Study after study indicates that when young people are engaged in community service the commitment nurtured then is carried forward to adulthood. Lions have long realized that youth are not only our present, but our future. This is clearly evident by the numerous programs we have for them –Lions Quest, Youth Camps and Exchange, Peace Poster Contest – to name only a few. Lions Quest programs are school-based, comprehensive, positive youth development and prevention programs that unite the home, school and community, to cultivate capable and healthy young people of strong character, through life skills, character education, civic values, drug prevention, and service-learning education. My goal for Lions is to extend Lions Quest programs to over sixty countries worldwide and to develop it as an educational core program of Lions Clubs International. For many young people, participating in the Lions International Youth Camp and Exchange Program is a life-changing experience. Traveling to another country, living with a host family, participating in a camp and experiencing another culture are milestone events. Unlike other exchange programs, the Lions International Youth Camp and Exchange Program are not conducted for tourism, education or employment. Instead, it is a unique cultural learning opportunity. As the program continues to evolve and grow, I wish to encourage Lions to implement more service activities into camp and exchange programs so participants may experience hands-on the Lions motto, “We Serve.” Afterall, WE SERVE, the story of our success, spans the globe. Through the Lions Clubs International Global Youth Music Competition – a global music contest with young people to be initiated districtwide, then constitutional areawide at the forums, and the finals between area winners at the international convention, the young talent of today will become our bright future of tomorrow. One finalist from each constitutional area (vocal or instrumental) will compete for the top prize at the Sydney Convention.This music competition will not only promote social and cultural understanding and appreciation, but will also underscore our commitment to young people. As we’ve seen through our other youth programs, such as the annual Peace Poster Contest, encouraging and supporting the youth of today helps to ensure dedicated, effective leaders for tomorrow. Through this initiative we will be able to reach a new target audience using a language which each person understands –the language of music. Since 1957, when the first club was organized, the Leo movement has grown to more than 5,700 clubs in more than 139 countries with approximately 144,000 members. The Leo program will launch a new brand campaign in fiscal year 2009-2010. Based on market research and designed to complement the new Lions brand, the new Leo marketing plan reflects the vitality and ingenuity of today’s youth, and will enable us to more effectively promote Leo clubs, using a research oriented approach.
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