By CHRIS NARDELLI
Kingston High School Leo Club
When I decided to join Leo Club in my freshman year, I selfishly went in for three reasons: first, my friend Rowan Twigg had already joined and I wanted to give him some good company; second, I figured it would bolster my college-entrance resume; and third, there were donuts at the meetings every week.
Looking back on those reasons, I now realize how drastically my views have changed in regard to why I consistently stay engaged with the club. While having donuts every week is very nice, the reason I stay now is to evoke a positive change for the environment in which I live. I won’t be in Kingston my whole life, but the pure enjoyment I get from knowing that I’m working to make a difference in the community that I grew up in is the only reward I seek.
Let me give you some more tangible information that might pique your interest in our organization.
While Leos are the high school and middle school branch of Lions Club International, our work as Leos is prevalent and felt throughout communities around the world. Every Leo, regardless of their own goals for joining, has one common unifying factor: we all act as agents of change within our communities. Some examples of our service work include local blood drives, the Viking Fest Lions Pancake Breakfast, food drives, and collection of eyeglasses to repurpose and distribute to those who may need them.
Now that I’m a senior and nearing the end of my adventure with the Kingston High School Leo Club, I’m starting to realize the importance of getting more students interested in our Leo Club. I hope that my story inspires you to come forge your own experiences and stories so that someday you could be sitting in my position, knowing that you’ve made a real impact in our community.
Thanks for lending an ear to my story. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 360-981-8600.
* * *
By NATE BLANCHARD
North Kitsap High School Leo Club
“LEO” stands for leadership, experience, and opportunity. As Leos, our purpose is to foster positive change within our communities and, in the process, learn valuable leadership skills, make friends, and have fun.
The first Leo Club was established almost 60 years ago. Leo clubs work in partnership with local Lions clubs and encourage youth to develop leadership skills by participating in community service events. Currently, there are more than 6,500 Leo clubs in 140 countries.
Locally, we have a total of four Leo clubs at North Kitsap High School, Kingston High School, Poulsbo Middle School, and Kingston Middle School. All clubs are coordinated by Poulsbo Lion Karl Ostheller. Each Leo Club is supervised by a volunteer teacher and a Lions Club member. While I’m sharing my perspective as a high school Leo, our middle school Leos are active, too. When asked what she enjoys about being a Leo, Poulsbo Middle School Leo Hanna Luna said, “I love helping the community. Leo Club feels like a friendship club. Everyone is so kind.”
The North Kitsap High School Leo Club is involved in various community activities ranging from blood drives to family fishing derbies. We pass out boxes throughout the community to collect glasses for people who cannot afford them. We help with landscaping projects to ensure public safety and to keep our county looking beautiful. We help run an Easter egg hunt for children and make sure that they all feel included. At larger events, we help direct traffic and encourage safe driving. It’s also common to see Leos helping at major Lions Club events.
Leo Club has taught me important life skills. From the classroom to the community, I’ve had the opportunity to improve leadership qualities such as group communication, delegation, and networking. Through all my work with the Leo Club, I’ve gained confidence in learning to lead others. Overall, Leo Club has helped me become a more well-rounded person.
I’m going into my senior year and will be the president of the North Kitsap High School Leo Club. I want to invite every middle school and high school student in the area to consider joining one of our four Leo Clubs and help us spark positive change in our community. Feel free to contact me through the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club at email@example.com.