Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Pay It Forward Sponsor a Leo Club and the Rewards are Limitless Pam Tidrow has fond memories of her time as a Leo at Centerville High School in Indiana. She recalls, “One of our projects was a senior citizen’s dance. I still remember how a couple of Leo girls taught some of our guests to do the chacha slide, and then they returned the favor by teaching the Leos the Charleston!” Fast forward several years, and Tidrow became a proud Centerville Lion. When the opportunity arose to become the Leo club adviser, it was an obvious fit. She knew the positive effect the Leos would have, not just on their community, but on their sponsor club. “The Leos bring a new excitement and energy to the Lions. They challenge the status quo and help us to see needs we may not have noticed without the Leos’ help,” Tidrow explains. When young people bring their enthusiasm to serving, they’re unstoppable. It may take some planning and work, but any Lions club can launch a Leo club. And you just might learn something from the young Leos in the process. Jump Right In A new member of the Crockett Lions Club, Ellen Brooks learned that the Lions had always wanted to sponsor a Leo club. After attending a Leo seminar at the Texas state convention, Brooks was inspired to lead the formation of a club. “There were a lot of things I didn’t know before we started, but we hit the ground running when the school year started. Things I wasn’t sure of fell together,” she says. Have Patience It takes perseverance to build a Leo club, but success can go beyond expectations. Brooks had to put in more work initially for the Piney Woods Leo Club, but after some time she saw amazing things happen. “The first two years it was harder to get input from the kids, but by the third year they grew and became more confident. They came up with most of the ideas and took on leadership roles. And now that the community knows us, we don’t need to search for service projects because they’ll call us,” says Brooks. The Payoff The rewards come in many, sometimes surprising, ways. “They’ve impressed me with their dedication. Even if they don’t really enjoy a project, they recognize the value in it and they’re ready for the next project,” Brooks says. The Leos have become integral to the Crockett Lions’ annual county rodeo. “We joke that the Leos make the Lions look good,” Brooks laughs. Piney Woods Leo Jace Skalicky stresses that they get just as much out of the experience: “We’re happy to help the event become even more successful, and the Lions give us a great opportunity to learn communication and teamwork skills.” A Future of Service Will Leos become Lions? Only time will tell. Leo club advisers know that they will continue to serve. “If we are supportive of our Leos, encouraging them to serve and participating alongside them, we are helping them to become the kind of people that fit the Lions’ mold,” says Tidrow. Skalicky plans to become a Lion, but for now he’s getting all he can out of being a Leo. He encourages Lions to give other young people the opportunity he’s been given. “Starting a Leo club will only do well for your community and teach teenagers to set excellent examples for their peers. Go for it!” Visit www.lionsclubs.org to find resources on how to get started (search for “Leo club sponsorship”) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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