News You Can Use, from TLC

Lions, Rivers & Polar Bears...Oh My!

Friday, February 21, 2020 - by Stephen S. Mabry, CAE

News Release

Texas Lions Camp, Inc.
(830) 896-896-8500 |

From the Office of the President & CEO
Stephen S. Mabry, CAE

Lions, Rivers & Polar Bears...Oh My!

Kerrville, TX - February 24, 2020.  Texas Lions Camp was recently notified that we have been selected by Mo Ranch as the designated beneficiary of the 2021 Polar Bear Challenge. To be considered, charities submitted an application, proof of their charitable status and an essay as to why they should be showcased as the charitable beneficiary of the event. The event will take place at Mo Ranch on January 1, 2021 and will involve Lions, volunteers and the general public who will pay an entry fee and then garner sponsorships to take a plunge down the Mo Ranch 35-foot, 116-foot long water slide into the frigid Guadalupe River.

Previous Polar Bear Plunge beneficiaries include Partners in Ministry, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Star Ranch, Hill Country CARES, Hill Country College Fund, Christian Assistance Ministry, Kid’s Advocacy Place, Habitat for Humanity, K-Star, BCFS Health and Human Services, Kerr County United Way, The Salvation Army of Kerrville, Kerr County Young Life, Texas Hill Country —Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Texas and West Kerr County Youth Sports.

HCYR SliderThis year's recipient, Hill Country Youth Ranch, garnered $70,000 in donations/sponsorships and set the bar high. By inviting the public and challenging the Lions of Texas, TLC has the capacity and the goal to take prior year successes and expectations to the next level and exceed six figures.

As you can see, we join a distinguished list of other fantastic charities who have benefited from this event and this is a huge win for TLC as we kick off CAMPaign Vision2020 & Beyond and focus on raising our local, community profile.

(Photo: Courtesy HCYR - 2020)

When asked about the event, Stephen Mabry, president & CEO of TLC had this to say:

"TLC will use funds from the Polar Bear Challenge towards its new campaign (Vision2020 & Beyond) in order to provide new and improved facilities for future generations of TLC campers. Our capital campaign was kicked off on February 8, 2020 which will run for 24 – 36 months and be phased to facilitate 3-5 year pledges from our donors.

The emphasis of Phase I of the CAMPaign will be to address the bunkhouses, care-taker dormitory and revitalize aging infrastructure. Specifically, we would like for the Polar Bear Challenge to be used for the purposes stated but more specifically to show traction and support, to provide much needed capital funds, to raise awareness of TLC and to give the community an opportunity to get to know Texas Lions Camp."

Stephen went on to talk about the importance of TLC's mission to build self-esteem in others, as follows:

"The truth is, one can spend a life time working to achieve and improve self-esteem and may or may not succeed in feeling good about themselves and the things they have accomplished by the end of their lives; however, the great multiplier of self-esteem is not found in working to achieve merely for self, but in working to help others achieve and improve how they feel about themselves. That is the magic of TLC, to lend your story to help others value their story. It is the great multiplier of what it means to value yourself and others."

The Polar Bear Challenge will be open to the general public and will have contests and awards available, such as:
  1. Largest fundraisers (individual and team competitors) 
  2. Crowning of the Mo-Ranch Polar Bear King and Queen 
  3. Longest slider
  4. Biggest splash
  5. Slider farthest from home
  6. Oldest polar bear and
  7. Best costume

A special shout out to PCC Tom Blase and Lion Ben Gardner who encouraged TLC's application. And of course, thank you to Dick Powell, president and CEO of Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly, Breanna Larsen, Jenna Carpenter, the selection committee and all of the fine folks at Mo Ranch for their tireless work on behalf of so many others.

"The Marketing Department and I will be working to provide tools and promotional materials soon, so keep your eyes out and start thinking about your role as we plan to make a splash for TLC's future," said Stephen. Congratulations TLC!!!


Stephen is President and CEO of Texas Lions Camp, Inc. and recently celebrated 30 years of service to this 70 year-old, 501(c)(3) charitable, organization in August of 2019. TLC, Inc. has a large Board of Directors consisting of 94 voting members and over 300 volunteer members that serve on one of 10 standing committees. As a corporation, TLC has more than 200 full-time and seasonal employees (who are organized into 7 departments) and over 2,000 volunteers per year that are responsible for creating an atmosphere of success for more than 1,500 children with physical disabilities per summer. Stephen is a Certified Association Executive with the American Society of Association Executives, a past Certified Fund-Raising Executive with the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Stephen is a father of three and resides on TLC’s Kerrville campus together with his wife Shawn, who as luck would have it, is a professional editor.
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