Lakeside Chautauqua Legacy Makers

Posted on August 16, 2012

Wow! What an incredible Lakeside summer. I know I echo the sentiments of all Lakesiders when I say that words cannot express the depth of gratitude we have in our hearts for this place and this community.

Last week I was thinking about Lakeside and found myself asking, “What would the world lose, or what would I lose if Lakeside did not exist?”

In other words, if for some reason, Lakeside had never been established, what would be missing? If we could somehow measure the hole that would be left behind, how big would it be?

One of my favorite holiday movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In this story George Bailey is feeling sorry for himself and begins thinking he would be better off if he never existed.

George is given a chance to see what the world would be like if he had never been born. What he sees is awful. Bedford Falls is no longer Bedford Falls. It is now Pottersville because George was not there to stand up to the evil Mr. Potter.

George’s little brother, Harry, does not save the soldiers on a World War II ship because George was not there to save Harry from drowning when he was a child.

As George goes from place to place and person to person, he discovers that, in spite of all his struggles, he was leaving a legacy. His life had affected the future of everyone and everything around him.

You and I are leaving a legacy, too. The future of everything and everyone around us is somehow impacted by our influence.

Some good questions to ask from time to time are: What kind of legacy are we leaving? If somehow we did not exist, what would the world lose?

Which brings me back to my earlier questions, what would the world lose if Lakeside never existed? What if you drove your vehicle onto the peninsula and instead of running into Lakeside you just kept running into a string of Lake Erie marinas? Or instead of your cottage sitting where it is, you are sitting in a big hole that is part of the local quarry.

There would be no Lakeside sunsets, no symphony, no ice cream, no Rhein Center, no God Squad, no Marilyn’s, no Sloopy’s, no fishing on the Dock, no Lakeside tennis, no shuffleboard, no Sunday Dockside Worship, no meals on Lakeside porches with family, no sailing, no kids riding their bikes for the first time, no John Tesh, Elvis or America concerts, no Lakeside friends and no family memories.

Lakeside is a special place. Twenty-five years ago I baptized several of my family members by the Dock.

A few days ago a little boy was riding his bike and fell. Immediately, there were four unknown mothers and grandmothers helping him up, brushing him off and sending him on his way.

Two weeks ago a young man proposed to his girlfriend on the lakefront. None of this would have happened if Lakeside was not here.

I think if Lakeside was not here, the hole would be pretty big.

I do not know about you, but I cannot comprehend what my family’s life would be like without our 30 years of coming to Lakeside. For some of you, it has been generations of your family coming to Lakeside.

We are sitting on a treasure of memories, experiences, family and friends we call Lakeside. We love this place.

Sure, we all have little things we get frustrated over, but I am telling you, I have been all over the world and at the end of the day there is not another place on the planet like Lakeside. Would you agree?

I would like to ask you to make your personal legacy a part of the Lakeside legacy.

Several years ago my wife, Debbie, and I started giving to the Lakeside Fund. Each year we increase what we give to Lakeside.

This is no small thing for the Jones family. We are very deliberate, intentional and prayerful about our legacy and what we give to. We give to our church, we give to Stadia--the organization that I direct, and we give to Lakeside.

We give to Lakeside because we want this place to be so amazing that our children and grandchildren would be crazy not to want to come here. We give to Lakeside out of gratitude. Most of all, we love Lakeside, and we give to the things we love.

I would like to invite the Lakeside community to consider joining the Jones family by becoming a founding member of the Chautauqua Circle.

The Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation recently added this circle as a new level of giving to the Lakeside Fund. This level of giving includes gifts to Lakeside from $5,000 to $50,000 or more.

Would you consider becoming a founding member of the Chautauqua Circle? Would you consider leaving a legacy by making that kind of commitment?

Or, if you are not ready or able for that kind of commitment or are in a season of life when you cannot make that kind of financial commitment, then would you consider raising your giving from last year to the next level?

If last year you gave $500, would you raise that to $1,000 this year? If you gave $1,000, would you raise that to $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000?

Perhaps you have never given to Lakeside in the past. Now would be a great time to start.

For questions or to give a gift, contact the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Office at (419) 798-5396 or All gifts are fully tax deductible.