with chocolate icing.
A stuffed Lion or appropriate item is raffled by the Tail Twister at the first meeting of each month. The highest bidder is awarded the Lion and thereby is fine free for that month. However, he must carry it to every club meeting that month. Failure to bring it results in a fine and if he loses the Lion, he’s fined until he recovers it.
Spelling Bee: The Tail Twister invites four or five school children about 11 or 12 years old for a spelling bee with club members. (Alas, Lions seldom win).
Twenty Questions: Tail Twister sells them paper to write on for a buck, can rent a pen for a quarter. The one with the most questions correct wins a prize.
Play with games like Trivial Pursuit or Brain Teaser. Collect an admission fee from all before the game begins. Prize for the winner is nice.
Famous People: Charge everyone $1 admission and put names of famous people on pieces of paper or sticky labels. Stick one on the forehead of each person in the room, and tell them they have to play 20 questions or ask yes or no questions with other members to figure out whom they are. One question per person, then they have to move on to someone else. This gets everyone one up and talking to each other. Can award a prize to the first one or two who guess their secret identity.
East Egg decorating contest: Tail Twister brings in 3 dozen pre-colored eggs and a supply of craft items to meeting. (colored paper, scissors, glue, sparkles, felt, pens, etc.) Each person “bought” an egg for a buck and was told, the Easter Bunny was running behind, and needed our help to decorate more eggs. He had given me some incentive prizes to encourage creativity. I brought five prizes, each something to do with Easter, like large chocolate Easter bunnies or chocolate eggs, etc. This was lots of fun and people were very creative.
Needle in the haystack: Bring a LARGE bowl filled with rice, and a box of two dozen paper clips. At the beginning of the meeting, sell each person a draw ticket, and draw three numbers. The three “winners” each come up to play the game. Drop the paper clips into the rice and mix it all up well. Then blindfold each of the contestants. The object is for them to sift through the rice 11 and fine as many paper clips as possible, without throwing out any rice. Give them 60 seconds, any longer and it gets boring.
Famous Couples: Come up with about 20 sets of famous couples (more if you have a larger membership), preferably with different last names. Separate all the names, and have each person draw a name out of a hat. The object is for each “couple” to find each other. Then, announce that the couples must sit together. This is a good way to break up cliques. “Hint”- keep the couples’ names together until you do a count of all the people in attendance. Then cut the papers to separate the names, so you don’t end up with odd numbers.
Tabulate the Tabs: Fill a one liter pop bottle full of pop can tabs (our club collects them for an organization). Stick a label on the bottle that says “Tabulate the Tabs” and passed it around for everyone to guess at how many were in there. This is a great game, because the amount of tabs is very deceiving. The hardest thing for you will be to count them all first. There were over 1, 100 tabs in the pop bottle. Charge a buck per guess, and give a prize to the person who guesses closest without going over. You can use any interesting shaped container for this as long as it is clear.
Left, Right and Over: Write a one-page (single spaced) story that continually used the words “left”, “right”, and “over”. (works well with a story that involves giving someone directions) and read the story out loud. Before you start, hand one of the members a wrapped gift. As you read the story, every time you say the word LEFT, the person holding the gift had to pass it to their left. Every time you said the word RIGHT, they passed it to their right, and every time you say the word OVER, they passed it to someone over at the next table. This got to be hilarious, as the gift was being tossed back and forth, and when it’s long tables, someone is usually running down to the other end to pass the gift. (make sure it’s not breakable). At the end of the story, whoever is holding the gift gets to keep it. Don’t read the story too fast, though, and you can emphasize the key words.
New Year’s Resolutions: Have every member submit their New Year’s resolution as they enter the meeting. Charging all a buck entry fee for the game. The game could then be to match the member to the resolution (hand out paper before they are read) or, create a betting game where the members have to decide if the person whose resolution is being read have kept or broken their resolution since Jan. 1st .
Word Scramble: Create a word scramble and charge each member a buck for the game sheet. You can create words from a recent Lion’s activity or from an article in The Lion Magazine. Prize to the member with the most correct answers.
Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items that could be found in the meeting place or in a member’s possession. The person that finds the most is charged extra for being so snoopy.
Membership Test: We all need to review the history of the Lions. Create a test with multiplechoice answer. You can make the choices serious or silly. Charge a buck for the test. Prize to the top-scoring member.
Mixer Activity. To encourage members to not always sit with the same people create a matching game. The member must sit with the person whose game piece matches theirs. Game pieces could be old greeting cards cut in half or the first and second half of famous quotes. The game pieces would need to be distributed shortly after most people arrive.
Best Poker Hand: This works best at meetings where members are sitting at different tables. The members seated around a table are asked to pay a buck for five cards. The cars are dealt to the members. The person who has the highest hand gets their dollar back or a gag prize.
Go Fishing: Put an assistant in a large box with a hole cut in the top and have members go fishing. Catches are items applicable to the fisher if possible. A fish for a fisherman, bra for a lady member, toy car for a car sales man. And finally (last) the assistant is caught, DRESSED SILLY when the President or visiting DG, PDG goes fishing.
SmellOvision: Charge all $1 donation for playing. Tail Twister gets 5 small bottles, fill them with cotton & puts some of the following in them: whiskey, Clorox, ammonia, vanilla, kerosene, 12 perfume, sour milk, vinegar, pine oil, smelling salts, rubbing alcohol, peppermint, witch hazel, et. The bottles are numbered and passed around to the members who write down the bottle number and their best guess. Prize for who gets the most correct.
Spelling for Dough: Charge a $1 donation for playing, or $1 for a sheet of paper. Then Each member writes their name at the top of a sheet. Read the following list and have the members spell it out on their paper.
Recommend, Accommodate, Vilify, Innuendo, Inoculate, Desiccate, Piccalilli, Supersede, Repellent, Embarrass, Harass, Diminutive, Separate, Picnicking, Irascible, Rhythm, Chinquapin, Rarefy
They are not easy. After the list is read, correct as you give the correct spelling. Each word correctly spelled is worth 10 points. One with highest score wins one-half of entry fee while the rest goes in the kitty.
SILENCE: After eating, have member be entirely silent for five minutes. They can use signs, make notes, or express themselves anyway silently. No talking, not even to the waiter. Blow whistle to start and stop the period. Fine those who break the silence.
Who Am I: Names of people, real, living, dead, or fictional are printed in advance on small slips of paper. These are pinned to the backs of members as they enter the room and They Are to Find Out Who They Are! This is a sure way to get people mixing.
With a deck of cards, play “high card”. Tail Twister only draws once, make sure you draw a Queen. Then go around to members with the deck and let them draw to try and beat you. If they do, no fine, if they don’t, pay up!
Shaking Dice: With and assistant and dice cups and using three dice in each cup. Members get 1 or 2 shakes to try & get 3 of a kind in one shake. If they do, they do not have to pay a fine, otherwise pay up!
Lions Calendar Signature Game (Calendar is at the back of this handout): Charge $1 admission for the calendar & game. Pass out the calendars, give members no more than 10 mins to get as many signatures as possible, no person can sign more than 2 times on any one calendar. Top signature getter a prize, if a tie, have a tiebreaker question ready.
With the Quotable Quotes game, write one half of the quote on one sheet of paper and the 2nd half on another sheet of paper. Have members draw the quotes from a hat. The two halves must fine each other. Just a fun game, if the two lions can name the author of their quoted, they do not have to pay the fine.
Pass out a small piece of paper, have each lion write down something unique about him or herself that most people don’t know. Collect all, read them out loud and have club members guess who wrote it. At the end, pass the hat; all pay a donation for playing.
