Leo Club History
The first Leo Club was started in Glenside, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Leo Club was created out of the Abington High School on December 5th, 1957 by the Glenside Lions Club. The Leo Club was first initiated by Lion and Baseball Coach, Jim Graver alongside some help from fellow Lion, William Ernst.
As the world's first Leo Club, the Abington High School decided on the acronym for 'LEO' - Leadership, Experience, Opportunity. The Club also chose their school colours, maroon and gold, to serve as the Alpha Leo Club colours.
In October 1967, a near ten years after the original club was made, the board of directors of Lions Club International adopted the Leo Club Program as an official program of the association.
The Leo Club Program has continued to grow within the last 60 years with the Leos International Network now consisting of over 157,000 members in over 6,500 clubs in over 140 countries. Community service remains the cornerstone of the program, fostering a commitment to helping others. Like their Lion counterparts, Leo Club members enjoy serving their neighbours and watching the positive results unfold from there actions.
In Europe, a specific International Liaison Officers, ILO, council was created. These officers are representatives of the club's district or multiple districts and the European and Mediterranean regions. These dedicated members of the group have the role of informing their district of important changes or information from Lions International as well as having the role to notify the ILO council of the business going on in their district.
What is a LEO?
Leo Club Structure:
There are two different types of Leo Clubs; Alpha and Omega. Alpha Leo Clubs are for youth aged 12 to 18 while Omega Leo Clubs for young adults aged 18 to 30.
Each Leo Club follows an altered version of a Lions Club in the sense that each club should have a dedicated President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer - this forms the Leo Executive Committee. Alongside this group of people, each Leo Club should have one or more dedicated Lion Advisors who oversee the group as the 'adult' in the group. As mentioned above, Leo Clubs across Europe and the Mediterranean regions also dedicate a member of the club to represent them to the ILO board.
Leo Club Formation & Classification:
A Leo Club is formed when there is a sponsoring Lions Club & there is youth in the community who are willing to be a part of the club from the formation of it.
Depending on the location of the Leo Club, it may fall into a 'District' (D). A District is formed from 6 or more Leo Clubs being present in an area. When there are more than two Districts, a 'Multi-District' (MD) is formed. Districts and Multi-Districts are often given letters and numbers to depict the region they are in. Depending on the District, there may be specific conferences, codes of conduct, and expectations that are different or extra compared to those provided by Lions International.
Leo Acronym Explained:
Leo stands for Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity.
Leadership: Develop skills as a project organizer, time manager, and team leader or team member.
Experience: Learn how teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration can bring exciting changes to your community and the world.
Opportunity: Make friends and feel the rewards of community service.
Leo Objective & Activities:
A Leo Club's Objective is "to provide youth of the world with an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as a responsible member of the local, national, and international community.
Leo Clubs share a number of activities that can be placed into a couple of categories:
Fundraising - Clubs plan, organize, and execute fundraising activities in order to raise money for perceived projects.
Community Care - Clubs dedicate a significant amount of time and effort into serving their community, whether that be a individual person-to-person level or on an environmental level.
Club Projects - Clubs annually plan, organize, and execute projects that are directed at specific causes or needs in their community. Club projects typically come in two different forms; Main Projects and Side Projects. Main Projects are multi-month or multi-year large-scale projects while Side Projects are often short and cheap, with some projects being temporary and others being permanent.