Leo clubs program handbook in PDF Click here
Forty-five years ago, Coach Jim Graver started the Leo ball rolling. Chances are, that ball was a baseball. Back in 1957, Graver was the coach of the Abington High School, Pennsylvania, USA, baseball team. Graver was also an active member of the Glenside, Pennsylvania, Lions Club.
With fellow Lion, William Ernst, Graver talked about starting a service club for high school boys. "The Kiwanians had their Key Clubs and the Rotarians had their Wheel Club (since changed to Interact Clubs)," Ernst is quoted as saying in an October 7, 1976 newspaper article in "The Evening Bulletin."
So they asked their fellow Lions for support. Without hesitation, the Glenside Lions agreed that a Lions youth group was a good idea. Graver and Ernst set to work.
"We needed a nucleus, a group of kids to start with," stated Ernst. "So we got Jim's son to come to the first meeting with his whole baseball team." Nine sophomores, junior and senior boys joined the group of 26 baseball players. Together, the 35 teens formed a club. On December 5, 1957, the Glenside Lions presented a charter to the Abington High School Leo Club.
As the world's first Leo club, the group created the Leo acronym - Leadership, Equality, Opportunity (Equality was later changed to Experience.) And, the group chose maroon and gold - their school colors - to serve as the Leo club colors.
By 1964, there were 27 Leo clubs in Pennsylvania and one in New York. The circle of junior service clubs was expanding. In October 1967, the board of directors of Lions Clubs International adopted the Leo Club Program as an official program of the association. Open to males and females, the objective of the Leo Club Program was (and still is): "...to provide the youth of the world (with) an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as responsible members of the local, national and international community."
In 1968, newly formed Leo clubs began sending their requests for club certification to International Headquarters. On October 17, 1969, forms requesting certification for the Abington High School Leo Club reached headquarters. On this date, the world's original Leo club was formally recognized as a part of the international Leo program. Leo John Hebert of Baederwood, Pennsylvania, served as president of the Abington High School Leo Club.
Today, the Leo Club Program is stronger than ever. Community service remains the cornerstone of the program. Like their Lion counterparts, Leo club members enjoy serving their neighbors and watching positive results unfold.
To provide the youth of the world an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as responsible members of the local, national and international community.
To develop leadership.
To provide experience through service to their community.
To provide an opportunity to promote international understanding.
To promote service activities among the youth of the communities which will develop the individual qualities of LEADERSHIP, EXPERIENCE and OPPORTUNITY.
To unite its members in friendship, fellowship and mutual understanding.
What does Leo stands for ?
LEADERSHIP or team-worker,friend
EXPERIENCE or adult hard worker - feeling responsible
OPPORTUNITY or pride respect
Participation in the Leo Club Program enhances the lives of young people. As active community members, Leos learn the true meaning of the Leo club motto - leadership, experience and opportunity.
Leadership - Leos develop skills as organizers, time managers, and motivators of their peers.
Experience - Leos learn the importance of cooperation through the performance of community service.
Opportunity - Membership in a Leo club provides young people with a chance to excel, to develop character traits, and to receive recognition for their contributions to the community.
What are the Leo's?
You want to serve the society and meanwhile get in touch with lots of new friends ?
A Leo-club offers you the possibility to help, for free, people hoping for some support and meanwhile have a great time in a group of young men and women sharing the same ambitions and feelings for their free time. These group of friends meets once or twice every month in order to prepare all kind of activities: fun-activities for the club, fund-raising activities and social activities.
The fun-activities focus on getting to know all club-members better and better and having a great time together. On the menu we find bicycle-trips, city-visits, paint-ball-battles, bowling, iceskating and movie night.
The fund-raising activities collect the needed financial base to be able to offer the people of the good cause these things they miss so much. Parties, sports-activities, balls, cultural happenings are organized and the gains are entirely invested in serving old people, people with a handicap, children from which the parents are judged incapable to care for them by justice and many others…
Joining a Leo-club offers not only the possibility to have fun and serve others. You can also experience how to operate in a team, how to manage a group of people or get in touch with nice Leos all over the whole world.
How can you become a Leo ?
Being between 13 and 30 years old and longing for the "fun, friends and function-feeling", you are entirely ready to be a Leo fast. Find out in the club-list which club is near you and call one of the board-members. They will feel very honored to invite you for a club-meeting or -activity and soon you will be part of the team. If there is no club near you, get in touch with a member of the national-board or district-board and they can explain how to raise a new club. Don't hesitate, it's a wholly feeling…
What about the Lions?
Each Leo club is sponsored by a Lions club. There are more than 44,000 Lions clubs in 185 geographical locations around the world. Lions are men and women who volunteer their time to serve humanity. At last count, there were more than 1.4 million Lions club members in the world. That makes Lions Clubs International the largest service club organization in the world.
Sponsoring Lions clubs maintain close rapport with Leo clubs. One Lion is appointed as a Leo club advisor (or co-advisor) which guarantees that both clubs are aware of the actions of the other. Lions benefit from the existence of an active Leo club in their community. Joint Lions-Leo projects provide an opportunity for Lions to demonstrate to Leos the importance of humanitarian service.
The association acknowledges the service of young people. Leos who leave their Leo club in good standing can receive a Leo Club Completion of Service Certificate (LeoGrad) from their sponsor Lions club. If invited to jjoin a Lions club in the future, the certificate may be used by the former Leo to waive the international entrance fee or the charter fee assessed when a former Leo joins a newly formed Lions club.
The new Leo Years of Service Transfer Program form (LeoTrans) allows Leos to include their years of service on their Lions record. This encourages young people to continue serving their communities as Lions.
The community benefits the most from the presence of Leos. For the past 40 years, Leos have donated their time to the service of mankind. This youthful corps of volunteers has affected thousands of communities worldwide.
I pledge of my hands, extended
and opened to help those in need.
I pledge of my heart, reach for it,
and it will be touched
I pledge of my ears,
to hear another's out cry,
my eyes to see the plight of others,
my knowledge to bring a man
close to his dreams.
I pledge of myself for the
betterment of my community
and my country.