Write a word on a large piece of paper. Have members get into pairs. Have one pair at a time come to front and show word to one of them, then show word to members. The lion now has 15 seconds to give clues to other lion to get them to say the word. The team that gets the lion to say the word the quickest does not have to pay a fine. (No help from the membership)
Pass out different colored pieces of paper to members at the beginning of the meeting. Members have to sit with others having the same color, at least 4 to 6 lions per color. At Tail Twist time, assign each color an activity to act out by giving them a piece of paper with the activity on it. Don’t say it out loud so others can hear. Give them 2-3 minutes to plan how to do the activity. Then have each color act out their activity and other members have to guess what it is. The actors can make sound effect noises, but not speak! When all are done, membership votes on best performance, winners do not have to pay fine, (or get a gag prize), all others do. The following are just some examples of activities you can assign, or think up your own, i.e.: riding on a merry-go-round, a clothes washer, water skiing, sky diving, firemen putting out a fire, driving bumper cars at county fair, driving in a demolition derby, showing a cow/bull at county fair, contestants in a beauty pageant, etc.
Helen Keller Word Find Game: Charge $1 admission for the game and then pass out the word find document. Give members six minutes to find as many words as they can. Count to see who has the most correct words, they get a prize!
Skits & Songs
Home Town Band: Get 4-6 Kazoos, regular or the kind shaped like instruments and get members to play them. Add toy washboards and any other instruments you can find. Have them play a song. Charge all admission for the concert, band members free for playing.
Kangaroo Court: Appoint a Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Lawyer, Perpetrator, and Witnesses. Make up and Outrageous Crime the Perpetrator has “allegedly” committed and every one has to play out their roles to come to a verdict, guilty or not guilty! Donation from all for the show except the “cast” members performing.
Passing the Buck: The President begins by calling on the Program Chair to conduct the program. The Program Chair then claims to have been a bit busy and has arranged for another member to take over. This Lion rises and claims illness prevented organization of a program, but that another member was assigned to take over. That Lon gives yet another excuse for not arranging a program, but has passed the baton to someone else. This continues until it is apparent that nobody has actually organized the program. Two different ending, The Secretary can then point out that there is NOW no time left for a program OR, the Program Chair can then have the “real” program for the meeting speak!
Divide the membership into groups of 4-6 people; they pick their own chairman. Send each group to a corner of the room and assign each group a “theme” for which they pick a song to sing, i.e.: patriotic, country, kids songs, folk, etc. Give the group about 5 minutes to practice their song. Then, each group sings their song in front of the membership. Pass out ballots and the membership votes for the ‘best’ group. Yes, groups can vote for themselves. Group with the most votes wins, everyone else pays a “concert fee”!
The Tail Twister brings an assortment of hats, like Napoleons, cowboy hat, army helmet, keystone cop, Aviator, and others. Members are called upon to put on a hat and explain their identity and why they were famous.
Always have Singing at your Christmas Party, club officers are good for it, the whole membership, the MERLOW Team, etc.
Veteran Day Celebration: Divide the membership into four groups; each group is assigned to sing the “theme” song for either the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines! You can/should down load the words to them from the Internet before the meeting, otherwise they may only know part of the song.
Summary & Conclusion
In a nutshell, Tail Twisting is only limited to the fantastic imagination of the Tail Twister. I recommend you always have some ready assistants to help pull off you activities. Not only will this make things go faster to keep you within your time constraints, but it will also help prep new Twisters for a future job in your club. All the aforementioned ideas are just that, ideas to get you started, your creativity is your best tool. Use the above ideas, adapt them to fit your club, and I encourage you to try out your own ideas. 14 When you are having fun as the Tail Twister and it shows, your club will be having fun too! Don’t sweat the small stuff, have fun with the job, don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself too. Some of the stuff will “bomb”, shrug it off and try again next month. That’s how we learn.
As copied from an article by September Stokes, Some websites to try:
www.meetingwizard.org has lots of icebreaker ideas
www.thesource4ym.com lots of games and icebreakers
www.uselessknowledge.com great for trivia
www.ivillage.com sign up for the daily joke
www.encarta.msn.com/quizzes great for fun quizzes
www.quoteopia.com great for famous quotes
These are just a very few to get your started, the more you look, the more you will find. Be sure to share your ideas with other Tail Twisters, we all like to look good and have fun doing it. If your club got a great laugh out of it, other clubs will too!