Lions at Their Best: Engaging Youth in Service Serving alongside Lions, Leos in Oakville, Canada, cook and serve dishes to the homeless and other people in need. Not long ago I took part in the chartering of a Leo club at a school for the deaf and blind in South Carolina. What really struck me was how the new Leos promised to serve their community. Their sincerity was stunning. So it goes with youths. They often are wonderfully passionate, energetic and idealistic. Reminds you somewhat of … Lions? We need more and more to align ourselves with youths, to tap into their energy and skills and engage them in service. They are perfect partners for Lions. Youth engagement is a cornerstone of the service framework of Lions Clubs International. The future of service belongs to youth, and we can serve—as role models. Encourage young people to volunteer with your club. It’s important how we relate to youths. Young people are more than just volunteers—they are partners. Listen to their ideas. Don’t talk down to them. Provide them with meaningful leadership roles for projects. Recognize their achievements. This month’s cover story shows how clubs have engaged youths in service and offers concrete suggestions on how your club can do so. But here are three easy-to-do ways: • Reach out to a local high school or youth organization— offer to plan a joint service project and consider funding it. • Invite youth to participate in your next service project—involve them in planning and give them significant roles. • Participate in one of LCI’s youth programs— sponsor the Peace Poster Contest, get involved in the Youth Camp and Exchange program or start a Leo club. I know when I was young I was eager to be involved in service and grateful when adults gave me the opportunity. I am sure you felt the same way. Our service is a great asset to our communities. But we can multiply what we do and ensure service for years to come by leading the next generation to a life of service. Chancellor Bob Corlew Lions Clubs International President
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